Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Higher Authority

You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.
-- Matthew 5:13

If you shop in grocery stores or cook, chances are you've seen them a thousand times. They're those special symbols printed on food packaging that certify its contents as "kosher" (literally "fit to eat").

According to kosher food blogger Giora Shimoni, kosher food is prepared according to Jewish dietary laws, which are rules and regulations derived from Old Testament laws and rabbinical extensions to ensure quality, cleanliness and safety. Hebrew National--a well-known brand of hot dogs--has a slogan that sums up its call to be kosher: We Answer to a Higher Authority.

Christ-followers do, too...and not just with food. Although we're not bound by the strict Old Testament dietary laws observed by the Israelites, we must still remember that we worship a God of the highest standards. He wants us to lead healthy, Spirit-filled lives and maintain spiritually-healthy homes. And moreover, He expects us to live lives set apart from the world's "anything goes" philosophy.

In the New Testament book of 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul gives us his three-part strategy for equipping Godly men to do just that. First, he says that men must recognize the dangers of overestimating their ability to endure temptation and sin--the twin maladies that can wreak havoc on our homes and families. Even King David--whom God called a man after His own heart--suffered the devastating consequences from poor judgment and sinful actions related to his adulterous affair with another man's wife. Paul's point is that there are times when it's OK to turn around and run from certain situations.

On the other hand, Paul reminds us that there are some priceless things that we should pursue rather than flee...and many of them contradict the message of popular culture. For instance, the world tells us to do whatever it takes to achieve wealth and success. And while money and its trappings can be blessings, they can just as easily become traps. Instead, our top priority should be our relationship with God and our family.

Finally, Paul tells us about those things in life that are worth fighting for. And our fight is against a shrewd and devious enemy. If we're not careful, our precious home-life can suffer from the gradual--and often imperceptible--moral and spiritual decay caused by the onslaught of modern culture. Indeed, if we find ourselves fighting outside the home while failing to lead the way for our family, we're in the wrong battle.

Flee, pursue and fight. Christ-followers are called by their Creator to do just that when building and maintaining their Spirit-filled homes...and keeping them kosher. We're the people He chose before the foundation of the world to live out and testify to His standards. And we answer to a Higher Authority.  

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