Monday, October 20, 2008

5 Facts About Life Every Christian Needs to Come to Grips With

It was June 12, 1994 and I watched with surreal interest the chase of O.J. Simpson in his white Bronco, fleeing the police after his wife was murdered. I could hardly believe it. O.J. was a celebrated former athlete and actor. He seemed to embody the decorum and stature of an honest, hardworking man. Now, he is accused of murder. And he is running away from the law. I didn't want to believe it. I thought surely this must be a misunderstanding.

But the incident was real. And O.J., well, he wasn't entirely innocent. In fact, he has gone from bad to worst in a lot of respects. But at that time, very many people felt as I did. He couldn't have done something so horrible.

Can't we all just get along?

But this illustrates the point that most of the world would disagree with. Everyone, from the nicest person we know to the street hustler, has the potential to do some horrible things. And this world is messed up because of this. Not messed up because of the government, nor the economy; not the lack of fairness, nor the weather. We are just plain evil. And the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can accept God's solution.

But, nowadays it is the followers of Jesus who need this wake-up call. Like Peter, we really don't believe what Jesus has to say about this. In fact, we live our lives like it just isn't true. And we are shocked when we experience what he said would happen.

Here are 5 bedrock truths believers can count on — and we, as disciples of Christ, need to be keenly aware of them in these dark times:

  • The righteous and the wicked will never get along. (John 15:18-25) The reason this is true is that they have opposing worldviews. The wicked generally don't think they are, unless they are purposefully self-destructive. They generally seek to redefine what is evil, or explain it away. The righteous desire righteousness. (What is right and just and within the will of God.) (Proverbs 21:15) The wicked have no such desire.

  • Everyone is evil. (Romans 3:9-20) Whether we accept it or not, God has declared us all his enemies, as evidenced by our evil behavior. (Colossians 1:21) Whether we like it or not, we are all held accountable to God. Whether we believe it or not, God will judge us all.

  • The natural tendency of everyone is towards evil. We have been declared by God to have a tendency and desire to do evil. (John 3:19-21) We love to sin. We love to rebel against God. Therefore, we are depraved, and the only real solution is to be saved and renewed by God.

  • If you or I determine to do what is right, we will have resistance. For those of us who have been saved, we are now on a different path. A path of faith which hungers for righteousness, desires the will of God, and focuses effort on pleasing God. But, because of this, we are out of step with the world. And the world hates us for it. (2 Timothy 3:10-13; John 15:18-25; Matthew 5:10-12) We shouldn't be surprised. Also, we are out of step with what we have habitually done all our lives previous to our salvation. (Galatians 5:16-18) Therefore, we must resist our evil tendencies.

  • The devil is real. We must resist the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-18) For he is real and our ultimate battle is with him and his forces. Forget this, and we become fodder. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

We can't afford to be asleep in this world. We can't afford to be drunk with pleasure, entertainment, or materialism. We can't afford to accept whatever the world feeds us as truth. We can't afford to sit idly by with the mockers and skeptics. We can't afford to fear whatever they fear. We must be alert, unafraid, and watchful. Not only for Jesus return, but for opportunities to influence our world for the cause of Christ.

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