Sometimes we have thoughts that will pull us away and distract us from our journey in Christ . I’m not saying that it is wrong, after all we are human and we hold the treasure of the Holy Spirit in these earthen vessels. Yet there is a Scripture that I love that always helps me to get back to the place where I am walking circumspect or cautiously, keeping my thoughts with the Lord in all things.
Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
The wonderful thing about this passage is that no matter what we are doing, when we are putting our thoughts on such things we will find ourselves centered in the Lord. This is the fruition of Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men”
It all leads to the continuous renewing of our minds. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
As we set our minds to meditate on the Word of God, our feet will began to move in the Way of God and those times we feel distracted and pulled away from the Life will be less and less and farther and fewer in the midst of our thoughts.
This is what many of us see and know a church meeting to be. We may even recognize ourselves as one of the sign holders. There can be no growth or real substantial blessing of maturity in Christ when we have a self serving view of service, learning and teaching. These attitudes are all SELF-CENTERED! In order for God to bring us from GLORY to GLORY, when we say that He promised to give us the desires of our hearts… we must realize that if we are truly delighting ourselves in Him that His hearts desire will be the ONLY desire of our hearts.
This issue is the cause of much controversy in the Christian community. Each of the two extremes is represented by those who feel very strongly that their position is the “Christian” one. On one hand there are those who spend many hours writing to their Congressmen, picketing abortion clinics, campaigning for conservative candidates and using all means available to influence and improve the quality of government to conform it to the Christian worldview. At the other extreme are those who take Jesus’ words “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) as their motto, refusing to vote or get involved in any effort to affect the culture in which we live.
There is no doubt that we should be good citizens.Romans 13:1tells us, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Christians should be exemplary in their conduct regarding the laws of the land, choosing to disobey only those laws/rules that directly contradict the revealed Word of God. Abortion, for example, may be an abomination, but no one is forced by the government to have an abortion, as is the case in China. The Chinese Christians who defy the law and refuse to have abortions are obeying the biblical commands “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19) and “you shall not murder” (Romans 13:9), thereby obeying the Word of God rather than the laws of man. But such instances are very rare in contemporary Western culture.
Perhaps the best way to understand our responsibilities in the social/cultural arena is to look to Jesus for our example. Jesus lived in one of history’s most corrupt societies. But He perfectly maintained His Father’s perspective on social and political matters, even though He lived in a society that was every bit as pagan and corrupt as today’s culture. Cruel tyrants and dictators ruled throughout the region, and the institution of slavery was firmly entrenched. Legal and economic oppression of the Jews by Rome was rampant, dwarfing anything we experience today. But even in the face of such tyranny, Jesus never issued a call for political changes, even by peaceful means. He never attempted to “capture the culture” for biblical morality. He did not come to earth to be a political or social reformer. Rather, He came to establish a new spiritual order. He came not to make the old order moral through social and governmental reform, but to make new creatures (His people) holy through the saving power of the gospel and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. He knew what many today fail to grasp: governments and institutions are made up of people. When people’s hearts are changed by Christ, godly governments and institutions will follow. If the hearts of the people are corrupt, getting them together in groups only multiplies the corruption. What we need is not better government, but better men and women in government.
So what is a Christian to do? Can Christians shun all political and social efforts to affect the culture? Certainly, if our consciences convict us to do so and as long as our motivation is pure and not an effort to appear holier than those who do choose to be involved. Pride is too often the by-product of completely withdrawing from the culture. We are to be in the world, but not of it, and part of being in the world is modeling Christ-likeness for the world and Christian love toward one another.
Can we picket, campaign, and lobby our elected leaders on issues of concern to us? Certainly, as long as we keep the ultimate goal in mind—to win people to Christ. Too often that goal and the activities described above are in conflict. Take, for example, the misguided efforts by a small fringe group from Kansas who show up at the funerals of homosexuals with signs declaring “God hates fags” and “burn in hell.” How likely is it that such cruel and vicious behavior will convince unbelievers we serve a loving and merciful God who will forgive sin? The cause of Christ is not advanced by this type of activism, no matter what the motivation. Even the most gracious efforts to “clean up the culture” will not protect or expand the cause of Christ. Ours is a spiritual battle against worldly ideologies and dogmas that are arrayed against God, and we achieve victory over them only with the weapon of Scripture. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
The picture of the Christian in the world is well illustrated by the analogy of the train station. We (Christians) are waiting in the station to board the northbound (heavenly) train. We are surrounded by people who are preparing to board the southbound train, completely unaware of its tragic destination. Should we spend our time and energy pleading with them to switch trains? Or do we merely tidy up the train station instead? The answer is obvious, and those who would tidy up the culture for the culture’s sake are not only missing the point, they are misunderstanding the reason God leaves us in the world—to be His witness to the lost and condemned. Such a mission is far more “good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8) than any amount of social or political activism.
When Christians attempt to live by the Law, we will incur the curse of the Law that no man except for Jesus was able to keep.
As opposed to the blessing, which is grace, the Law is a curse upon all mankind, none of whom can possibly fulfill its requirements. While the Law itself is perfect and holy, those who try to justify themselves before its holy Author bring not His blessing, but His curse upon themselves. The Bible itself tells us what the curse of the Law is: “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘the righteous will live by faith.’ The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, ‘The man who does these things will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’” (Galatians 3:10–13).
What we must understand from this passage is that the curse is not the Law. The curse is the penalty levied for not keeping the Law. The “Book of the Law” refers to the covenant laws that God made with His people during the time of Moses. The Law can point out where we fail and fall short of God’s will, but it cannot pronounce us righteous; that was not its purpose.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5 (New King James Version)
The Greek word underlying “ covetousness” is pleonexia, which means “the desire to have more.” This is among the ugliest of sins because it involves idolatry as well as its effects on others. The Greeks defined it as “the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others.” It is further described as “ruthless self-seeking,” the kind of attitude that the arrogant and callous person has, assuming that others and their things exist for his own benefit.
The desire for more money can lead to theft; the desire for more prestige, to evil ambition; the desire for more power, to tyranny; the desire for a person’s body, to fornication and adultery. Paul identifies covetousness as idolatry because, in the place of God, it puts self-interest for illicit things. A man sets up an idol in his heart because he desires to get something from it. So he serves it to get that something rather than to obey God’s commandment. That, very simply put, is idolatry.
The essence of idolatry is to get for the self in defiance of God. However, we have to give ourselves to God if we want to overcome illicit desires. Paul says to “mortify” (KJV) or “put to death” (NKJV) whatever is sinful. That does not mean to practice ascetic self-discipline—it means to kill. The Christian must kill self-centeredness. In his life, he must make a radical transformation, a shift of the center of his life. It is the same principle as described by Matthew 5:29. Everything that keeps a person from fully obeying God and surrendering to Jesus Christ must be surgically excised from his conduct.
The tenth commandment, then, has a function similar to the first. They both act as governors, controlling whether we keep the others. *Which is in compliance with the New Testament (see 1 John 2:7).*— John W. Ritenbaugh
Okay I got under some people’s skin with the whole Halloween subject… I am going to say this and then I will let it rest.
1. Satanists adopted Halloween as a holiday within the last 60 years. 2. Halloween means— Saints Eve. It is a Catholic celebration The 1st of November is “All Saints Day” for Catholics and has been for centuries. 3. Satan can claim anything… and so can I! 4. I can tell you that the internet and FACEBOOK is evil and I’d be correct, it is full of pornography, lies, hatred, theft and murder… So I ask you why are you on it! Get off of the internet and keep your children away from it because Satanist use it to deliver the message of evil! If Christians allow their children to use the world wide web they are allowing their kids to use the tools of the devil. DOESN’T THAT JUST SOUND STUPID?
The internet for me AND MANY OTHERS is a place of fun with family and friends where I also share my faith in Christ. (JUST LIKE HALLOWEEN duh!) Genesis 50:20 – But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it to good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
I remember when Christians said that secular music was of the devil and anyone who listened and allowed their children to listen were damned. I remember when Christians wouldn’t allow drums in their congregations because they felt the music was evil and that any congregation that allowed it was DEMONIC. They believe that drinking, smoking, dancing, tattoos, piercings, women wearing make-up, women in pants, and all kinds of external things are demonic and people who do such things are damned. JESUS NEVER SAID OR SOUGHT OUT SUCH THINGS. He lived to serve the Father and love & serve the people no matter who and no matter their condition.
When Christians get away from serving God and others and get into the business of investigating evil, satan and darkness… then the focus is no longer on Love… but the promotion of fear. When Christians spend more time pointing out darkness than letting the Light of the Lord shine and when Christians are running about battling the devil… we must then consider the word of God which says “they are having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. – 2 Timothy 3:5 In effect they are denying that Christ has already given us the victory over darkness. Have we forgotten: -The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. -Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world -I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
Stop denying the CROSS and get out there and let the Light of Christ shine. Focus on Love and not on wickedness. Stop spreading fear and hatred… BE LOVE!
Was Gandhi right???? I have always loved this quote. For a long time I would not say that I was a Christian, because I did not want to associate myself with the legalism, hypocrisies, the conservative political movement, the moral majority (eye roll), greed, holier than thou attitudes and the bigotry that plagues most churches. BUT I matured and I realized pretty fast that I AM A CHRISTIAN and all light does NOT shine and salt that is tasteless adds nothing to savor. Therefore the world remains skeptical regarding the Light of the world and the Salt of the earth.
Jesus said….“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” —-Matthew 5:13-16
***The Church keeps crying that Jesus is the Light of the world… when Jesus has declared THAT WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. “FOR GOD’S SAKE…. BE LIGHT!”