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What On Earth Are You Doing for Heaven’s Sake?

A number of years ago Dalton Key wrote the following little piece that reminds us being a Christian involves much, much more than what we don't do.

I have a good friend. She doesn't drink alcohol or abuse her body with tobacco. She does not destroy her mind with drugs. I've never heard her gossip or tell a single lie. She does not waste her time in night clubs or dance halls. I've never heard her speak with profanity or vulgarity. She has never cheated a soul in a business deal, nor has she ever lied on her income tax forms.

Many people would no doubt call my friend a "good Christian." And yet, you ought to know I have been describing my dog, Paisley.

Brother Key's words raise the thought-provoking question: "What on earth am I doing for Heaven's sake?" We are tempted to define faithful Christian living by what we don't do: we don't fuss, cuss, steal, lie, cheat, drink booze, commit adultery or homosexuality. All well and good. But our canine friends remind us you can not do all that and still not be a Christian! Heaven has acted for our sake. The apostle Paul wrote, "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men," and that salvation-bringing grace indeed teaches us that "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12). But the same breath of Scripture goes on to say that our Savior Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14).

We must come to grips with the great Bible truth that holiness and Christian living involves much, much more than what we don't do. We must indeed "put off the old man," but we must also "put on the new" (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9ff).

A life that pleases God and brings honor and glory to Him is not negative, static and passive. To be holy is to aggressively pursue the likeness of God in my own life. It definitely involves some things I don't and won't do. But both the example of Jesus and the overall teaching of the New Testament challenge us to ask ourselves, not just what am I not doing for Heaven's sake . . . .but what on earth am I doing for heaven's sake?
"And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful" (Titus 3:14).

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ