I was looking over our budget categories this morning and noticed the repetitive appearance of the abbreviation “Maint” (Maintenance). There was a category “Home Repair & Maint,” and a category “Car Repair & Maint,” plus one for “Utilities & Maint” such as pressure checks, cleanups, filters and such for the heating system.
Then I looked over to our “Health Expenses” column and realized it was no more than what one might call “Body Maint!” In fact, if you think of it, most everything could be reclassified as a sort of maintenance: “Food & Groceries” could be seen as “Survival Maint.” “Auto Gas” could be called “Transportation Maint,” and even the expense category “Molly” (our housecat) could be reclassified “Pet Maint.” Indeed, simply maintaining things as they are accounts for a very large chunk of a household’s annual expenses! Maintaining is very important!
Likewise, “maintaining” is essential in the life of every Christian. As Pastor Andrew reminded us this past Sunday: in a world filled with apostasy and unbelief, the Christian must work at maintaining a godly lifestyle.
“But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” (Jude 20-21)
A godly lifestyle includes daily habits and spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible reading, witness and service to others. It includes guarding one’s heart against worldly influences, fleshly lists, and evil temptations. It includes guarding one’s mind against false teachings, cynicism, fault-finding and lies. And it includes guarding one’s spirit against a love growing cold, a neck growing stiff, and a relationship growing distant.
Paul’s prayer and urging to the Thessalonians was “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23).
How does the believer do all this? Read again Jude’s entreaty:
● Build up your faith! Stretch your faith by trusting more. (“Baby steps” that lead to marathons.)
● Pray in the Holy Spirit! (Not in empty repetition, but as the Spirit leads, about what He leads, for as long as He leads.)
● Love (and hate) like God loves (and hates) and Love Him above all!
● Set your mind on the eternal, waiting assuredly for the full manifestation of His Mercy to you – Heaven and its rewards.