Monthly Archives: September 2011
Many will remember the fall of 2008 as the beginning of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. In the months to follow, many lost their jobs, homes, and investments. In a BBC interview a year later, Alan Greenspan, former head of the US Federal Reserve, indicated that the average person doesn’t believe it will happen again. He said, “That is the unquenchable capability of human beings when confronted with long periods of prosperity to presume that it will continue.”
Assuming that things will continue as they always have is not just 21st-century-type thinking. In the first century, Peter wrote of people who thought that life would continue as it was and that Jesus would not return. He said, “Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Jesus said He would come back, but the people continued to live in disobedience as though He would never return. But His delay is only because of God’s patience with us, for He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v.9).
Paul tells us that Christians ought to live “soberly, righteously, and godly” in the light of Christ’s certain return. (Titus 2:12). Are you ready to meet Him?
I John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not form the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
When you believe that things will provide happiness, you’ve settled for a counterfeit. Don’t be fooled by the counterfeit.
It’s a little bit like this. My wife sent me to the grocery store to get a few things, and there are two rules for any man going to the grocery store. Man Rules – Rule #1: You have to forget something or get the wrong thing. It’s just a rule, you have to do it. And the second Man Rule is: you have to get something that wasn’t on the list. Because you are a hunter, and that is what you do. You hunt and you kill and you drag things home.
So I was walking by the fish section of the grocery store and they had a large package of Sushi for 5.99. So I thought, I’m buying it! This stuff is on sale. So I get home and I’m bragging about my big package of Sushi that I picked up for 5.99. And Renee and I start eating it and she looks at me and I look at her and we start saying, this is the most disgusting thing I have ever had! So I look at the package and down in the small print it says made with imitation crab meat. Which is one of the scariest things I have ever read in my life. I don’t know what immitation crab meat is … but I don’t want it anymore.
It’s an imitation, its not the real thing. To think that the things in this world will make you happy, you’re settling for a cheap imitation of the real thing.
When a high school student tried using a thermometer to measure a table, his teacher was dumbfounded. In 12 years of ministry, I think I had seen or heard it all, but takes the cake! I’m amazed that a student could make it to high school without knowing the difference between a ruler and a thermometer.
When a friend told me this story, my heart broke for that student and others like him who have fallen so far behind in their education. They can’t move forward because they haven’t yet learned basic lessons of everyday life.
But then a sobering thought came to me: Don’t we sometimes do the same thing when we use wrong spiritual measuring devices? For example, do we assume that churches with the most resources are the most blessed by God? And do we ever think that popular preachers are more godly than those with few followers?
The proper measure of our spiritual condition is the quality of our lives. Paul gives us a list that we can examine ourselves against. In Galatians 5:22-23, our checklist includes: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That’s is how you can measure spiritual growth.