This is my last article for Examiner.com. I am thankful for the experience I have gained these past three years as well as for the ability Examiner has allowed me to share my thoughts on the subjects of faith that are important to me. In closing, then, I want to share some final thoughts on three current subjects that should concern believers: the forces governing this world, believers’ spiritual lives, and a spiritual approach to practical our lives.
Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44); greed is idolatry (Col. 3:5); and the total manipulation of a person, or persons, by another is witchcraft. The Spirit will affirm all these things. Unfortunately, these are currently the strongest forces permeating our society from the highest levels to the lowest.
For many, lying has become almost second nature. For many more, the first concern is always money and how to get it—no matter how underhanded or wicked the means. And over the entire nation, a spirit of manipulation that seeks total, self-serving control over people’s lives has propagated.
Believers, as those who belong to the Messiah Jesus, must be the opposing force that curtails and discredits these principalities.
By no means at all should those who call themselves believers be giving into these unclean forces and behaving the same as the ungodly and unbelievers. But there are many calling themselves Christians who are liars, who cheat and deceive for money, and who unrighteously manipulate others, especially other believers.
How can God be glorified if those who are supposed to be His people live unrighteous lives?
Believers must always guard against worldliness. As Paul wrote,
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:25 NIV)
The implication is that believers need to focus on their own spiritual lives and relationships with God as their top priority, in order that they may live righteous lives that glorify Him.
Remember, the world system belongs to Satan, and those who are of the world will behave as those who belong to Satan. They will always be ungodly, and no amount of arguing and debate will make them change their ways.
For that reason, the obsessive preoccupations and stunts centered on Christianity’s “pet issues” serve no purpose other than as distractions. These things don’t glorify God, they only give ammunition to antichrists, who are looking to discredit and slander believers’ faith.
The world system can’t be changed, so it’s a waste of time to try to change it. Even more than that, God hasn’t even called believers to try to do so.
What God does want believers to do is allow Him to establish His righteousness in them that they may have a fruitful, one-on-one relationship with Him and be able to teach their families to know, love, and serve Him in love, truth, righteousness, and peace.
In other words, focus on your own relationships with God and the conduct of those who claim to belong to Him. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”(1 Cor. 5:12-13a NIV)
Don’t just speak the truth, walk in it, because it is only through the visible demonstration of God’s truth in believers’ lives that the lie can be truly silenced and the works of the wicked put to shame.
And since we know that the world system belongs to Satan and that believers belong to God through the Messiah Jesus, there is also no reason why believers should allow the world system to order their lives for them.
For example, you don’t have to rush and get into debt in order to go to college just because you’re 18 and that’s what the world says you should do. And don’t feel like you have to buy a house two cars and a dog just because it’s there to do.
God may lead you to learn a skill or trade instead of earning a degree, or He may want you to wait for a particular time before you go to college. Also there’s absolutely nothing wrong with multiple generations of a family living together, pooling their resources, and helping each other out—especially in today’s economy.
Therefore, believers need to look to God’s guidance and the leading of His Spirit in all things. Seek His wisdom first and foremost. The Lord may very well want you to deviate from the societal “norm” in order to fulfill the plan He has for your life or to keep you protected and provided for.
Of course, the Lord may well lead you to move out on your own or head off to college. The point is that believers should never be afraid to buck the system, because the system is set up by people who do not belong to God.
Believers are to be led by the Holy Spirit and seek God’s plan in everything. Examine every aspect of your lives—be it how you work, how you eat, how you travel, even how you watch TV—and see if the Lord may be trying to show you a better way.
The goal is to minimize the world’s influence and control in our lives as much as possible. Seek independence from man and reliance on God. “Seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.”(1 Thess. 4:11-12 HCSB)
So then, we all, as believers, need to remain faithful and diligent in the times ahead. Exemplify the Kingdom of God. Be led by the Spirit and not by the flesh or by man. Finally, be steadfast in resisting the sinful principalities that dominate this world, knowing that “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”(1 Jn. 4:4b HCSB)
And always give yourselves over to God that He may use you to glorify His name in the earth.