March 25, 2023

What Reality Are We Looking At?

Living In Reality

Will We Be Distracted?

This present life attempts to present to us countless distractions from reality in an attempt to make us forget who we are and why we are here.  Some of these may be rest, our job, our classes, looking for a mate, material possessions (like your house, car, or belongings) and entertainment.

These things, in and of themselves, may not be wrong, but as believers we cannot let any of these things distract us from the reality of who we are in Christ.

Rest is good…

…but we are called to work for the night is coming when man’s work is done.  Solomon in the book of Proverbs recommends that we look to the ant as one that toils all the time, without delay.  We will have opportunity to rest later, we have work to do now.

Our Jobs are good…

…in that it should allow you the opportunity to reach lost people, provide for your family and bless others, but it’s not an end—it’s a means.  American culture makes us slaves to our jobs as we strive for more money to pay for things that we’ve already bought on credit.

Nowhere in the Scripture is accumulation to oneself praised, but giving to others, to the poor, and to the cause of Christ.  Jesus confronted the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and then he could be Jesus’ disciple.

Academics are good…

Paul was certainly trained academically, but some of the other apostles were just fisherman.  God does not place as high a value on “education” as the American people do.

When the Bible talks about education, it talks about making disciples of others, bringing them up in the faith.  When the Bible talks about training, it talks about being present in another’s life.

What the American society and what the Bible talks about in as much as what is important for a child or adult to know is totally different, even as it relates to men and women! (see Titus 2)  God seems much more concerned about the content of a man’s character than he is in what degree hangs on the wall or rests in the bookshelf.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t learn to read, write and do math, what I am saying is that we should not let the pursuit of education be a distraction from us growing in Christ.

Lest you think me radical, consider that Jesus told those that would follow Him that they should leave someone else to bury their father, not say goodbye to one’s parents, be prepared to be homeless, and sell all that you have to give it to the poor.  Jesus told his followers that compared to the love they had for Him, it should appear that they hated their families.

Finding a wife/husband is good…

It’s hard for a young adult not to be consumed in the pursuit of a mate, yet Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7 that a single person has an ability the married person does not—the ability to be single in focus in serving God.

We have many single today that are doing one of two things, they are pining for a mate or they are living to themselves.  Neither of these things should be where a believer finds themselves.  They should be singular in purpose while praying for guidance about the single or married state.

Houses, Cars, Belongings can be good…

…however, if you get so focused on these things, and the upgrades and seeking out the next big thing, we can be distracted from service or inhibit our ability to reach out and help one another.

Debt is a big deal, not only because it keeps us having to work the jobs that we have to afford our lifestyle but that it prevents us from using the money that God has entrusted us with to help others.  It warps our perspective of our funds because we’ve already spent it, rather than having it to help the needy or poor around us.

Entertainment can be good…

But we need to be aware of what we allow to entertain us.  Entertainment seems innocuous and many use it as escapism, and yet it is very powerful in influencing our opinions of events and righteousness because it presents a false reality to our senses.  Some innocuous looking entertainment can intentionally twist us to making the bad seem good and vice versa.

One of the interesting examples of this is the Disney movie Mulan:

In this movie, a young girl disobeys her father, lies to her comrades, gets involved in a battle she should not be in, and she is told that she is the most worthy female in all the land. Disobedience and lying is praised, and because it’s a “princess movie” and it has some really good music, many will allow themselves to be entertained by this without question.

This is not the only example of this—just compare where television started with today, and then realize that even when it started there is an agenda, and that because we internalize more what we see than otherwise, we are choosing to allow the world to indoctrinate us in its beliefs. And even movies with the Christian label can teach things that are not reality or history under the guise of trying to attract an audience.

The Second Commandment

This takes us back to the second commandment—anything that takes the place of God is an idol.  We can make an idol out of a distraction.  We can make an idol out of anything that you believe that you cannot live without.  Our life needs to be free of these idols in order to perceive reality.

Focus on Things Above

When it comes to thinking about priorities in our lives, do we view our decisions through the lens of how our decisions would impact the cause of Christ, or something else?

A.W. Tozer stated:

“Not only does a Christian believe in the invisible world but he also counts on it. He acts, plans and lives as one who counts on the reality of the invisible. … The invisible actually shapes his plans, determines his habits and comforts, consoles and supports him.”

This world and its defeated ruler want you to believe that this is it, this is reality.  This is what the Atheist and Secular Humanist believe is true, but all too often Christians behave as if it is truth for them as well.  Many things in this world beg for our attention and seem to be pressing, yet they are eternally useless—can you take that big television, car, house, etc. with you?

The most sobering reality in the world today is that people are dying and going to Hell today.  While many believe that this is something we say to scare unbelievers, I challenge you that this is something that should scare believers.  As the ambassadors of God and ministers of reconciliation, the fact that people are entering a Christless eternity should be a sobering wake up call to us.

Are we too busy with this shadow, this vapor, to understand the eternal significance of this ministry of reconciliation that we are called to?

Revival does not come from without, but from within.  Revival comes when God’s people realize that this world is not enough, that their belongings are not enough, that only God is enough, and that desire to please God comes before everything else.

Believer, what have you allowed to come between you and reality?

Scripture from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Image by Vangel_PL used under Standard Restrictions

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