A deep vein of skepticism runs through American society today. Institutions are no longer trusted after multiple scandals. Most of us do not trust our government systems, convinced that too often power is used for monied special interests. And, under it all, we have adopted a radical kind of individualism that rests on the conviction that we can make our ‘truth,’ that we can live as we believe best fits our own thoughts. Even many Christians reject a life shaped around the immutable will of God. They give lip service to loving God, but choose to ignore Him in areas where they believe the ancient ‘truth’ to be irrelevant to life. If we are a person dedicated to the morality of the revealed Word of God we are likely to be regarded with the same disdain reserved for racists!
What then to do with this statement? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV) The Message paraphrase of that passage is more accessible – “Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning. ” (Proverbs 1:7, The Message) Do we believe that Truth about the world, about the meaning and purpose of life, about spirituality is found in the revelation of God or are we convinced that only those things which can be measured, discovered, and confirmed by scientific methods are ‘true?’
Many modern Christians are so confused about the truth that they make a mockery of the Scripture even while professing that they follow it for life. For example, a virtual tenet of faith among many conservative Christians is that capitalism and consumerism are enshrined in the Scripture. So, they pile up wealth and buy things considering this their destiny and right. In truth, the Bible is very clear about the importance of shared wealth, care for the poor, and the folly of shaping life around ‘stuff!’ Another glaring area of confusion is around sexual ethics. Christians raise a great deal of clamor over the agenda of the LGBT community, even as divorce is as accepted in the church at the same rates as it is among non-believers despite the Bible having much more to say about the sanctity of marriage than it does about homosexuality. My point is not to justify one with the other but to remind us that we lose credible witness to the truth when we select which ‘truth’ we accept.
When one looks over the holey faith practices that most of adopt, it is little wonder that a whole generation is discarding the church, rejecting Christianity as just another ‘idea’ and one that is not all that compelling. For the last half century many pastors and churches have looked for ways to accommodate the culture changes, softening the call of Christ to discipleship, remaining silent on the more controversial truths of the Scripture. As a result, the vast majority of people under 40 in our churches have no idea about the actual revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Instead they have adopted a new kind of ‘religion’ that some call “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” shaped around the idea that God exists but is distant from daily life, that He (or She) just wants us to be nice people, that we exist to find personal happiness and to feel good about ourselves, and that all ‘good’ people go to heaven.
This insipid religion cannot compel radical change, has no concept of sin, and does not see the need of a Savior, even disdaining the story of the Cross as a relic of superstition! Jesus’ words should shake us to our core. “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.” (Matthew 7:24-29, NLT)
Dear Christian, it is time to dig down to foundations, to look deeply at our faith, to ask ourselves where the holes exist in our convictions! We need to pray for a new revelation of God, the rediscovery of Christ Jesus, and a fresh outpouring of the Spirit. Such a life will make us fools in the eyes of our world and cause us to be rejected, perhaps even hated, even as Jesus was. Paul sarcastically addressed the ‘worldly wise’ Christians in the church of Corinth saying “We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ!” (1 Corinthians 4:10, NIV) His words echo to us today who are confronted with the same label if we choose a live that is centered on God and His will. Are you ready to be dismissed as a ‘fool’ because you radically trust and serve Jesus Christ?
Here’s a word from the Word for your thoughts today. I pray that the Spirit will use it to pierce our pretensions, to guide us to true wisdom.
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-4:3, NIV)
Now walk with God
And He will be
your dearest Friend
Where’er you go
In everything you do.
And may your life
Reflect His love to ev’ryone.
Now walk with God
And He will walk with you.
Now Walk With God
Skillings, Otis © 1969 Lillenas Publishing Company (Admin. by The Copyright Company)
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