Who Is God in Your Life?
Ask most people if they believe in God… and they’ll tell you “yes”.
Of course, they will qualify their answer with something like, “I believe in something… I don’t know what it is but I believe there is a power greater than myself,” sometimes referring to a “higher power.” Others may not refer to Him as “God,” rather instead Allah, Buddha, or Brahman. Still others see god and the Universe to be the same and find their god in trees, water, rocks, or whatever. Still yet others who consider themselves progressives in our society have elevated humanistic man as their god.
There seems to be no consensus about who or what God is. Throughout the ages, people have developed many perspectives of who God is and conduct their lives accordingly through that lens, or world view. Many today hold to a politically correct relativistic conception of God where everybody is seen as equally right, thus allowing God to be whatever you want it to be.
As of 2000, approximately 53% of the world’s population identifies with one of the three Abrahamic religions (33% Christian, 20% Islam, <1% Judaism), 6% with Buddhism, 13% with Hinduism, 6% with traditional Chinese religion, 7% with various other religions, and less than 15% as non-religious. Most of these religious beliefs involve a god or gods. [National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World p. 49]
I’m not quite sure how to wrap my arms around the idea that God is whatever you want it to be on the one hand and, on the other everybody is right. Seems like nonsense to me. Either God is the eternal being who created the universe and all there is… the whole man, the whole universe, and all of reality and existence, or he is the Creator of none of it. You simply can’t have it both ways.
This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, [Isaiah 44:24]
If God is only the Creator of some divided platonic existence which leads to a tension between the body and the soul, the real world and the spiritual world, if God is only the Creator of some spiritual little experiential “praise the Lord” reality, then he is not much of a God. Indeed, he is not I AM at all.
Is there One True God or are there many gods?
It’s pretty obvious to me there are many gods. They are not all “creator God” nor are they all equal.
The first commandment stipulates “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). That commandment assumes that other gods do exist, and even though the other gods exist, the people who follow the Mosaic Commandments shall not embrace any of those other gods as gods who compete for the loyalty of the people.
So, perhaps instead of asking as I did earlier, “Who is God in your life?”, a more appropriate question would be “Which god are you following?”
It’s pretty clear most people believe there is a god, and are following some god. However, it’s NOT the same God they are all following. Even among the monotheistic religions that say there is but ONE god, there still seems to be different gods at the center of their worship. I suppose you only have to look at how they live their lives to help identify the god they follow.
Even among self-proclaimed Christians, they may claim to believe in a common God, but they don’t follow the same God. As the progressive humanist philosophies have invaded the Church, the relativism within the Church has become as pervasive as it is outside the Church. Following God’s commandments and following Jesus means many different things to different people. It seems as if what people are wanting to do is to paint God, Jesus, and the Scripture into their own self-defined box – or to mold God into their image rather than allowing God to mold them into His image. They worship the created rather than the creator. Is it any surprise there is so much disunity in the Church and so much confusion in the world?
If our Christian lives are allowed to become something spiritual and religious as opposed to something real, daily applicable, understandable, beautiful, verifiable, balanced, sensible, and above all united, whole, if indeed our Christianity is allowed to become this waffling spiritual goo that nineteenth-century platonic Christianity became, then Christianity as truth disappears and instead we only have a system of vague experiential religious platitudes in its place.
(Franky Schaeffer V, Addicted to Mediocrity (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1981), pp. 27-28.)
A Lesson From Jeremiah’s Generation
Christians around the world and particularly in America should learn the lesson of Jeremiah 18. The Israelites had forsaken their trust in one true God and were following other gods. God spoke to Jeremiah and showed him through the damaged vessel of the potter that He would start over with the Israelites after sending them into exile as punishment for their idolatry. America stands at that same place of judgment today, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; <v.9> unless she turn away from her idolatries and turn from their evil.
We need to be alert to the possibility of the consummation of events at any time. That means we are aware of the events unfolding in the world that shape our destiny.
Implied in our alertness, is also readiness. We need to be preparing ourselves for Christ’s return which could happen at any moment. As we see the time of His return edging closer, we should intensify our efforts of fulfilling our calling of preaching the gospel so that others might too be saved.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. [Galatians 6:7]
Enemies of Revival
Apathy, complacency, ignorance, fear, compromise, carnality, and spiritual self-satisfaction are the main enemies of revival. Many churches seem to want the congregation to leave God at church while they live the remaining six days of the week in a hypocritical spiritual vacuum just like every one of their heathen hell-bound neighbors.
Apathy is a state of indifference, or the lack of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and passion.
Far too many Christians have fallen victim to this enemy. To put it simply; it is the mindset of I don’t care! Apathetic Christians don’t believe they have any power to change the status quo, so they just go along with the flow and do nothing at all to change their surroundings. They don’t participate in regular Bible studies or small groups, they do not have mentors or people in their lives to encourage them, and fewer and fewer are giving or serving with their time, talents, or treasures. These apathetic Christians usually are neither involved in the life of their church nor interested in connecting deeper with others around them. In fact, many are not even effectively involved in their own families. Nor are they involved much in the local government; they don’t even get out and vote in national elections.Apathy and indifference are the direct opposites of God’s call for us. The vine becomes withered and there is no desire to impact one’s self with Christ. When there is no effort to impact others, the church will stagnate and eventually die. Our families will become dysfunctional, and our governments will decay to liberalism and discord.
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. [Revelation 3:14-16]
Complacency sets in when you are comfortable in your life.
Perhaps you have reached a point where things seem to be going along well, where you think you’ve done enough and can afford to slack off a little.
Compromise with the world causes us to lose our focus on what is truly important.
It was just this issue of compromise that Christ addressed in His message to the church at Purgamum in Revelation 2. It’s rare today to find churches that preach God’s Law and Word to Christians in a biblical sound way that allows them to practically integrate their faith into their families and the secular aspects of their daily life. When we become like those people and situations which cause disunity, we add to the problem rather than help.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. [Rev. 2:4-5]
In their greed and insecurity and idolatry towards government, churches that have taken advantage of the 501(c )(3) tax exempt status have basically substituted the headship of Christ over their church for the headship of government. Many of these pastors teach their flocks the lie that “government is good”, when in fact, our political history proves the opposite. The Bible, on the other hand, refers to government as “the Beast” in Rev. 19:19.
“Historically, religion always represented a threat to government because it competes for the loyalties of the people. In modern America, however, most religious institutions abandoned their independence long ago, and now serve as cheerleaders for state policies like social services, faith-based welfare, and military aggression in the name of democracy. Few American churches challenge state actions at all, provided their tax-exempt status is maintained. This is why Washington politicians ostensibly celebrate religion– it no longer threatens their supremacy. Government has co-opted religion and family as the primary organizing principle of our society. The federal government is boss, and everybody knows it.” – Dr. Ron Paul
As a result, most churches don’t dare preach doctrine relating to personal sovereignty and Christian liberty, separation of church and state, Christian citizenship, ministry in areas other than salvation; such as teaching the church congregation how to apply God’s laws to secular and political affairs, morality within government, or the biblical role of government in society for fear of being confrontational or political. Apparently, many pastors are more concerned about scaring the sheep away or lowering tithes than they are with truth, justice, or social responsibility.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” [Matthew 5:13-14]
Rather than being salt and light in today’s society, much of the Church has allowed societal norms to reshape the Church into something totally foreign to Scripture. Why is it, for example, that believers and nonbelievers alike are more likely to follow the 10 Planks of Communism than the 10 Commandment system outlined in the Mosaic Law? It has become indeed very difficult to distinguish between believers and non-believers walking the streets of our cities.
I have been confronted on numerous occasions in my own family with the disunity brought on by relativistic interpretations of Scripture when some self-proclaimed believers chose to use the same ungodly paradigm of the world to interpret Scripture. Rather than seeking God’s truth, they chose instead to allow their own desires to re-image God’s Word into something they were more comfortable with. Their pluralistic defense was that we each had our own “truths” about what Scripture says and about living the Christian life.
In Charles Colson’s book, Against the Night, he described “barbarians in the pews.” These are people who basically come to church on Sunday morning to get their strokes to be made to feel good, but live during the week by pagan values. And they don’t even realize it. They think they are doing their spiritual duty by showing up at church on Sunday morning and hearing a sermon that makes them feel good to get through the week. And then the rest of the week they live like everybody else.
In today’s society, a fad that’s in the church as much as it is in the world is to not take the marriage covenant as seriously as we once did. It is hard to imagine that anyone in this country has not been touched by divorce in one way or another. Marriage is a covenant. Not only a covenant between the man and woman but a covenant with God.
Compromise will not work in religion. We cannot put aside the truth of Jesus just because it offends Muslims, atheists or homosexuals. We cannot agree to worship their gods in the spirit of multiculturalism. Nor can we stand idly by while our children are taught that New Age mysticism or TV paganism is to be embraced if they are to be “citizens of the global village.” Sorry, we are to be strangers and aliens of such a place.
Spiritual self-satisfaction is the condition where you may think you are rich and don’t need anything.
To the self satisfied you may think you can get along fine without a close walk with God. You have a good salary, investments are strong and a secure retirement is on the horizon. But if you are spiritually lukewarm your condition is wretched, pitiful, blind, naked and poor.
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. [Revelation 3:17-18]
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Overcoming Life’s Obstacles
The Apostle, Paul, identified for us where the battleground takes place. It takes place in our thought process. And, it is that thought process which the devil uses to fill our minds with false ideas and visions of defeat. Paul says to think on the more positive things:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” [Phil. 4:8-9]
These are the things we need to focus our minds on.
We need both a dynamic concept of mission and also a dynamic concept of life in the power of the Holy Spirit in order to move effectively in God’s will. More and more power is ours as we seek Him at greater and greater depths, increasingly submitting to His promptings, and courageously launching out in obedience to His commands. Our resolution should be (in Hudson Taylor’s words) to “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.”
The message that is needed is one of conviction of sin and the fear of God. Until men and women realize that they have violated God’s laws and that this world is ripening to reap His wrath, they will not see their need for the forgiveness which Christ bought with His blood. That message will be increasingly difficult to deliver in the days ahead, but it is the only one that will prevent “converts” from coming to Christ for the wrong reasons and thereby being set up to follow the Antichrist when he appears.
When all is said and done, and your life has come to a close, where will you spend the rest of your eternity?
We need to be aware of what’s happening!
Throughout church history, there have been those who have (to use Dwight L. Moody’s words) become “so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.” They quit their jobs, sold their property, and sat and waited for Jesus to return. All of them have been embarrassed, of course, because it is unbiblical to set dates for His coming. It is also unbiblical to become careless and lazy just because we believe Jesus is coming soon.
Just as tragic are those self-proclaimed Christians who sit passively on the sidelines as Satan spreads his evil throughout society. They believe there is nothing they can do and instead are satisfied to wait on the Lord to judge the evil. However, the day will come they too will be judged guilty of the crimes they allowed to flourish (See Psalm 50:18).
When you saw a thief, then you consented with him, and have been partaker with adulterers. [Ps. 50:18 AKJV]
“When thou sawest a thief, instead of reproving him and witnessing against him, as those should do that declare God’s statutes, thou consentedst with him, didst approve of his practices, and desire to be a partner with him and to share in the profits of his cursed trade; and thou hast been partaker with adulterers, hast done as they did, and encouraged them to go on in their wicked courses, hast done these things and hast had pleasure in those that do them.” [Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary]
Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. [Romans 1:32]
We need to continually grow in our faith! We need to spend more time in the Word, in prayer, and focusing on Christ. Many of the signs around us are designed to wake us from our slumber. God does not pour out His wrath without first warning us.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. [2Peter 3:9]
God wants us to know He will return. God’s seeming delay in bringing about the consummation of all things is a result not of indifference but of patience in waiting for all who will come to repentance. God is giving us every chance to repent of our sin and return to Him. He is being patient with us because He wants everyone to come to repentance. Either we turn back to God or we will suffer His just punishment.
The delay of Christ’s return is related to the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom to the whole world. God wants everyone to hear the gospel and does not desire anyone to perish eternally (1Tim. 2:4). This does not mean that all will be saved, for if a person rejects God’s grace and salvation, then he or she remains lost.