The Vanishing Line Between Christians and non-Christians
Author : Tom Graneau
Mankind has always struggled with spirituality, not because of the difficulty of accepting a universal God that doesn’t seem to exist, but rather believing that he exists yet deliberately ignoring his rules of morality.
This outlook on life carries serious long-term consequences that are often not apparent at a glance. For instance, history is full of the demise of cultures that have ignored God. In fact, all biblical accounts of human tragedy have been linked directly to moral disobedience, lewdness, and corruption. More specifically, they were associated with the tenacious habit of pursuing pleasure, riches, power, etc. while demonstrating mild or gross contempt for God.
Looking at our present state, nothing has changed. On the contrary, we have become more desperate in claiming our rightful place in the world. We want our individual freedom to seek all the pleasure, fame, and fortune our hearts desire; we want the right to ban God and everything that is spiritual within our culture; and we aim to live in a Godless, lawless, and socialistic society where everything is left wide open for the individual’s choice, regardless how perverse it may be.
Where are the people of God?
What is more unfortunate is the gradual disappearing of spirituality within our culture. These days, it is difficult to tell the difference between real Christians and non-Christians.
Many of God’s followers—people who have claimed to be born-again, God-loving, church-going, and Bible-reading—are supporting the on-going depravity in our culture in the name of change, progressiveness, and compromise.
Have we lost our way? Have we become confused about the issues of right and wrong? Are we allowing non-Christians to dictate our spiritual condition and behavior? Have we concluded that God has changed to accommodate human inconsistencies and whimsical tendencies?
Where are the people of God? Are we being led astray by false prophets, political correctness, party affiliations, and the desire for pleasure while pretentiously using the name of God to assuage our guilt? Jesus cautioned his followers in reference to the end time: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). This form of deception will not occur suddenly, but rather through a gradual unfolding by prominent leaders within our culture. This means that if you are reading this article, you are witnessing the very fulfillment of the prophecy, which is the beginning of something that will get even worse with time.
Establish your spiritual priority
There is nothing more powerful in human civilization that the desire to survive. It is the drive that helps us achieve all the goals in life that we hope to accomplish. Much of that has to do with materialism of some form: Personal health, beauty, materials possessions, fame, power, money, recognition, etc. By themselves, there is nothing wrong about these things. Many of them fit well within the provisioning aspects of God’s plan for our lives. In other words, it’s always a good habit to provide food, shelter, clothing, etc. for the present as well as the future. This also includes money, which gives us the opportunity to purchase goods and services when necessary.
At the same time, the Bible expressly cautioned Christians about self-centered desires that lead to problems, especially cravings that draw our attention away from a yearning for God in favor of things in the materialistic world (Matthew 6:31-34; Psalm 49:6-7; Matthew 6:24; Mark 10:23-25). The illustration of one of these verses reads as followers: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it’s fully-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). The text highlights the evolutionary process that is associated with the problem of immoderateness. Desire seeks out temptation that leads to sin, which ultimately ends in death.
To alleviate this problem, God provided a successful approach to the conflict we face between earthly and heavenly interests: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Seemingly, when we decide to make heavenly interest our number one priority, everything else falls into place. God provides:
- Strength to develop and maintain spiritual stamina.
- Wisdom to perceive the different between right and wrong.
- Courage to stand for what is right.
- Love and compassion to reach out and help others in the community.
- Ability to pursue the desires of our hearts.
The idea is that as long as we make God our priority, not by simply saying so, but in habitual ATTITUDE and consistent ACTION, we can remain hopeful that he will provide everything we need in this life.
Identify with your Lord and Savior
These days, it is much easy to blend-in than to stand out. The behavior is a self-preservation technique to avoid any type of confrontation. But we cannot afford to hide God (Jesus Christ) and hope to be safe. All Christians should be aware of the fact that belief in God comes with inherent risks: “If the world hates you,” said Jesus, “you know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). This is how it was at the time of his life on earth, and it will continue to be this way until the end.
The fatal flaw is to deny knowing Christ under legal, social, or political pressure to save our skin. Jesus put it this way: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Notice that the verse presents an inverse analogy to common thinking. Instinctively, we want to be safe in every situation that presents a threat, thus preservation of life becomes a priority. Yet, Jesus suggested that people—both Christian and non-Christians—who play it safe by making life a priority over him will be disappointed in the end, meaning life after death. When they come face-to-face with him, the Bible tells us that he too will deny knowing them (Matthew 25:41).
My hope is that you will identify with God, come what may. In other words, if you say you’re a Christian, you need to stand up and represent your belief in God. Compromising your spiritual position for self-preservation or political and social gain is not an option.
What are your thoughts on this matter?
Have you seen a spiritual decline in our churches? Has it become harder to identify the people of God in our world? Have you become distracted by material possessions, the desire for pleasure, and social or political pressure while making less time for God?
If you believe that the Devil is only a symbol of evil…think again.
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