Are We Fooling Ourselves?
Are we fooling ourselves? Anytime this author posts something, rest assured he includes himself in it. Often the things this author struggles with in life are the subject of the articles. Worldliness is certainly one thing that we all struggle with to some degree.
Scripture is filled with reality checks. We often see words like "remember", "know this", "don't you know?", "what shall we say?", "consider", "have you forgotten?" and "I urge you". We even see Jesus prompting a self examination by His chosen. My favorite reality check is when Christ asks those who have been following Him faithfully night and day, day in and day out, "Are you still so dull?" (Matt 15:16) I don't mean to put words into Jesus' mouth, but He's basically asking His closest friends, "are you still being purposefully ignorant?" Often times there is some instruction, followed by "therefore", which means it's time to move ahead with what we know we ought to do. Maybe that's what some of us need to do today, move ahead with what we know we ought to do!
Today as we ask the question "are we fooling ourselves", let us also ask, "are we still being purposefully ignorant?" Do we think if we refuse to see our life for what it really is, that God can't see it either? None of us are innocent of sin and there is no intent to judge or point fingers in my words here, but rather for all of us to do a genuine honest reality check! If we know we are sinning and doing nothing to change it, do we think somehow that we are OK in that?
I ask for this reason. If we are living like the world around us, and hoping God doesn't notice, the answer we must give to our question is 'yes', and that ought to scare us and hopefully motivate us to change. God has called His children out of the world. "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world." (John 17:14) "They are not of the world, even as I am not of it." (John 17:16) We have been called to be different than the world we live in. We no longer beat the same drum that they do. We have been called to stop doing what they do, stop acting like they act, stop talking like they talk. This calling is from God, it's not something we conjured up to try and make ourselves look better.
Our mission is no longer to pursue sinful worldly pleasures. We are not to have sinful lusts and selfish desires, or idolatrous motives in our hearts. We are not to be immoral in our thinking or actions, but rather to make God the affection of our hearts. Those things the world does that are sinful, are to be absent in our lives to the best of our ability. No, we won't get it perfect, but with Christ's Spirit living in us, we should certainly win most of the time.
Certainly not everything done by worldly people is sinful, let's be realistic, but where sin is involved, we are called to separate ourselves from it because "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them..." (Eph 4:18) Those are God's inspired words, and it's the reason why He wants us to love them as much as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31) and teach them about salvation (Matt 28:20) to rescue them from their lack of knowledge about Him. He willingly gave His Son as a human sacrifice in order to accomplish mankind's salvation. (John 3:16)
Christian brother or sister, today, look around. Are we different? Do we look, act and believe like the unsaved world around us? If we do, remember these words, "don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4)
Today, if we have to honestly answer our question with a "yes, I'm fooling myself", James goes on to tell us what we should do if we want God's helping hand. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (James 4:7-10)