by Patricia L. Dickson 10/29/15
1 Peter 2:12: Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [[e]when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock].
In the past 50 years, we have experienced an explosion in technology. In fact, in just over a century we have gone from the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell to the worldwide web (internet). Today we are able to connect and communicate with someone a world away in a matter of seconds. These inventions have enabled people to communicate with family, friends and business associates at any time with little or no cost.
It is God that has endowed men with superior intellect (men are more intelligent than animals) that has enabled individuals to create and invent the technology that we have today. However, because of man’s superior intellect, it opens the door for arrogance and pride to take hold of the human heart. Once the heart is filled with arrogance and pride, one is easily deceived into believing that he or she does not need God (or that there is no God). In fact, many highly intelligent people (especially scientists) rely on their own intelligence and shun religion as something for the weak and ignorant.
So, how do Christians convince a dying sinful corrupt world comprised of some individuals with superior intellect that first, there is a God and, secondly, everyone needs Him?
We start by pointing out the truth of the current condition of humankind. To begin with, although we have all of these technological inventions readily available, our families are still broken. It is reported that between 40-50% of first marriages end in divorce and upward to 60% of second marriages. There has been a 400% increase in antidepressant use in America over the last two decades (antidepressant use does not vary by income status). According to the BBC, nearly 50 million people in England are taking antidepressant drugs. Around 28% of American adults drink at levels that put them at risk for alcohol dependence and alcohol-related problems. Alcoholism is not restricted to any specific socioeconomic group or class. Family members commit approximately 13.6% of murders against other members of their family.
If ever there was a time that the world needed to witness the supernatural power of God, it is the present. The world should be able to examine our lives and see a stark difference in our conduct compared to the way they live their lives. This is certainly not the time for Christians to compromise our behavior to fit in with the world. I ran across an article in Charisma Magazine titled Christians Drinking Beer: Freedom or Folly? The author talked about a specific incident where a female recovering from alcohol addiction attended a supposedly Christian party and witnessed members of the church drinking beer. This individual was turned off by what she witnessed. The author seemed to imply that the lady was looking for an excuse not to follow God:
One time a friend who was visiting a church I used to attend in Florida went to a party on a boat. She was appalled that the people who went to church were drinking beer. She was a recovering alcoholic who struggled in this area and was so turned off that she didn’t come back.
This article isn’t about whether Christians should or should not drink beer. I spent hours trying to explain to my friend that Christians had different standards when it came to drinking alcohol. She didn’t care. She had an excuse to not follow God.
Their freedom turned into their folly.
The article’s main topic is whether a Christian’s freedom should cause a spiritually weaker believer or a nonbeliever to stumble based on (1 Cor. 8:9, NLT). “But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble”. Instead of questioning whether or not a Christian drinking alcohol is freedom or folly, a better question is why a Christian would drink alcohol to begin with? I know some people will say that I am being legalistic by implying that Christians should abstain from alcohol. However; my issue is how else will the world distinguish that we are different from them if we engage in the same behavior as them? Besides, as I noted above, alcohol dependence is on the rise. When does social drinking cross the line to actual dependence? If Christians need a drink every once in a while, how are we any different than the unbeliever? Is Christ not enough?
The carnal things of the world will never satisfy man. God created man so that we would have a void that only He can fill or satisfy. Worldly pleasures will only satisfy for the moment. After a short while, worldly pleasures will no longer satisfy. In fact, they will eventually destroy us. Rev Franklin Graham made the following comments about the recent tragic events that almost destroyed former NBA athlete Lamar Odom:
“Listen up, young men. I’m a father and a grandfather, and I want to give you some advice. Former NBA star Lamar Odom was looking for something at a brothel in Nevada, something to ease the pain and void deep inside his heart. Instead, it has devastated his life. The truth is-the only One that can heal the pain in a human heart is Jesus Christ. Drugs can’t do it, sex can’t do it, money can’t do it, nothing or no one else can do it. I want you to know that God made you and He loves you,” he continued. “He wants to give you life, peace, and hope-and the only way is through trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s Word warns, “Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her (a prostitute’s) ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng” (Proverbs 7:24-26).”
It is time for Christians to stand up and boldly declare (with our lives and mouths) that Jesus is the answer to all that ails humankind. The world is in need of a powerful living God.
Patricia Dickson blogs at Patricia’s Corner.
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