Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Moral Life

Chuckle: Phil: “Did you lose your train of thought?” Carl: “No, but I think one of the cars just derailed.”
Quote: “if your morals make you dreary, depend upon it, they are wrong.” --Robert Louis Stevenson

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, what ever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
For Christians, the adjective, “moral,” pertains to principles of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong. A moral person is capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct as described in God’s Word (as opposed to immoral).
When I first read the above quote by Robert Louis Stevenson, it took some thoughtful and prayerful consideration to understand the message he was attempting to convey. I don’t think he was advocating finding happiness in self-indulgence by abandoning high moral standards. I think he was saying that living a moral life will bring happiness, not dreariness. Our happiness derived from a moral life is a precious gift to those around us. As the Holy Spirit empowers us to live pure and holy lives, with high morals, we will project joy and happiness which is contagious.
We normally think of morality as a code for righteous conduct. However, in His teachings, Jesus was concerned as much about righteous thoughts as righteous actions. When teaching about adultery, Jesus made it clear that morality includes a code for our thinking as well our actions. Merely keeping our actions morally right is not enough. If we have adulterous (sinful) thoughts, we have committed adultery in our hearts. So true moral happiness only comes when both our thoughts and our actions are in line with God’s Word. In our text, Paul emphasized our thinking about his list of moral attributes. “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man” (Proverbs 27:19 NIV).
Joy and happiness were major topics of Jesus’ teachings. God never intended for us to be dreary moralists, but joyful and happy as we live morally. For a Christian, morality is a code of thinking and conduct derived from the teachings of God’s Word. A morality created by a pagan society or religion is not true morality. As followers of Jesus Christ, our moral conduct should be patterned after Jesus Himself.
“Morality seems concerned with three things. First, with fair play and harmony between individuals (actions). Second, with what might be called tidying up or harmonizing the things inside the individual (thoughts). Third, with the general purpose of human life as a whole; what man was made for, what course the whole fleet ought to be on; what tune the conductor of the band (God) wants it to play.” --C. S. Lewis (Parentheses mine)
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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