Saturday, January 21, 2012

Assumptions

Have you ever assumed something to be one way and then found the opposite to be true?

I have thought a lot about assumptions lately. There are many things I have assumed to be true; I am finding out I have been wrong.

I always assumed that a Christian would be against certain things and for others. Here are a few examples: Christians are against abortion. Christians view homosexual behavior as wrong. Christians think divorce is bad. Christians think sex before marriage is wrong. Christians are against homosexual marriage.

Well I was wrong and I'm not talking about so-called Christians or people who belong to mainline liberal denominations or people who think most Americans are Christians. I’m talking about people who claim to love Jesus.

Another bad assumption of mine is that Christians believe the Bible.

And before I turn a corner, here are a couple more bad assumptions of mine: I thought that because my wife and I were followers of Jesus our marriage would be easy and our kids wouldn't have any serious problems either. Wrong again.

So my last examples are the things that older, more mature people would smile at and know life will teach its own lessons but what about the others? I guess many of them are wrapped up in my assumption that education and facts will change people's minds. Well, wrong again.

Now there are many people who are changed by education and facts. When they became a Christian they began filtering all of their thinking through Scripture. Even when it is uncomfortable or hard, they face up to the truth and seek to conform to it.

Sadly, many so-called Christians have little time for serious time in Scripture. Instead of being transformed by it, they are conformed to the world.

Another sad truth is many people go to the Bible with their beliefs and twist it to justify what they want to believe and do. Some people believe false things because they are ignorant and some because of choice. For the latter, facts matter little to them.

So where am I going with this? I guess it explains some of the reason why the church is so messed up. It explains why things are sliding downhill and why liberal thinking is taking over many churches and Christian institutions.

I guess in the future it will help if I don't just assume where a person is and instead either ask questions or look for clues.

So what to do then? I will try to help educate people but when I find those who refuse to believe the truth and especially those who are corrupting others I will be ready for battle. I will not easily cede ground to them; I will fight.

Philip

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Foundation - Rock or Sand

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NASB

Here is what the Phillips version says: Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re- mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

Two things I see here: the world wants us like itself and God wants us like Him.

We cannot escape the world. It is the place we live. Some people have tried things like a monastery to escape the world's influence but in the end find that the world lives within.

Now to be sure, the external does make a big difference. What we focus on, what we choose to look at and what we listen to will strengthen or weaken the world's influence on our internal - the heart.

We really battle three things in this area according to 1 John 2:16: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The external is warring to influence and take over the internal.

Galatians 5:16-17 says this: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

To win the battle we need to have more influence from God's word than from the world. That will take more than a Sunday sermon or Sunday school class. We will have to refresh our minds daily with the corrective and cleansing power of Scripture.

A lack in this area is why we see Christians who are soft on sin. They are uncomfortable when confronting the world. Softness on abortion and homosexuality are two examples. Because the world has molded their thinking, they are persuaded more by its arguments than Scripture. Not having a foundation to stand on, they are swayed.

Sadly, many people are blind to their blindness; in ignorance they stand firmly committed.Also there are some who have the knowledge of what the Bible says but for philosophical reasons or fear of men or the desire of man's praise choose to compromise. They are in a worse state. So it's not just knowledge that is necessary but bowing the knee to truth.

If we don't fight, things slide downhill. If you don't fight daily for a Biblical mind you will end up with a worldly one.

The solution is a disciplined, habitual, regular, don't matter how you feel, immersion in Scripture. There are no short cuts.

It really is a life or death battle; winner takes all.

Philip

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