There is a youthful naivety among most Americans in spite of the angry, bitter world in which we live today, in spite of our sophistication. We tend strongly to believe in the best of people – to believe that all people are inherently good and decent. While a sympathize with this notion, sadly, it is false.
We may behave “acceptably,” but our motives, in the secret place of our heart, are not lofty and noble, they are selfish. Seldom, if ever, do we do anything “good” without selfish motivation. We are all in the same boat, every human since Adam (whether literal or figurative.) There were three offenses in the Garden of Eden and those same three offenses rule our individual nature daily, unless we DO something about it.
16 “For all that is in the world —
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life —
is not of the Father but is of the world. 17
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it;
but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
1 John 2: 16-17
This is the reason Christ came to rescue us. We were unable to rescue ourselves, in spite of our best efforts. It is also why we are not saved by our works, our behavior, but rather we are saved by faith in the only One whose motives remained pure throughout his life on earth – Jesus Christ. Sure, we can do good things, even say good things, but it’s not enough. Deep inside each of us, God planted a free will. He could have made us puppets to obey His every word, but He didn’t. He gave us the CHOICE! Sadly for us, we, through Adam (whether Adam is literal or figurative,) chose our own way rather than God’s way and it cost us big time!
“Disobedience always pays a price;
Obedience brings blessing.”
When we, as individuals, chose Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we accept His help AND His sinless nature into our lives. It’s kind of like a new muscle that has to be exercised to grow strong, but it is there, nonetheless. In our effort to walk in God’s ways, we often become targets for the “wolves” around us, those who would take advantage of our devotion to self-improvement.
On a larger scale, our American culture was built by bible-believing people from various nations around the globe. Prior to WW1, our culture clearly evidenced its Christian influence. Neighbors readily helped neighbors, promises were largely kept, and virtue was an unspoken goal as part of the American way. This was not the case in other parts of the world where Christianity had a lesser influence.
The world in which we live today, demonstrates the results of human nature’s selfish bent. The power grab is obvious between Nations, between groups of men, between ideologies. The same lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life continue to grow and rage all around us. Fear cripples millions of people these days – fear of the future, fear of the TRUTH, fear of pain (emotional or physical) … Hatred has multiplied in America over the last few years because it seems unchecked in our leaders, so it must be OK, right?
Yet, those who understand the love of God – the UNCONDITIONAL love of God – find a growing empowerment to stand. God doesn’t ask for our birth certificate, our national or political credentials, our union affiliation, our sexual orientation or gender ….. or any of the other things that seem important. God only asks for our heart, and in exchange He actually gives us a NEW one equipped to cherish Him AND the creation (and creatures – even people) He made.
“Go your way;
behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.”
Our world is spinning out of control. Politicians wrestle for power by making unsustainable promises to the people, or by listening to their selected advisers. The hatred and violence we see today did not start with the election of Obama, nor is it his fault. He is merely a puppet. Whether it’s spiritual devils or human devils pulling the strings, really matters not. Islam is sweeping across the face of the earth because of its hatred and condoned violence. It is causing unlikely alliances to achieve political gain. The Russians, the Chinese, the Muslim peoples all seem focused on America’s destruction, yet our own leadership seems to be in agreement. How can this be? It is no longer clear who our “enemies” are and who our “friends” are. Still evil grows stronger, less subtle while America focuses on saving the planet? on … rising gasoline prices? Very SELF-absorbed, don’t you think? The media helps this notion by making a media mountain out of one accidentally killed boy (broadcasting a false & doctored story) while ignoring the thousands slaughtered daily in the Sudan and Nigeria, the women tortured and abused in the name of Islam, the Christians martyred in remote, unsophisticated places around the world. We go about our daily business in ignorance and apathy.
“Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil walks about
like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
We are exhorted to be alert, to be wise as serpents, to be watchful. One of the first things a soldier learns is the value of knowing the enemy. A soldier cannot fight an enemy he does not see or understand. Neither can we. Sticking our heads in the sand will not make the evil disappear, nor will it disarm it. Life, as we have known it in the USA is rapidly changing. For the better or the worse? So what are our options?