Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?
As a disciple of Christ, my morals come from the teachings of the Bible, and specifically, the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I confess I do not always live as high as those morals are; but, everyday I strive to attain them more and more. The way of Christ is not an easy one. Anyone who says differently is either naive or, to quote the Dread Pirate Roberts (a.k.a. farm boy Westley) selling something.
I heard a former professor of mine put it something like this, the Christian life, one could say, is a great delight. Yet, one could equally say, it is an arduous road. Both are true. And from my experience, both can be true at the same time.
The ethic of Christ is taught throughout the gospel accounts and is found in its fullest degree on the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7). In this passage, Jesus teaches us about kingdom ethics and morality. He teaches what is expected of anyone who professes their allegiance to him.
Again, it is not an easy ethic. There are some scholars who have attempted to ascribe the teachings found there to an eschatological setting. I feel this misses the point. The kingdom ethic Christ teaches is one for the here and now. After all, Jesus taught the kingdom of heaven (kingdom of God) was not only some future reality; but, it was near, it was at hand.
It is challenging because it causes us to go against many of our natural instincts. As Paul teaches, the spirit wars against the flesh, and vice versa. This is why Paul calls for a mortifying, or a killing of the flesh (i.e. the sinful part of us).
This was no new teaching. Jesus taught it plainly enough himself. In Luke 9.23, for example, Jesus shows any would-be disciple the high calling and responsibility that is required of any genuine servant of Christ. It was put succinctly by the German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, when he said, When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.
It is a high calling, it is a humble calling. It is a calling that causes you to scrape your knees against the hard soil of reality. To bruise your hands in the service of ungrateful cons and manipulators. To feel your flesh ripped apart by the stings of those who betray and hold you and your faith in contempt.
Yet, this is the way of Christ. For in all of those, there are those whose heart melts within them, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and who bend knee and head and profess their commitment to the One who is called King of kings and Lord of lords.
It is a high calling. It is a humble calling. It is a marvelously, grace-soaked calling. Could it really be any other way?