Saturday, March 31, 2012

Leaving God out of it....(And extreme run-on sentence alert)

I've been playing around online, checking out various sites and blogs that I've visited over the last couple of years, deleting bookmarks to sites that are either no longer in use, or of any use to me. And in checking out one site,   I found a post that speaks about "leaving God out of" it.  Never mind what the blogger's post was about (it wasn't an inconsequential topic, actually a very serious one, worthy of debate, or actually - in my opinion - there wouldn't BE a debate on the issue if more people DIDN"T leave God out of it). I'm speaking to the ever increasing mind set - prejudice, if you will - against those of us who are followers of Christ. Can you imagine a conversation with, let's say, a militant feminist, about a matter close to her heart, and expecting her feminism NOT to play a part in her viewpoint? Wouldn't it be an insult to her (not to mention POLITICALLY INCORRECT!) to ask that she leave her gender "out of it?" Or how about someone who is homosexual? Apparently, some of them are so fearful of a certain fast food chain's Christian values that they are "afraid" to be on a campus where the chain would be serving food. So, I imagine that asking them to leave their sexual preferences (by which, it appears, many of them choose to be defined) "out of it" would be considered offensive and "homophobic." Please note - while I definitely do think that practicing homosexuality is wrong, I am NOT "phobic" about them as a group in general, any more than I am afraid of any of the rest of us sinners. And how about informing a follower of Islam that "Allah" should have no part in their publicly claimed views, their lives, and actions. Yet, when it comes to anything that might offend someone else, it's all right for a believer in God, who has faith in Christ for their eternal salvation - which should, by it's very impact on our lives - affect everything that we are, that we think, that we do - that we can be expected to leave our central beliefs: that there is a Creator God (Elohim, as we've just recently discussed in AWANA!); a loving, caring Adonai, who is master, Lord; a holy God, who WILL judge the world and who calls those who believe to be holy as He is holy - WE are told to just "leave God out of it." To leave out that which should define who we are. I did say SHOULD define who we are. And therein, possibly, lies the problem. Not with the rest of the world, but with us. Are we really living what we profess to believe? Inside our homes, outside in our neighborhoods, at the grocery store, at our places of employment, at school, at entertainment venues, by our words, our tastes, our spending habits, our choices, the way we treat our spouses (the way we talk about them), how we raise our children, what we expect of them, what we expect of ourselves? Do we live in a way that acknowledges who we are? I'm not. Unless I allow Christ to saturate my entire life, I am missing out on so much. And so are those around me. What opportunities of blessings have I  missed, what opportunities to be a part of others being blessed? And, as a group, what opportunities have we as Christians missed to bless our nation? The blame for the present increasing hostility to anything that is honorable, anything that is right, that is pure, that is lovely, that is of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise, the things on which, in Philippians 4 we are called to think upon, to dwell on, the increasing hostility to us as a group - could it be that the blame in large amount needs to fall upon us? Have we, by not thoroughly living in and enjoying our beliefs in our Savior, Jesus Christ, whom so many of us address as "Lord" by word only, missed out on encouraging those around us to be blessed by the same loving, holy God, in experiencing eternal delight in living in His presence. That blessing comes with accountability, an accountability to acknowledge that there are standards by which we should live. Holy standards, unchanging standards (not the newest trends) set by a holy, unchanging God. Are we really living as salt and light? I'm afraid that by looking at the state of the neighborhoods in which we live, in which I live, that we, that I,  may need to get down on my knees and repent, asking Christ to really live in me, to change me into that new creation, before calling upon the rest of those awful sinners to do so.

 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?  Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONGWE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 31-39