Saturday, May 4, 2013

We are in the world for a reason

Many Christians do not expose and rebuke evil because they do not take it seriously. They laugh and joke about things that are unadulterated wickedness, that are immoral and ungodly in the extreme. They recognize the sinfulness of those things and would likely never participate in them; but they enjoy them vicariously from a distance. In so doing, they not only fail to be an influence against the evil but are instead influenced by it—contaminated by it to the full extent that they think and talk about it without exposing and rebuking it…some things are so vile that they should be discussed in as little detail as possible, because even describing them is morally and spiritually dangerous.

Some diseases, chemicals, and nuclear by-products are so extremely deadly that even the most highly trained and best-protected technicians and scientists who work with them are in constant danger. No sensible person would work around such things carelessly or haphazardly.

In the same way, some things are so spiritually disgraceful and dangerous that they should be sealed off not only from direct contact but even from conversation. They should be exposed only to the extent necessary to be rid of them.  - John MacArthur

John North says your choices reflect your values, but where do your values come from? “As he thinks within himself, so he is.” Your values are informed by your mind! Never underestimate the significance of what you put into your mind. The world really wants you to adopt its values, its way of looking at life. And so it pounds its values into you with every television show you watch, with the magazines you read, with the radio, with the attitudes of the people around you.

If you do not combat the world’s way of thinking by saturating your mind with Scripture and prayer and spiritual fellowship with other believers, then you have no hope of standing against the world in your life. God’s message to you today is clear—don’t become like the secular world, but be transformed by the Holy Spirit as you renew your mind. The Spirit will take the spiritual input you put into your mind and enable you to see life the way God sees it. Then your values will entirely change and your choices will follow your values.

What are you putting into your mind? What can you do to love the Lord with all your mind?

As Christians, we are “strangers and aliens” in a world of unbelievers, as Peter says in 1 Peter 2:11. The older I get, the more keenly aware I am that I don’t think like them, that I don’t have the same desires, motivations and passions. The more I grow in my faith, the more different I feel from many people I come in contact with, and the more open I am about my faith, the more that difference becomes tangible. We are called to be set apart, yet we are in the world for a reason: to share Jesus. It’s often not received with open arms, but it’s what we are commanded to do as followers of Christ.

Like Jesus says in John 15:18, it’s not always going to be easy. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own, He says. But when we accept Christ and enter into a relationship with Him, He chooses us out of the world. Like my friends and I felt when we were surrounded by fans of an opposing team, so we as Christians will never feel “at home” in this world. Yes, we’ll face opposition, but Jesus Himself said it’s a badge of the Christian faith and a sign that we belong to Him. In answering His call to reject worldly conformity, we can truly make an impact by being an example for Jesus.

It is God's will for us to be thankful because He knows that it is good for us to have an attitude of thankfulness towards Him. When we have a thankful attitude and an attitude of appreciation for Him and what He does for us, it does not leave much room for ingratitude in our lives.

In reading Psalm 8:3-6, we can see ourselves in perspective to God's creation:

    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man, that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. . . .

God has given us—humanity—dominion over the things that He has created. And beyond that, out of all humanity, we have been given a tremendous responsibility to develop righteous character and have the potential of living eternally in His Kingdom. This thought alone should help us to be thankful each day.

The prophet Jeremiah tells us about the nature of God and His desire for every believer.

This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

James 1:12 says, "God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him" (NLT). It all will be made up to us in the life to come. Have you lost something to follow Jesus? Whatever losses you may have incurred for following Christ will be more than made up to you.


Raj Kosaraju

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