Living a Godly Life in an Ungodly World

Christians experience indignation and revulsion, and rightly so, at the evil they see expressed in the culture all around them.  Evil and injustice seem rampant – society sometimes seems to be coming apart at the seams.  The tragedy is some of the terrible injustice and wickedness we have seen in our world has been carried on by religious folk and professing Christians!  This ought not to be!  It breaks the heart of God and arouses His righteous wrath.

It’s interesting that Isaiah 5.8-23 – a passage that contains six prophetic woes – is a prophetic word spoken to people who claimed to be God’s people and prided themselves in their religious heritage!  As I read it this morning during “coffee with the Lord” I felt a “beware” arise in my heart!  History is filled with the sad record of self-righteous people who did not guard their hearts and live in practical obedience to God’s word, instead they slipped in to sin, were guilty of terrible oppression and practiced all kinds of wickedness… And yet, they claimed to be “Christians!”  What a tragedy!  This is not just an Old Testament problem!

Read the passage for yourself from a modern translation like the New Living Translation or The Message (Isaiah 5.8-23).  Here’s summary of the sins that brought the “Woe to you…” from God!

  1. Those guilty of exploitation and greed (vss. 8-9)
  2. Drunkenness and indulgent lifestyles (vss. 11-17)
  3. Those who mock God’s authority (vss. 18-19)
  4. Those who reject biblical norms and instead exalt wickedness (vs. 20)
  5. Self-righteous arrogance and pride (vs. 21)
  6. Perverted justice (vss. 22-23)

Titus 2.1-10 speaks about “sound doctrine” and urges Christians to live the kind of life that “makes the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.”  I want to live that way, don’t you?

God’s Word… Key to Overcoming Temptation!

Here’s a question that came to my mind as I read about our Lord’s temptation in Matthew 4.1-11 this morning during “coffee with the Lord” … “How important is God’s word to me when I am facing temptations and trials?  How important and essential do I consider the truth of Scripture to be in order to successfully weather the difficulty I am facing and overcome?”

There is no question about it… temptation and trials will come our way!  In fact, in this instance the Bible says… “Then Jesus WAS LEAD BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness TO BE TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL!” (4.1)  God allows temptation to come our way … the devil is the one who tempts us, but God permits it.  I can almost hear the Lord whispering now… “LISTEN, CHILD OF GOD, THIS IS A TEST!”  1 Corinthians 10.13 makes it clear… Temptation is a common experience, God limits it to our ability to bear it, and His purpose for us is not failure, but victory!

But back to the question… “How important is God’s word to me when I face temptations and trials?”

In every instance of Jesus Christ’s temptation, He drew of Scripture for the resources to resist and overcome!!  On each occasion, you find Jesus responding to Satan by saying, “IT IS WRITTEN!”  In fact on one occasion Jesus reminded Satan, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Quoting Deuteronomy 8.3, reminding Satan of God’s miraculous provision of “manna” to sustain His people during their test in the wilderness). 

This principle is not some kind of spiritual “rabbit’s foot” that I pull out of my pocket to rub superstitiously and “presto… victory!”  The principles and truth of God’s word are something I must build into my life day by day … they must become part of my “spiritual psyche” if you please!  Then when temptations and trials come and my inner-self reaches out for resources to deal with them… God’s word is there to help, sustain, and guide me!! 

Hey, that’s one of the reasons I have “coffee with the Lord” every day!

What a Way to Start the New Year!

REPENT! REPENTANCE!!

Don’t know why it is, but for most people those words have a negative connotation! That’s tragic, because the core meaning of the words is not negative at all … in fact, at the beginning of this new year, it is positive! In fact, the words “resolution” or “new beginning” would be terms that are close cousins.

In my Bible reading today (Matthew 3:1-12) John the Baptist’s message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Now “the kingdom of heaven” is certainly not a bad thing! In fact it is the sphere of God’s reign over those who belong to Him… it is characterized by righteousness, peace, as well as God’s exhibited power, blessing, and wholeness. Where the Living God reigns things are good and right – not marred by evil and sin! To live and thrive in that domain, however, things just have to change!

That’s why John’s challenge was… “REPENT”! … PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE LORD!”

One commentator (the NIV Study Bible) put it this way in the notes for Matthew 3.2… “Repentance is not merely a change of mind, but a radical change in one’s life as a whole that especially involves forsaking sin and turning or returning to God.” Now that’s not negative – that’s not a “downer” – that’s really positive!! It prepares a person for living in the sphere where God reigns, leads, and blesses!

Just take it from me… I want to live in that sphere – that domain!! With God’s help, I’m going to seek to allow the Holy Spirit to identify anything in my life that hinders me from enjoying the benefits of that sphere of power and blessing this year and CHANGE!! In other words… I’m going to REPENT! I believe It’ll be good!!

%d bloggers like this: