|Volume 24 Number 9 September 2022
The apostle Paul, in stressing the motivational aspect of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the dedication that it creates through unswerving faith, reflected upon the resultant threat from society by simply saying, “…I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31 NKJV). Unfortunately, this was the proper assessment of life for the early Christians; they went everywhere with their lives in their hands.
Today, we are not often called upon to pass through the same kind of fearful persecutions. The tests of Christians at the present moment, though outwardly not so terrible, are still more likely to overcome us than even those of a far more turbulent age. It is not so much the sneer of the world that does the damage, which is of little consequence. The real test comes as a result of the world’s false flattery, soft words, oily speeches and blatant hypocrisy. The danger is in our growing rich and proud, giving ourselves up to the fashions of this present evil world and losing our faith.
If wealth is not our trial, be assured that worldly care is just as mischievous. How many Christians will successfully escape the ravages of the roaring lion, only to be hugged to death by the cuddly bear? In reality, it makes little difference to the devil so long as he destroys our love and confidence in Christ. Is it possible that the church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than as in the rougher days gone by? Most definitely so! We must awaken now lest we fall asleep to our own undoing with our once vehement flame becoming a steadily dying ember.
Many of those who profess to be wheat today are likely to prove tares later – hypocrites with fair masks on their faces but no yearning to live as true-born, blood-bought children of the living God (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43). Let us never think that we can dispense with watchfulness or holy fervor! We need these things more than ever before. Whether we are in the grip of the most severe of persecutions or in the lap of luxurious comforts, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
[Editor’s Note: Good article! Whereas there remain several parts of the world in which it is dangerous to be a Christian (physically), the relative affluence in the western world has proved to be equally dangerous to Christians (spiritually). Cathedrals in Europe and some church buildings in North America are no longer places of worship but have become museums. The lethal side effect of material prosperity is comparable to the illustration of a frog in a pot that is slowly heating without the frog being aware that in a few short minutes he’ll be cooked. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
God’s Word is not a menu. It’s not something from which we can pick and choose. We can’t decide what sounds good to us and what we’d rather ignore. If God said it, He meant it, and if He meant it, we’d better live it – not altering it or customizing it to fit our wishes.
One of the hardest things God commanded has to be forgiveness. It’s needed when we’re hurt or when someone has wronged us. It’s a lot easier to hold the bitterness and keep the grudge, isn’t it?
Today, is there a grudge you’re holding? If so, will you stop treating God’s Word like a pick-and-choose menu? Will you forgive the wrong? “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:4 NKJV).