I would be lying if I said that in my 24th year on this earth I hadn't acquired a more judgmental outlook on life than that of my previous, more naive self. I have these expectations of other's, even though I am constantly (read - ALWAYS) falling short in my own life. I am curious, though. Curious to learn why (and how) we, myself included, are able to read though Paul's letters in the New Testament and so naturally lift verses that build ourselves up (like Ephesians 6:10 - "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might"), but then even more easily bypass the verses in the same book that challenge us to be accountable to our actions and "walk in a manner worth of the calling to which you've been called" (Ephesians 4:1). I realize that its easier to grasp onto the concept of "faith, hope, and love" and "encouraging one another and building one another up" (1 Thess 5:11) than it is to abstain from temptations of this world, but shortly after we are called to embrace God and become "children of light" (1 Thess 5), God calls us to live HOLY lifestyles -- 1 Peter1: 13-16 "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, DO NOT BE CONFORMED to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'"
In a time where my generation gravitates towards things that "feel good" or are convenient (I've heard us be referred to as the "Microwave Generation"), have we lost sight of what it means to abandon our old selves and embrace the fact that although we are destined to stumble, we are a chosen race? People of HIS possession? In fact, right before those verses in 1 Peter it specifically tells us to keep our conduct honorable, so that when we were are spoken against as evildoers, they will see our good deeds and glorify God. There are countless verses on debauchery, purity, anger... countless verses that call us to be DIFFERENT. So that our mistakes and misconduct cannot be used against us to refute the power of God. In James it tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God... are we willing to sacrifice holiness in this life for passion and excitement on earth?
As a people, we are imperfect. God intended it to be that way. But why should we settle for this? Why should we create excuses for ourselves based on our sinful nature? Why am I capable of justifying my stumbling when I know that God is calling me to be Christ-like in my actions?
With my personality and spiritual gifts, its easy for me to be a "doer of the word" (James 1:22) in the respect of caring for "orphans and widows in their affliction," and almost impossible for me to "flee youthful passions" (1 Tim 2:20) and abandon the temptations of this world. But... for the first time in my life I want to not ignore the fact that God has given us a guide book on faith and conduct in the Bible (2 Tim 3:16 - All scripture is God breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness), and learn to love like He loved, and learn to live like he intended us to live before the distractions of modern day society and sinful nature. Can't do it alone - good thing I don't have to.