- Who we are
- What we do
In a discussion which has taken place this week about the appropriateness of people’s attire in parliament our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, declared that the wearing of the burqa was too confronting. The comment sent shockwaves throughout the media.
While I don’t agree with the wearing of burqas, we must remember that it represents an act of submission. In an individualistic society like Australia any act of submission is going to be confronting.
However, it might be helpful for followers of Jesus to ask themselves “Is the way in which I live my life confronting to those around me”? We have been reminded through the prayer of Jesus in John 17 that his desire is that his followers would be different from the world, because they are not part of the world, while at the same time remaining in the world.
For this reason we shouldn’t confuse being confronting with being confrontational. Many Christians think that if they are confrontational, if they get into arguments, or if they are intentionally divisive that they are following Jesus faithfully. Jesus called his followers to live such radically different lives that it was like shining a light into darkness. In Matthew 5:16 he tells his followers, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”.
Submission to Jesus should be confronting as people see a distinct and different life to their own.
In writing this we await the crowning of premiers for this year’s footy codes. By the time this makes the print, we would have already seen the end of the AFL Premiership (go Swannies!), and we will know who will be playing in the NRL Grand Final.
For these men, all the hard work and training, all the pain and the effort comes down to one game. One team will reign victorious, the other defeated. Yet at the end of the game, both teams will likely respond in similar ways, with a fair few not-so-quiet drinks. Either as a way of letting their hair down and celebrating, or drowning their sorrows.
For all their efforts throughout the year, the Grand Final brings an end to the season. While statisticians can tell you who won the 1984 AFL Grand Final, or who scored the match winning try in the 1997 NSWRL Grand Final, the glory of victory is relatively short lived.
It is for this reason that it is helpful that we remember the words of Paul when he writes, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8). Training in godliness doesn’t help you just in the here and now, but for all eternity for all those who put their hope in the living God and Saviour of all, Jesus Christ.