It's true that sin is a part of our lives until Jesus takes us home but the bible is very clear that once we are in Christ sin no longer has to be the dominant force; 'You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you' , Romans 8:9.
Every Christian is inhabited by the Holy Spirit and so is a heavenly work in progress. Therefore, we can aspire to be more like Jesus and over time expect to change and move on from the sin habits of old.
CODELIFE is a way of focussing this resolve and if at times we do fail we know we have a great God who is quick to forgive and put us back on our feet! 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.' 1 John 1:9.
We also don't want to apologise for the tough and uncompromising nature of CODELIFE as God wants the very best for us AND from us. Climbing mountains isn't easy but it feels great once you've done it. In the same way we're setting out together to achieve something awesome; a cohort of men who set their faces against the challenge and press on foward to be the best they can be in Jesus. What God can do with this to change us, our friends, our families, our colleagues and even the nation we can't even begin to imagine!!
Sorry, THE CODE is THE CODE. We understand that it's tough but that's what gives it value. It's right to take a good long look at it and decide whether or not it's for you. If not then we hope at some point in the future you'd feel able to sign up.
If it is then you'll be standing alongside other guys who are as frail and vulnerable as you but know that God has placed a rod of spiritual steel down their backbone.
Yes, that's part of what THE CODE is all about! The central hub can be found at codelife.org which you can check out to find the latest developments and helpful resources. If you contact us we can always put you in touch with a local men's group near you to give more personal support.
We also have regional directors with CVM who can keep you and your church up to date with the latest going on in your area. Find out more here....
For many in the West the worst that can be expected if someone finds out you're a Christian is a bit of derision. Actual persecution is rarely seen and we have great compassion for our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer in the name of Christ. Those who make their stand remind us that our lives are given to us by God for a season and pointing to Him with them, regardless of the cost, is the greatest thing we can do.
There were times in Church history – even the early church – and of course throughout the bible when the people of God had to take a more circumspect approach (see 1 Kings 18:3-4, Matthew 2:13-15, Acts 8:1 for starters…). The danger and risk were assessed and steps were taken accordingly and we think this is the sound, wise and biblical approach for today.
Delving a bit deeper into the Acts 8:1 passage we read that '…On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria'. It's important to note that many scattered but the apostles didn't. They stood against the initial onslaught and sometimes we have to know when to make our stand. An old missionary once said, 'If you are going to go the distance as a Christian you have to know when to fight, when to float and when to flee.'
We pray that the Holy Spirit will speak through the Word of God, trusted friends and direct inspiration to guide you in how you should be pointing to Jesus in your life. If it means embracing CODELIFE then we welcome you and will stand with you as you live it out, whatever the cost.
Like most things that are worth anything in life you'll get out of it what you put into it. Our website, www.talkinghead.co.uk, already contains inspirational testimonies of men who have lived, sometimes at great cost, the kind of lives that stand out for Jesus.
Living by THE CODE helps us to add our own legacy to that of those who have gone before us. Hebrews12:1 calls us to be mindful of this - 'Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.'
Jesus certainly didn't have a lot of time for the Pharisees and what they had done with scripture, and we don't want to fall into the same trap either!
However, just because you apply boundaries doesn't mean you're a Pharisee. Think about it; there are rules all around us and for the most part we see the sense in upholding them. A game of football would fall apart if the players didn't adhere to agreed guidelines.
Being a Pharisee doesn't have so much to do with having rules as how you act when they are broken. Being pious, self-righteous, making the rules over complicated, meting out punishment – these are all hallmarks of the Pharisee and we want nothing to do with them.
Our God is kind and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He encourages us to lift our game and move heavenward with our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit and in this sense the Christian life is an aspirational one; we aspire to be more like Christ.
CODELIFE is all about aspiration.
When we fall down we encourage honesty, openness and accountability. Confession, repentance and restoration are a part of the regular rhythms of the godly, and over time we should see ourselves transformed. Sometimes sin is a one-off and at other times it is deep seated and protracted. By being honest about our failings and setting ourselves against a godly standard we can confront and overcome in the power of Christ the worst parts of ourselves.
When we succeed we want to celebrate and lift up what God has done. There is no limit to God's saving power and both in this life and the next we can see the results of his amazing grace.
Going back to the 'Pharisee' label, we shouldn't think that any of us aren't spiritually into rules anyway. In fact, most of us set our own boundaries but usually further away from God's best than is biblical. In this sense we are reverse - Pharisees!
If I justify swearing, or pornography, or malicious thoughts, or unforgiveness, or lying in my business practices then what am I actually doing? I'm living to a hidden set of rules that I've made up and adopted. Many Christians then mix these 'rules' with Christian practice and end up living a confused existence; at best it's misguided, and at worst hypocrisy.
CODELIFE helps us as men to live free, whole, biblical, pure and upright lives. It shines a light into the dark places and dares us to live like our Lord and Saviour.
Send a message to the codelife team at CVM.
Christian Vision for Men,
T: (01246) 452483