This Present Evil World

Galatians 1:3-4 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father.

Our mighty Lord Jesus has saved us who have called upon His name from the penalty and power of sin, opened our eyes and turned us from darkness to light. Because of Him, we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. But although we are not of the world, we are still in the world… this present evil world.

It is a world system that is in view in this verse, with its thoughts, opinions, and values which continually press us and attempt to mold us into its image. The world is not content with merely being corrupt. It insists upon actively exerting its corrupting influence upon our lives. Not all at one time, mind you. Little by little, numbing us by increasingly graphic scenes of violence and immorality on the news and in entertainment, the distracting nature of current events, and an endless variety of cares of this world. All of it numbing us and pulling us away from that which is truly important.

The will of God is that we would be free of that influence, however if we continue to immerse ourselves in it, then we will undoubtedly be affected by it. How can we be sensitive to the Spirit of God when our souls have been polluted (and oftentimes entertained) by the corruption of this world?

This verse has been a strong reminder to me today. Maybe it will be helpful to someone else.

A real word from God

If you listen to much Christian media, you will almost certainly come to the conclusion that these are the days Paul warned about when he said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”  2 Timothy 4:3-4

It’s frightening how much false doctrine and questionable teaching there is out there.  Many times I listen to a sermon over Christian radio and the content sounds eerily similar to a self-help book.

This morning in my Bible reading, I read the following in Jeremiah 23:21-22:  “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.  I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.  But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.”

And then in verse 29 “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”

What a sacred trust it is to be one who speaks to God’s people on His behalf.  Oh that the Lord would flood our pulpits with messages aflame with fire from heaven that will turn us back to Him.  Lord, give us men who will stand in Your counsel until they have received a real word from God. 

But how shall we respond to such a word?  Are our hearts tender and bendable before Him?  Are we open to the searching work of His Spirit as the Word is preached?  Oh God, let the fire of Your word burn away the dross.  Let the hammer of Your word pound away the hardness of our hearts.

Send us a real word, real repentance and make us real disciples.

A redefined disciple

As this year began, there was a restless stirring in my soul.  I couldn’t put a name to it, or identify a precise reason for it.  There was just this vague knowing that God was about to do something.  So I waited and prayed.  The prayer that seemed to spring from my heart unbidden, with a life of it’s own, was “Lord, what do I lack?”

The days turned into weeks, and yet there was no answer.  Still there was the question, “Lord, what do I lack?”  As truly as the Scriptures say that He will be found by those who seek Him, He did indeed send the answer.  It started with an email I received. (You can read it here)

As I read about the daily life of these believers, I was cut to the heart.  I had evaluated my walk with God by comparing my life with other believers that I knew.   But my error suddenly seemed so clear as I sensed the Lord saying “why have you assumed the American church is the proper standard of measure?”

I began to review my spiritual life and saw how I had bought into American church culture as normal and acceptable to God.  How about this phrase……God understands that you don’t have time to pray.  After all, you have:

 – a demanding job
 – family responsibilities
 – too much drama right now

Not only have I believed this, that God would just accept whatever I felt like giving Him based on how comfortable it was for me, but I had told this to other people.  But is this the way He reveals Himself in the Bible? 

He didn’t tell Abraham, “I understand how important Isaac is to you.  A good father should love his son intensely.”  No.  He said “put him on the altar and kill him.”

No gods before Me.  He still means that.  He still wants those Isaacs on the altar.  Some of them He will give back to us.  But others He will require us to plunge the knife into.  The choice is His.

David said, I will not offer to the Lord that which cost me nothing. (2 Samuel 24:24).  My discipleship has cost me very little.

I don’t want American Christianity.  I want radical, authentic Biblical Christianity.  Discipleship is being redefined in my life.  It is a journey into reality.  I expect that it will be revolutionary.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.  Acts 2:42-47