Living an Authentic Life

Tasty_Tortilla_Soup.jpgThis has been one of those weeks in which the weather has been especially cold.  The last few days, with the sleet and ice on the roads, the winter weather shut down much of our world in this area.  It has been a week, however, in which hot soup seemed especially good and coffee and hot chocolate never tasted better.

 
Last night, I read a portion of an excerpt from A Serious Call To A Devout and Holy Life by William Law (1686-1761).  Law was an Anglican priest who was especially concerned that we not separate our faith from our everyday life.  Law writes regarding "devotion."

Devotion is neither private nor public prayer, though public and private prayers are a part of devotion.  Devotion signifies a life given or devoted to God.

 
The devout, therefore, are people who do not live to their own will, or in the way and spirit of the world, but only to the will of God.  Such people consider God in everything, serve God in everything, and make every aspect of their lives holy by doing everything in the name of God and in a way that conforms to God’s glory.

 
We readily acknowledge that God alone is to be the rule and measure of our prayers.  In our prayers we are to look totally unto him and act totally for him, and we must pray in this manner and for such ends as are suitable to his glory.

Law goes on to speak of the importance of devotion to God as it relates to the way Christians live.  He speaks of the confusion many have with Christians over their conduct:

This is the reason we see such ridicule in the lives of many people.  Many people are strict when it comes to times and places of devotion, but when the service and the church is over, they live like those who seldom or never come there.  In their way of life, their manner of spending their time and money, in their cares and fears, in their pleasures and indulgences, in their labors and diversions, they are like the rest of the world.  This leads the world to make light of those who are devout because they see their devotion goes no further than their prayers.  When their prayers are over, they stop living unto God until the next time they pray.  In between they live with the same attitudes and desires as other people.  This is the reason why they are scoffed at by worldly people, not because they are really devoted to God, but because they appear to have no other devotion than their occasional prayers.

(Cited in Richard Foster’s Devotional Classics, pp. 190-191.)

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10 thoughts on “Living an Authentic Life

  1. William Law also wrote, in the book you are now reading, one of my painfully favorite statements: “And
    if you will here stop, and ask yourselves, why you are not as pious as the
    primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you, that it is neither
    through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly
    intended it.”
     

  2. Finrod,Thanks for the quote from William Law.  I have never heard these lines.Thanks for callling my attention to it. 

  3. Great post…I can really identify with what Law is saying here. A lot of my non-Christian friends "scoff" at these people who lead two lives. It gives people the wrong impression about what being a Christian is all about and can be very damaging to the faith of people interested in Christ.
     

  4. I suppose there’s always going to be some distance between our worship, our language of devotion, and our actual lives.  Worship pulls us into closer union with the Father.  How do we help each other diminish the width of that gap?  And how do we help each other if our collective devotion, collective worship is no more than superficial sentiment?  When groups of people are suffering with the thing Law noticed what’s gone wrong? 

  5. If our acts of devotion do not change us into the image of Christ, maybe they are only religious habits – not acts of living faith.  Maybe this is part of the ‘what’s going wrong’ picture.  I suppose this is pretty similar to what Law was saying.  We go as far as we intend to go.  Perhaps I’m rambling…  

  6. Richard,Thanks for what you said.  There are people who really do damage because of living a double life.  As you said, it gives people a reason to scoff.Most of all, these people often cloud other’s vision. They get focused on those who are playing a "game" instead of seeing those who are living authentic lives as Christians.  I think many, many people just long to see the "real deal."  The "real deal," I think, is that person (though not perfect) is seriously attempting to live as a Christ-follower each day. 

  7. Jim,
      This book looks like a must read, thanks for sharing it. I will have to agree with DJD here. You have a great blog and I can spend a long time going thru the archives.

  8. Jim, Interesting observation from William Law. I think it helps us see what the goal of our special times and regular disciplines needs to be. To change our lives to more and more conform to God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. Easy words to say, much more challenging in seeing change and living them out. Thanks for sharing that.