Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

The Christian Standard of Living

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

When we talk about our ‘standard of living’ we are usually referring to the financial lifestyle we have. As a result, how much we earn, what items we can afford to buy, and how many possessions we have become key questions.

But the Christian’s standard of living shouldn’t be determined by how much money we have in the bank, rather the apostle Paul urges us,

‘…to live a life worthy of the calling you have received...You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’. (Ephesians 4:1, 22-24)

In the verses that follow he gives a number of specific examples of the higher standard of living required of Christians.

‘…each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour…’ (V.25)

It is a habitual action that is to characterize the Christian life.

We all need to ensure that we are not careless with our words but that we cultivate truthfulness in our life everyday.

‘In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold’. (V.26–27)

Paul uses two different words for “anger” in v. 26. The one emphasises a controlled or righteous anger the other an uncontrolled, selfish, or sinful anger.

There are times when we should be angry and display righteous indignation, and there are times when we sin with our anger, because we are in angry mood and display a violent irritation.

Paul admonishes us to deal with this second type of anger quickly before the day is over, because if it is unresolved it gives the devil an opportunity to gain a place in your life, and leads to other sins.

‘He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need’. (V.28)

Paul says the motive for working is not to accumulate more wealth and so improve our ‘standard of living’ but that we ‘may have something to share with those in need’.

That statement alone clarifies a lot of modern values.

‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen’. (V.29)

“Unwholesome” literally means: “corrupt,” or “corrupting.” It is the word for rotting fruit.

Some people’s words corrupt themselves and everyone who hears them. It rots them away. On the other hand, the believer should use words that will build up and encourage people.

So the Christian ‘standard of living’ includes:

  • Putting off falsehood and speaking truthfully;
  • In your anger do not sin;
  • Steal no longer, but work to share with those in need; and
  • No unwholesome talk, only what is helpful for building others up.

Now it’s not easy to live up to this standard, in fact it’s not possible on our own.

Thankfully, we are not on our own,

‘…to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it… to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’. (V.7, 12–13)

So let’s,

‘…not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption’ (V.30)

because the only way to put on this high standard of Christian living is to walk in the Spirit.

Have a good week improving your standard of living,

Pastor Barry

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