Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Crooked Path

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One of my guilty indulgences is watching American or Canadian Idol. I enjoy listening to the kids sing and love watching them grow through the experience. Many of the people that try out have some type of religious background, which is not surprising since churches and music are virtually intertwined.

 As I watched the other night, one of the judges told a contestant that he probably wouldn’t make it through the next week, to which the young man replied that he knew his God; that God and him, they were “homies.” His statement, although full of faith, seemed to imply that because he is a Christian God will put him through to the next week. A couple of nights later the boy went home, albeit with a good attitude. It seems that doing good and believing in God does not always guarantee that life will be smooth. 

I’ve never been a fan of our “instant” Christianity. It promotes a salvation that omits the need for the repentance of the heart. It is a watered down version that turns out people that spout the lingo, but have no depth of heart invested. God wants passionate people transformed into the likeness of Christ, who will live out His example of Christianity.  Without a correct understanding of this, you may breed a church full of people who believe that they are somehow better than others.  It’s called Pharisaism, something which completely turns God off according to the NT.  Wickedness isn’t just stealing, killing, etc., but it includes things such as unsavory attitudes, unwillingness to forgive, misplaced arrogance, unwarranted anger and more.

One of our goals should be to live in the world and do what’s right regardless of the wrong that surrounds us. We are to be effective in this world, not affected by it. Don’t be easily offended and remember that we are human and in need of grace and mercy, as much as the next guy. Always give people the benefit of the doubt, even though there is no just man on this earth who does good and does not sin. (vs. 20)

The epic verse in this chapter is “He who fears God shall come forth from them all.” To fear God is to revere Him, not to be scared of Him, as some would have you believe.  It means to acknowledge His presence in your life and to live a life that He requests. Did you notice I didn’t say a life that He demands? You know He could, but instead He has given us free-will. We will always have a choice, but we will also live with the consequences of the choices that we make.

The trouble of this world is not with God, but with man. We want to do it our way. Then one day, in a quiet time of our lives, we realize that we are lonely. This loneliness is so penetrating that even in a room full of people we recognize that void of loneliness. This is because true, lasting fulfillment can never be found anywhere --except where God says it is found – in a relationship with Him!  That relationship can only be found through the deep searching of our hearts which comes to terms with what kind of persons we honestly are.  Only then can we approach God with the right attitude.

God is not mocked—He knows us better than we know ourselves, and when we approach Him with a penitent heart, we are enveloped with His love and acceptance. It is then that we realize He has been watching and waiting for us as if we were the most important thing on His mind. With wide eyes and a mouth wide open, we suddenly and amazingly grasp that having this relationship is His utmost desire and one that has cost Him dearly! He willingly paid a price for the possibility of this relationship with us, with you!

Even so, life isn’t always going to be smooth, in fact it’ll be full of bumps and sharp corners. But we are guaranteed never to have to travel it alone. Plus we are assured that all that happens in our lives, He will turn to good.  This is His promise to us! 

Based on Ecclesiastes 7:15-29