Friday, May 13, 2011

Stop watching the Life’s Scoreboard; Play by God’s rules and God’s Plan will take care of itself

(photo by Rosso Robot)
by Buddy Hanson

The problem with most of us is that we’re concentrating on the Life Scoreboard and are discouraged that the non-Christians are winning the cultural war, and imagine that we are running out of time to turn things around. We wring our hands and complain to each other that we need a quick scoring strike to create some momentum and get us back in the game (a random quick fix). However, what we’re forgetting is that on Life’s Scoreboard the clock has no numbers* because the issue is not “how much time is left,” but how consistent we are being with our faithful and obedient service in Christ’s Kingdom.

In addition, the Scoreboard has no numbers because God’s results are never in doubt. (Psalm 2) Since God is in the “results” business and we are in the “obedience” business, there is no need for us to focus on the current “score” in the culture war. In God’s purposeful cause-and-effect universe everyone “reaps what they sow.” (Gal. 6.7) Whenever Christians demonstrate to God that we have no intention of repenting and following His will, He raises up ungodly civil rulers to either awaken us to repent, or failing that, to hold us captive to their tyranny while He moves His light to another country to have them obediently serve Him by carrying out His will. 

The first thing we have to do in our Little Picture view of the life is to establish God’s Word as our guiding principle. If God’s Word doesn’t mean everything, it doesn’t mean anything! Currently, we say that God’s Word is true, but we live as though it’s false. Hence we earn the label non-Christians love to accuse us of being, which is “hypocrite.” One only has to compare Western civilization and Eastern civilization to recognize that ONLY God’s Word works, whereas man’s word ONLY fails.

The second thing to do is to point out God’s numerous promises to bless our obedience according to His eternally perfect timetable. Since He doesn’t change, (Num. 23.19) His promises are exclusively intended for a past or a future generation. There is no expiration date on them, and we should base our lifestyle upon the confidence of knowing that “good consequences” will happen if we live according to the truth we profess we believe.

Keeping Things In Proper Perspective
The Christian lifestyle is a process, not a quick strike (or quick fix), and we make the “kingdoms of the world the kingdoms of the Lord” through our obedience. (Rev. 11.15) There is no need to call biblical scholars together to discover a plan for turning the world “rightside up," (Acts 17.6) not that I wouldn’t like to see such a conference. All that’s needed is to begin applying truths we profess to believe in to our everyday situations and circumstances.

Of course, this means that we must do what we can to disciple fellow Christians to develop the habit of depending upon God, not ourselves. The concept of using the spiritual gifts and abilities He gives us and then trusting-in and relying upon Him to put it altogether in a divine mixture to redeem His creation is hard to swallow for most of us. We’re used to bringing about our intended results from our actions. But we must understand that this is a leftover concept of our former non-Christian way of viewing the world. Since non-Christians don’t believe in a transcendent Creator God, they have no other choice but to see themselves as being in the results business. Once we understand how dramatically different a Christian lifestyle is from a non-Christian lifestyle, we should praise God for removing us from the impossible burden of “saving the world.”

Our first need is to sanctify our daily behavior. This will bring about a supernatural peace of mind and comfort because we don’t have to look on our deteriorating culture and conclude, “What can I do to possibly make a difference?” Unlike our non-Christian neighbors, we can say, “What a comforting thought it is to know that if I give my best efforts at conforming my lifestyle according to God’s revealed ethics, I will be assisting in “crushing Satan’s head!” (Gen 3.15; Rom. 16.20) There is no need to fret and worry about the “how,” or the “when,” of the results, because we know that all our Lord, Savior and King, Jesus Christ expects is for us to diligently do our best, and let Him fill-in the rest.

Some may say, “Buddy, I agree that the American church has been negligent in obeying God’s clear instructions on how to live, but it just seems that it is too difficult for a person to live in strict obedience to God’s Word.” My response to that is to quote the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger, who lived at the same time as Jesus. His advice is that “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” When we remember that Seneca was writing from a non-Christian perspective, this advice should really shame us. Unlike us, Seneca didn’t have God in his corner, guiding and directing his steps with His revealed knowledge. (Prov. 3.6) Yet, he recognized that simply standing on the sidelines of life is no way to live. He also recognized that the longer we hesitate before engaging culture with our beliefs, the more difficult it will appear to be.

May we throw off the chains of disbelief in the all-sufficiency of God’s Word, repent and begin “taking up our cross" to exclusively follow Jesus’ counsel! (Mark 10.21)  

(Scripture quotes may be paraphrases) 

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