Marching Backward

Much of our society likes to think that we are ‘evolving’ as a culture…moving forward in progress.

To be sure, that is true in some ways. Generally speaking, most people accept individuals now with fewer prejudices, and we are usually more tolerant of differences. In fact, I have seen what I believe to be a very positive development–that people seem to have discovered that we can actually be ‘friends’ with people who aren’t exactly like us!

Back in my day in High School (just take my word for it–that was a long time ago), we all seemed to be separate–the ‘jocks’ hung out with the ‘jocks’, the ‘brainiacs’ with the brainiacs, the ‘motor-heads’ with fellow ‘motor heads’, etc.

Today, I’ve noticed that there is much more willingness to accept people from other groups.

That’s a good thing. That is progress.

But there are other ways where I think we are making a major error, and cultivating a mindset which could be disastrous.

In our culture, we have elevated subjective ‘feelings’ to a level of moral authority. In other words, if I FEEL a certain way about something, I should be allowed to pursue it.

We’ve elevated the Individual above the Society–so that ‘each one does what is right in our own eyes’–much like in the book of Judges, where we read this refrain: “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 17, 21)

We have become ‘that culture’, which rejects God, follows our own way…and labels it ‘freedom’.

What it really is, is this: We’re believing a lie–the same lie that satan told Eve back in the garden:

“The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-4)

To Paraphrase: ‘God is holding out on you! He doesn’t want you to enjoy everything the way you should! He knows that if you eat of the fruit, you’ll be just like Him–free to choose your own way, do your own thing.’

That lie–that ‘God wants to keep you under His thumb, and that’s the only reason He says you can’t do ___ (fill in the blank)’, is the same lie that our culture is buying in to today.

In fact, we’re making it a Right!

We still think that we–individually–know better than God does.

Jesus came to say “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life–to the Full!” (John 10:10), but our culture doesn’t believe it. In fact, our society has turned it around…‘I have come to steal, kill and destroy; the thief comes to give you life, to the full’. 

Ironically, in buying into that lie, our culture has shown that ‘the thief’, satan…the deceiver, who Jesus called “A liar and the father of lies”. (John 8:44), is being very effective.

We are buying the lie, elevating it to the truth.

…and it’s shown in many ways: our desire for whatever makes us feel good, our desire to have any kind of behavior (except standing on God’s Word) accepted, our desire to have the authority of Govt. and the Courts to ‘legitimize’ whatever we want–and to punish those who don’t agree with us…all of these are evidence that satan is working.

And our culture thinks that’s Progress!

We are, in fact, Marching Backward!

How did it work out in the garden for Eve and Adam (who did nothing to stop it)?

“The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.” (Genesis 3:6-7)

Their eyes were opened. They knew they’d sinned. They felt shame at their nakedness–their exposure before each other and God.

God, in His grace, provided coverings and a promise of future deliverance, but there would be consequences (Genesis 3:8-19).

I hope and pray that our culture will see it’s own ‘nakedness’ and exposure before God…and will repent, changing its direction and admitting that we do not, in fact, know better than God, and turning to Him, through Jesus, in full-on, life-altering faith.

Now THAT will be progress!

 

Here’s a song–from 1985–which speaks of the very same things!

Freedom!

Freedom: Something we all love and long for.

A promise which men and women have given their lives for throughout history.

Picture William Wallace, having spent his life to secure the freedom and independence of Scotland, now being killed for it. He is given the choice to cry for ‘Mercy’, and die a quick death, or to endure ongoing torture until his death.

The end of Braveheart shows it well.

On the other end of the spectrum is Slavery.

An evil, repulsive concept, a disturbing part of our history, and ongoing reality for some.

 

Slavery=evil, right?

So why would anyone actually choose it?

‘Who?’ you might ask?

You, I would say! And I!

Spiritually speaking, when we ‘choose’ to sin, we choosing slavery–spiritual, moral and emotional–slavery.

We sign up for it!

“Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (Romans 6:16)

In other words, when we ‘throw off’ the shackles of morality, faith, and obedience to God, we may think we are being ‘free’. Instead, we are actually choosing to become slaves of that sin we’re giving in to.

The Holy Spirit prompts us about this. He warns us within our hearts (IF we are believers in Jesus, the Spirit lives within and helps us know what’s in and what’s out of bounds). Yet, we overrule Him.

That drink you’re having–even though He’s prompted you not to.

Is that leading to Freedom…or slavery?

That image you’re looking at, even though the Spirit is prompting you to look away…is that leading to Freedom, or to slavery?

That money you’re spending on your ‘wants’, even though the Spirit is saying no…is that leading to Freedom, or to slavery?

That dessert you’re downing–again–despite your health issues…is that leading to Freedom, or slavery?

THIS, I believe, is where the motive behind our struggle with sin is exposed. That is that we have bought the same lie that satan told Eve back in the garden: “You surely won’t die!” (Genesis 3:4)

God had given them ONE prohibition, and satan was trying to convince them that God was ‘holding back’ on their legitimate desire. They ‘deserved’ the forbidden fruit…God was being ‘stingy’…the threatened discipline was not real.

“The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” (Genesis 3:6)

She bought the lie we’re still buying–that choosing our own way, even if it means going against God’s direct Word–leads to freedom. Of course it doesn’t–it leads to enslavement.

We need to really challenge ourselves: Do we believe–Really BELIEVE–that God is good, loving and wise? Do we believe Jesus when He said “I have come to give them Life–to the Full” (John 10:10)?

IF SO, then we need to willingly allow Him to lead us. We need to challenge our ‘flesh’ when it cries out for ‘freedom’. We need to pray and ask God to give us wisdom to know the Truth from the lies. We need to submit ourselves to Him–willingly, enthusiastically.

THEN we will experience the freedom of being led by God–who loves us and cares more for us than we can possibly imagine. Then we will follow the leading of the Holy Spirit when we’re tempted, and we will experience freedom and victory!

That is what He wants for us.

Don’t settle for the temporary satisfaction that sin promises–you’ll only experience further enslavement. Rather, submit your desires and temptations to God. Allow Him to lead you to freedom!

 

 

There are None so Blind…

…as those who Will Not See!

In his book, The Magician’s Nephew, C.S.Lewis describes the process through which Aslan (the Lion who represents God) creates the world of Narnia.

the-magician-s-nephew-book-cover-picture

At the very dawn of Narnia’s creation, Aslan sings a song…a beautiful song which brought out all of the elements of Narnia. The light, bright notes brought out the stars, the deep, pulsating notes brought out the trees, and so on. It was beautiful to everyone…except for two: The Empress Jadis (who would become the White Witch, who brought evil into Narnia), and Uncle Andrew, a ‘magician’ of sorts, who wanted to use spells and powers for his own ends, but cared little about others. These two hated the song and feared the Lion. As He came closer, they retreated.

Uncle Andrew, who originally heard the song but disliked it, began to convince Himself that it wasn’t a ‘song’ after all. ‘Lions Can’t Sing’, he told himself…and soon every note that came from Aslan was interpreted to be a menacing, angry growl. Andrew convinced himself that Aslan–as beautiful and majestic as He was–was simply a terrible lion, out to get him.

Later, after Aslan was done creating Narnia, he came to address those who’d come to it, including Andrew…but he’d convinced himself so much that he could only hear roars, grunts and growls. Polly asked if Aslan could “do something to…un-frighten him. “I cannot comfort him, he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would only hear growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”

In the same way, our culture has mastered the ‘art’ of plugging its ears to the loving wisdom of God, our Creator. Many in our culture have determined that God’s Word are ‘growlings and roarings’, rather than the beautiful, loving Words of our Creator. We have convinced ourselves that His Words are burdensome, designed to steal our fun and ‘cramp our style’…and we have bought the lie of our enemy, who has always tried to convince us that God is ‘holding out on us’.

It’s the very same lie that he convinced Eve and Adam with in the garden of Eden.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:4-6)

The lie, trying to put ourselves in the place of God–determining for ourselves what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’–is ‘in vogue’ today. The enemy continues to work his lies and deceit, and we buy into it, telling ourselves that we’re ‘enlightened’ or ‘evolving’.

Whether it’s with respect to sexuality, marriage, what we put in our bodies, what we believe, the things we do on our computer or watch on t.v….in many, many ways, we have sought to become ‘like God’.

…and we’re just as wrong as ever.

As my mother always told me, “There are none so blind as those who Will Not see!”

Don’t ‘refuse’ to see. Trust God, your Creator who loves you, cares for you deeply, and has The Best Plan for your life–through faith in Jesus Christ.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they might have LIFE and have it to the full”! (John 10:10)

 

 

(an oldie but a goodie)

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