When I met my first Amish family, I discovered that they take seriously Paul's message:
Romans 12:2a – Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. (RSV)
They deliberately focus on the way that they live. They are concerned to keep their children safe from the influences of modern society, so they fashion their lifestyle to be a hedge of protection around their youngsters. They reject automobile ownership in favour of the horse and buggy, and wear distinctive clothing and hair styles, thus declaring their separation from the rest of society. They are also fond of James' advice:
James 1:21-22 – Put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (RSV)
Indeed, I've found among them many who've gone the extra mile to be helpful to this widow.
Although their lifestyle puzzles me, there's something to be said for living simply. From time to time, when lightning strikes our electric substation, or a tree topples across electric lines, or a hurricane, tornado, or Nor'easter strikes, we are forced to live more simply, to seek shelter, pull out hurricane lamps, and do without. We joke that we've "gone Amish".
Even more so, there's something to be said for focussing on living our lives according to God's Word and not according to the life choices promoted by some television shows, which send chills down my spine and cause me to wonder what this world is coming to. The Lord knows that I've made plenty of poor choices in my lifetime, but God has been gracious to allow me to continue to serve Him through these devotionals and through prayer.
In any case, regardless of the simplicity or complexity of our lives, let's be careful how we live and not be poor examples of the lifestyle that our Lord and Saviour would have us live as it's laid out in Scripture. Let's listen to the words of caution from James and live according to God's precepts and laws. Let's not rest contentedly upon our baptism and years in Sunday School, but carry out the promises that we made at our confirmation before the church, and live our lives as dedicated examples of what it truly means to be a Christian.
How? By being doers of God's Word and not hearers only. Let's do the next kind thing that comes across our path to do. But pray first, even if it's just a quickie, like, "Lord, do You want me to do this? Is this from You?" And always, always, pray that we will act according to God's will, not our own!
Prayer: Dear Lord God, through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, enable us to put into practice what Your Word and Your Son Jesus taught us, for we pray in His name and according to Your holy will. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended" (Lyrics)