Forcing Our Calling On Everyone Else - A Spiritual Independence Day

I'm guilty. If I were to be honset with myself, many of my posts in the last year turned more into trying to convince people to live out their spiritual life in the same way that I live out mine.

Some time in the last month, I have realized something that has brought me spiritual independence. My calling might not be your calling. Our call, the general call, to be faithful - to live that faithfulness out by loving God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our minds and loving our neighbor as ourself - doesn't vary. How that calling will look relevant to the culture we live in will change; that is our specific calling.

It brings to mind one of the old, less popular, and almost forgotten Restoration movement slogans: "In essentials, unity. In opinions, liberty. In all things, love." Or one could change it to read: "In our general calling, unity. In our specific calling, liberty. In all things, love."

This Independence Day marks a culmination of sorts for my spiritual life. I've been struggling with this thought for about a month now. Writing it down forces me to iron out my thoughts.

I will no longer be critical of the methods people use to live out their faith. I will admit that what I view as more effective ways to live out our faith and reach the lost may just be my specific calling or personal preference. People being completely faithful to God is what matters. Faithful people can live out their live in two completely different ways. Whether someone is faithful in their general calling cannot be measured without peering into their hearts and thoughts, so I will stop measuring other people's faith. In order to not oversimplify things and to make things more complicated (something I'm good at), I will give the warning that our general calling should be evident through us living a loving life. A loving life should be visible. The area that would change is what that loving life would look like.

There are some major issues that I still need to figure out. What are the essentials (I wrote a post that caused a little conversation struggling with this issue and the above church of Christ slogan last year)? When does accepting one another's different methods of loving God and loving our neighbor become tolerance of sinfulness? Can a wrong method be sinful? How do we hold one another accountable if we understand that our lives are lived differently due to different callings? I guess sin is sin no matter what one's specific calling. Teaching a method of living out one's calling isn't always wrong because it might be God's calling on your life to teach that method. It is when we confuse that method with being the only way to live out our general calling that we run into trouble.

Faithfulness, not methods, are what matter. Let us never confuse the two.

Watch out for potholes.