Sunday, November 12, 2006
“Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” (2 Pet.1:15)
Many years ago, when I used to sing for weddings, one song that was often requested was the old song, “Always.” The last lines of the chorus say, “Things may not be fair…always/ That’s when I’ll be there…always/ Not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year…but always.” In a time when marriage has become as disposable as plastic utensils, this kind of sentiment may sound irrelevant, but this is not a commentary on the institution of marriage but the inconsistency of some of its participants. God takes marriage vows just a seriously as He always did, and holds us just as accountable.
There are things in the Bible that are “sometimes” things. For instance, sometimes men were directed by God to do one thing and at another time to do something completely different. Isaiah was commanded to tell King Hezekiah he was going to die, then turn right around and tell him he was going to live (2 Kings 20:1-5). The wise man says in Ecclesiastes three that there is a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck it up; a time to weep and a time to laugh. These, and many others, are not “always” things, but “sometimes” things.
You probably have a good idea what the word means, but just in case you are inclined to underestimate it, let me tell you how the Oxford English Dictionary defines it: “At every time, on all occasions, at all times; through all time, without any interruption, continually, perpetually; in any and every circumstance, whatever happens, whatever one may do or say, in any event, anyhow.” Get the picture? Now, shall I remind us of some of the always things God has said should characterize we who are His children?
We should always:
pray (Luke 18:1)
abound in the work of the Lord (1Cor.15:58a)
triumph in Christ (2Cor.2:14)
bear in our bodies the death of Christ (2Cor.4:10
be zealous about good things (Gal.4:18)
give thanks (Eph.5:20a)
have the peace of God (2Thess.3:16)
be ready to give an answer for the reason of your hope (1Pet.3:16)
If consistency is “the virtue of fools,” as the old saying goes, you can’t prove it from these verses. As I have pointed out, however, there are times when we cannot (nor should we try to) standardize our lives. The Christian life should be sprinkled with flashes of spontaneity that reflect the moment by moment leading of the Holy Spirit. But these are best seen against the backdrop of a life of steady obedience. As Christians, we all fail, of course, but there should be some Biblical attributes in our lives—especially those mentioned in the cited verses—that make those who live and work among us say, “She always….”