Almost daily we are bombarded with tragic news. Senseless killings. Natural disasters. Awful accidents. The world is broken. The obviousness that something is terribly wrong is overwhelming. We want solutions but are we looking in the right place for the answers?
Titus 1.1 records, Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness.
In this opening sentence in Paul’s letter to his friend Titus, he gives an insight into the true meaning of godliness. When most people think of godliness they think of people like Mother Theresa or Billy Graham. They also think of character associated with godliness like goodness, honesty, kindness, love, generosity.
I suppose everyone has their own list. No doubt most of us would consider ourselves somewhat godly.
2 Timothy 2.25-26 encourages, perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will.
The world is going crazy because people are increasingly doing crazier things. Granted, 24-hour negative news brings to our attention more crime, more violence and more human atrocity than we ever had before but still, does it seem like the world is running amok at a greater rate than ever?
The world has been in tough places before. It would have been hard times to be on the wrong side of Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan. It would have been hard times during the black plague. It was hard times during both world wars. It is hard times for those living wherever ISIS rules or seeks to rule.
2 Kings 6.33 observes, the LORD is responsible for this disaster! Why should I continue to wait for the LORD to help?
On the eve of his deliverance the king of Israel loses his hope and gives up on God. The king had faith as long as he could but he finally reached his breaking point. All of his praying, all of his fasting, all of his trying to do the right thing culminated in nothing in his mind.
1 Thessalonians 2.4 observes, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts.
The demise of Christian influence in western culture can be attributed in large part to the failure of Christians to consistently and Biblically, present God’s point of view of man, history and Himself. This failure has been facilitated by a desire to not offend people but rather to build bridges with people until people are willing to listen to our message.
Philippians 3.10 claims, my aim is to know Him, to experience the power of His resurrection, to share in His sufferings, and to be like Him in His death.
What is the goal of your religion? To get to heaven? This was not the goal of arguably the greatest Christian who was not also God. Perhaps the secret to his Christianity was the fact that he made his understanding, practice and experience of God now, not future.
Ephesians 6.4 commands fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
While this verse is geared toward fathers and their role as spiritual leaders of their home, the commands can be applied more broadly to both our personal lives and the work all Christians are to engage of disciple making.
Specifically the disciplines and instructions we are to live and teach others. What does the discipline of the Lord even mean?
Psalm 101.8 describes, each morning I will destroy all the wicked people in the land, and remove all evildoers from the city of the LORD.
David was a man deeply committed to the ways of God. At least initially. His commitment was so serious that God described him, ‘as a man after His own heart.’ For God to consider a man like Him in desire, will and way is the greatest compliment anyone could receive. Yet, David imploded.
1 Corinthians 16.13 commands, stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong.
With all of the natural disasters occurring recently some are speculating the end of the world as we know it is near. I believe this thinking is normal whenever difficult times on a mass scale are being experienced. No doubt throughout the ages Christians and others have exhibited similar thoughts while enduring plagues, famines and wars.
Whether the end is near or not I don’t know, I do know how we are to live regardless of ‘the end’s’ proximity.
1 Samuel 15.22 warns, does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as he does in obedience? Certainly, obedience is better than sacrifice; paying attention is better than the fat of rams.
If you slowly read this verse and soak in it’s meaning, doesn’t it make sense that if there really is a God this is exactly how He would be? Doesn’t it make sense that if there really is a God He couldn’t be fooled by our religion into thinking we were good? Neither would religious activities truly make a person good if the normal activities of their life were evil. Wouldn’t obedience to God seem to make the most sense as to what God really requires?