Emily Belle Freeman
IMG_0901ed.jpg

THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

A Part of Who We Are

Colossians 13:1 - Thessalonians 5:24

In our family we use a job chart.

The left side of the chart lists responsibilities.

The right side lists privileges. Each set of privileges is linked to a set of responsibilities.

There are three levels on the chart:  Level one, level two, and level three.

To move up a level you must live the responsibilities on the current level you are on for two days.  If you fail at a set of responsibilities, then you move down a level.

The responsibilities for LEVEL ONE are simple:  be a member of our family, and live in our home.  The privileges for this responsibility are food, clothing, shelter and love.

The responsibilities for LEVEL TWO are a bit more complex.  You are required to have a good attitude all day, make your bed, clean your room, pick up after yourself, practice music 30 minutes a day, request permission for all privileges, do one job from mom, have respect, attend school, complete homework, and go to bed by 9:00pm.  If you do all of these things the privileges are as follows:  You can watch one hour of TV, play on the computer 30 minutes, use a cell phone if you are 13 or older, play with friends within our neighborhood, and participate in one sport.

My favorite level is the last level, LEVEL THREE.  This time I will start by listing the privileges that go with this level:  You can participate in all level two privileges, you can go out of the neighborhood with friends, (such as to a movie, or snowboarding.) You qualify for a late night past the 9:00pm curfew.  You can participate in additional sports, and (this is my kid’s favorite) you can ask to negotiate once if the answer is no.

Now, what do you think the responsibilities are to qualify for these privileges?

It is actually surprisingly simple.

You just have to demonstrate Level 2 behavior independently for three days.

The key word is independently.

That means no one reminds you to make your bed, or clean your room.  You take care of practicing the piano all by yourself.  Your homework is done, and you get yourself to bed.  If you are living on level three, it means no one needs to remind you what to do.

Living responsibly has become a part of who you are.

Could the same be true as we attempt to live the Christian life?

Is there a possibility that living as Christ would have us live might eventually become a part of who we are?

Throughout the scriptures the Lord has given us small lists of jobs we can work on.  What if we were to take one quality at a time, and put it up somewhere where we could look at it daily, and work on it until eventually it becomes who we are?  Then, once we have mastered that quality we could move on to the next.

For example, I love the list found in Thessalonians 5:11-22:

Comfort yourselves together Edify one another Know them which labour among you Esteem them very highly Be at peace among yourselves Warn them that are unruly Comfort the feebleminded (faint-hearted, despondent) Support the weak Be patient toward all men Ever follow that which is good Rejoice evermore Pray without ceasing In every thing give thanks Quench not the Spirit Despise not prophesyings Prove all things Hold fast that which is good Abstain from the appearance of evil

It’s quite a list!

It might take some time to make all of those things part of who we are.

But the Lord’s job chart is much like my family’s ––the responsibilities come with a privilege, or in other words, a blessing.

In this case, the blessing is found at the end of the chapter, at the very bottom of the list, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”  (1 Thess 5:23-24.)

I am reminded once again that there is no responsibility expected from a humble follower that does not qualify us for the Lord’s blessing in return.

...to be sanctified wholly.

What a wonderful promise.

 

Emily Freeman