Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Christian's Dilemma

You try every day to live Godly and upright, struggling uphill against your flesh. It's possible with God's strength, granted, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Let's say it like it is: fighting the sin nature sucks. Keeping your desires at bay is about as pleasant as doing the dishes or exercising: you can discipline yourself to make it a habit, but that doesn't mean you'll ever enjoy it.

The Bible says God will bless those who love His commandments in Psalm 112:1...Yet again, let's be frank. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and leaves you feeling anything but blessed. Meanwhile, you can't help but notice Joe Hedonist down the street getting everything he wants out of life and more. This raises some questions that every Christian ends up asking sometime in their walk with God:

Why does the ungodly life sometimes seem more profitable than the righteous one?

The fact of the matter is that the unrighteous life isn't more profitable: it is simply easier. Yes, it is easier to cheat on your taxes than to do them correctly. Yes, it is easier to give in to your fleshly desires than to struggle against them. Yes, it is easier to run a business that rips people off and cuts corners left and right. Ease, however, doesn't equal happiness, just as material success doesn't equal happiness. The life of the wicked, no matter how "successful" it might appear on paper, is empty and unsatisfying. Psalm 21:17 says it best: Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich. On the other hand, the peace and satisfaction a person gets from living in God's plan for them is beyond any success you can achieve living outside of God's will.

Hebrews 11:6 reminds us..."And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." If you stand on God's Word, and believe that he wants to reward you for your diligence, He will never let you down. A gift from God is always better than a gift from the world, because what He gives no one can take away. The path that God has instructed us to walk is hard, and it isn't always fun, but it is ALWAYS more rewarding in the end.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finger-Pointing Frenzy

Subscribing to a belief does not make you any less fallible. You do not have to sign a waiver promising to cease any and all hypocritical activity when you choose to broadcast a certain view or opinion. Each individual, regrettably, has the freedom to remain close-minded. Likewise, associating yourself with a particular outlook does not mean that you agree with every single person who shares that view.

If someone says they're a Muslim, it does not mean they agree with Al-Qaeda or any other radical movement. It does not mean that they support the oppression and objectification of women. It does not mean that they hate Christians. It does not mean that they hate America.

If someone says they're a Christian, it does not mean they hate homosexuals. It does not mean they think they are better than you. It does not mean they agree with what happened during the Crusades. It does not mean they are a Republican. It does not mean they believe in any Young Earth theory.

If someone says they're a Democrat, it does not mean they think that Nancy Pelosi is a saint. It does not mean they want America to become a socialist nation. It does not mean they worship Al Gore. It does not mean they approve of every move Obama has made. It does not even mean they supported Obama in the first place.

If someone says they're a Republican, it does not mean that Rush Limbaugh and FOX News are their only sustenance. It does not mean they worship Ann Coulter. It does not mean they love Glenn Beck. It does not mean they hate the environment. It does not mean that they think Obama is the Anti-Christ. It does not mean they are judgmental.

This all seems like common sense to me, but I suppose it is much easier to judge than to understand. It is easier to slap labels on each person we meet, to see them through a certain lens because of one thing they mentioned, to discredit one of their opinions because you don't agree with another. This is how we learn to walk through life, hateful and arrogant and full of misconceptions. It is easier to write someone off as a "left-wing nut" or "right-wing wacko" or "bible-thumper" than to figure out what makes them tick.

It is easier, but it won't get us anywhere.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Food for thought.

What do you believe, and why do you believe it?
Are you a Christian? Are you an atheist? Are you a Buddhist? Are you unsure? Are you apathetic? Who told you what to believe? Did you choose your beliefs, or did your beliefs choose you because of your circumstances? Are you conforming, or rebelling? Are you thinking for yourself? Did your parents choose your opinions? Did your teachers? Did your friends?

What makes you think you're right?

What makes you wonder if you're wrong?

Are you well-informed? Are you dogmatic? Are you open to change? Are you open to enlightenment?
Are you open to the truth?
Would you know it if you saw it? What if it contradicted your beliefs? Would you tear them down, or grasp at them stubbornly? Are you capable of reinventing yourself?

Are you hungry for knowledge? Are you hungry for answers? Are you too full of yourself to hunger at all?

Have you bothered to study other beliefs? Have you taken the time to study your own? Have you ever questioned your own opinions? Have you seen the other side? Have you listened to the opposition? Have you judged too quickly? Have you spoken harshly out of ignorance?

Can you admit that you might be wrong?