Count Them Happy Which Endure
|Problems never cease. To ask to be free of
them is asking for an unnatural fantasy state.
So do not ask for grace to be lifted out of problems, but grace to cope
with them as they present themselves,
which they will. To use figurative language: if life were a boat, and
sin a leak in it, to survive we
have to bail as we sail.
God is not a creator of problems. God is a spreader of enlightening grace. But people usually stumble on problems in their way because of sinful natures, the way so much is spiritually disjointed today, and the way God’s grace has been frustrated. Right now a problem common to us all is that we have to move about in a decadent society and a very corrupt world.
Our society is unbelievably corrupt, self-aggrandizing, immoral, amoral and sadly directed by wrong values. It is gross, vulgar and threatening. For one, it is sick to moral death on getting more and wanting more, world without end. Amen. The citizenry are drunk on things. Things are addictive and very much like substance addiction, which is widely prevalent, which means there is little self-control, reason or balance on the issue of things. Many people are addicted to things, want more things, and live for things.
Look around you. Are not most caught up in a fever for things and a frenzy about things. Some think the busily fevered life is cute. It shows how important they are. Is a too busy life lacking spiritual ordering and even common sense “cute”? I ask you.
Philippians 4:5 is “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” Now this comes from common grace being reinforced by special grace, the Christian scriptures. Even the ancient Greeks through common grace knew and had in a temple, “Nothing to excess.” So I am not just telling you what is Christian but what is more, this is a natural law reinforced by Christian law. I tell you plain: America has carried this too far. Her wallowing in materialism is forbidden by Natural and Christian Law.
But face it: if many of these people paused to think, they probably could not, because their values are wrong. Their priorities are warped and unbalanced. If these people think, they think by the wrong values. How can they think without values? And this country is a values disaster.
If our times were ancient times when primitive thinkers literalized their gods, instead of their temples to Moloch and Baal, we would have our temples to efficiency, money, sensuality, and selfishness. Technology would have a big temple with the handmaids of science in attendance, poised to drop a bomb, perhaps.
In ancient times the prophets could stand at the temple doors and watch the devotees go in. But we are more sophisticated now, and people know not to give their real reasons but hide behind rhetoric, propaganda, mission statements. They talk a good game. Nearly everyone does this. But few go examining the point behind the points many people give for worship of their sacred cows.
If there is one great achievement of this age, it is : HYPOCRISY. Many people have not changed, they have just learned not to change but go underground by hiding under lots of propaganda, false rhetoric, even the Bible interpreted falsely, and the media. Our time of decadence is one to be wary in. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing about and around. (Matthew 7:15) So we must be crafty. (II Corinthians 12:16).
In this situation we should refer to the Book Of James which says: “We count them happy which endure.” (James 5:11) And the way of enduring is Christ. It is not ceaseless self-aggrandizement, smugness and spiritual inattention to serious issues.
If we endure, how do we serve God? “that ye may be... the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)
So if you are going to be lights in a crooked and perverse nation, which we all know it is, having seen that through grace, let your light shine, shine, shine. In doing this diminish that darkness and decadence which is around us. For we are not sustained by man but by grace. Then do not get drunk on things. Use them wisely and with a sense of proportion in a spiritually balanced faith. If you are to be a light, do not live your life in total conformity to a decadent society and corrupt world.
Do not have your faith diluted and ruined by the decadent society you are in. Do not have your faith deformed by corruption in high places in the world. Be deeper than the shallowness of that, because you are deep spiritually, or you would not be an evangelical emphasizing a personal companionship with God and a living relationship with Christ.
Consider if you outside the faith may be living foolishly and in a shallow manner. Pause and consider. Those inside the faith should pray daily and regularly even if the prayerful minutes have to be snatched quickly from the hurly-burly of the world. Live with a sense of the Spiritual Presence of God. Consider others. Deepen those values you have. Try to survive spiritually the pressures of a decadent nation and a corrupt world. To do this, read the Bible daily and pray. Praise the Lord. Accept all in a spirit of grace that you may spread grace. Exercise your will power that it may give you some muscle to accomplish good.
Above all, do not forget to cultivate a spiritual interior life that you may have a purpose, and not be one more parasite leeching on the world. Do not be a blood sucking tick (egged on by advertising) sucking up the resources of the earth for a display of your personal vanity and to no real purpose.
With spiritual values, have a life that includes a spiritual aim. That may not lift you out of this degrading society, but it will help you to transcend it. It will give you a compass in the chaos that you may every now and then take a reading to help you stay spiritual and sane in the decadence and corruption of our society and the world around us. And as you look around and see what we, called of God to be the People of God, are up against, remember the words of James 5:11, “We count them happy which endure.”
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.