How do you think?

We “think” but we are largely unaware just how much of what and how we think is shaped by influences that are unseen. A huge industry (the most profitable) is built around building a virtual image of you. Where you go, what you buy, what you watch, the clicks you make on the Internet are all being collected and analyzed by computers programmed to get to know you. That information is then sold to companies or other organizations that will provide you with experiences that are tailored to your interests, your values, and your habits. Gradually, your networks on FaceBook™, your home page on Amazon™, your Google™ searches are truly ‘all about you.’  

On one level, that is a great thing, isn’t it? You get offered products that interest you without sifting through a lot of other things. You find friends among people who are like you. Your searches turn up stories that fit your worldview. But, there is also a gradual loss of perspective as you see the world through an ever-narrowing lens and start to think that what you think is the ‘correct way’ because almost all of the people with whom you are interacting think like you do.

(If this interests you watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix.)

Christian, how we need discernment and wisdom!
I am not talking about seeing the nonsense of the latest crack-pot conspiracy theory. I am talking about being able to stay Christ-focused, a person who lives the True Gospel, not one of the many corrupted “Gospels” that are competing for your heart and mind.

I love Paul’s prayer, using it often for my own life and for those I serve as a pastor. He prays “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit a of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”  (Ephesians 1:17)

He does not pray that God will make them politically savvy, that God will give them great business opportunities, or that they will enjoy perpetual youth and prosperity! These are so often the not so subtle messages attached to “Jesus” in this day. Jesus becomes a means of building our ‘kingdom,’ making life work better for us. Jesus supposedly endorses certain candidates. Jesus supposedly likes a certain kind of economic system. Jesus is our holy good luck charm to make our troubles disappear. IF we are in a church that preaches those false Gospels, if we surround ourselves with people who repeat them to us, they become ‘true,’ except that they are not!

The Gospel is about reconciling humanity to God, about opening up our minds to the eternal, and about calling us to the pursuit of the knowledge of the Holy One. Oh that God would make us discerning so that we would reject the ‘fake news’ of twisted preaching and begin to understand His invitation to know His love, His power, and the delight of belonging to Him – come Hell or high water.  Is your true life found in knowing Jesus Christ; who is “God come in flesh”, the Savior of the World, our Risen Lord, and Coming King?  Or, are you taken by ‘high sounding philosophy’ of human potential, success, prosperity, pleasure, or power?

Can you join Paul in this aspiration? “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, (the Greek word in the first text is skubalon  which meant “poop!”) that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:8-11, NIV)

John, when an old man, saw the ravages that smooth-talking teachers were bringing to the Church. They came denying that Jesus was the God, Incarnate. They, like thousands since then, used the language of Christianity, but turned the meanings inside out. The old man, an elder, who loved deeply, warned them and us with uncompromising words. “There are a lot of smooth-talking charlatans loose in the world who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was truly human, a flesh-and-blood human being. Give them their true title: Deceiver! Antichrist! And be very careful around them so you don’t lose out on what we’ve worked so diligently in together; I want you to get every reward you have coming to you. Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 7-9, The Message)

There is a rich life to be found in faith’s acceptance of Christ as Lord.
When we adore Him, revere His sacrifice on the Cross, and form today’s decisions in the light of Eternity, our minds are transformed. We begin to see the emptiness of the ‘fake’ Gospels. We see beyond the political chaos. We throw away endless speculations about Prophetic timelines. And we become full of the beauty of the Lord, fruitful in the life of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)  If these are not the predominant qualities in your thoughts and actions, it’s time to find Jesus again.

Here is a word from the Word. “I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers.” (Ephesians 1:17-18, The Message)

___________

My Life Is In Your Hands

(The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir makes this declaration!)

You don’t have to worry
And don’t you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don’t last always
For there’s a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

(Oh) I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in Your hands

With Jesus I can take it
With Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in Your hands

So when your tests and trials
They seem to get you down
And all your friends and loved ones
Are nowhere to be found
Remember there’s a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

My life is in Your hands

Kirk Franklin © 1996 Lilly Mack Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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