Paul wrote, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of Satan’s schemes to render the people of Christ ineffective, immobile and disobedient to God’s commands should consider how hard it is, in our self-centered, materialistic, superficial culture, to practice obedience to this simple command.
The superficiality of relationships that abounds is caused most by our incessant self-focused busy-ness. Our work week averages between 40 and 60 hours – a scheme concocted by big business leaders almost a century ago to turn the average citizen into a good little consumer who was too busy buying more things to pursue interests that might threaten the power base of big business. Those “churched” “Christians” who have two days free each week most often use one to accomplish their errands and their children’s extra-curricular school activities and the other to “fellowship” at “church.” No one on this schedule has any possibility of obeying God’s command to remember His Sabbath and keep it holy by simply stopping to rest as He did – another built-in deception of the overly-busy scheme – and no one on this schedule has any possibility of developing any deep relations with any other person either. One who does not know or interact with his neighbor or Christian brother cannot possibly obey God’s command to watch out for the other’s interests.
The materialistic aspects of our culture are fueled by extensive repetitive ad campaigns (strangely comparable to Aldous Huxley’s “hypnopedia” in Brave New World) that convince us that we need the products being pressed upon us. The very number of repetitions we are exposed to are a serious factor in whether we will believe we need that particular item or service or not. The person who is absorbed in purchasing and collecting the advertised items, services and goods cannot possibly take time or expend the energy to search out and attend to anyone else’s interests. Equally intrusive into our ability to obey God’s command here is the most often unspoken understanding of the foundational lynch pin of “civilized” society that every financial arrangement we enter into must result in a net profit for me even if that means a net loss for the other guy.
The self-centered aspects of our culture stem from centuries of philosophical assault on the way of following Christ. Machiavelli was the first to encourage men to forsake worrying about their own souls and instead take up the causes and cares of their native homeland. Another philosophical development, the “dignity of man,” was recognized as having a blasphemous ring to it at its inception. Nietzsche’s proclamation that God was dead has been heralded by scholars and atheists alike but the rumors of God’s demise remain a fictitious exaggeration nonetheless. Freud’s ego, id and superego were just a starting point for many who would undergo the detriments of a so-called “liberal” education and come to believe that self is the only master to be served. The Enlightenment was nothing less than an intellectual, political coup that removed power from the “Church” and clergy (who not only were not supposed to have political power in this manner but who were most often corrupt and self-motivated power-mongers themselves) and placed the power in the hands of political leaders more amenable to science and “rational thought.” After more than a century of self-focused “education” in the universities, little is produced that cannot be called bourgeois (self-satisfied, flat-souled, materialistic) in one way or another. Paul’s command to look out also for the interests of others is a foreign language to the intellectual elites of today. It is sheer foolishness to them to even consider another’s real needs as outweighing their own comforts and desires (which they blindly perceive and believe to be their own needs).
Anyone who thinks that this deep level of antichrist philosophy and belief just came into being by chance or coincidence has great faith indeed. Their faith is invested in an impossibility that they are completely unable to recognize as an impossibility. Such as these believe that there is no such person as Satan (the devil) or Christ or God and they ridicule those who cling to such “myths.” For such as these, there is great reason to believe that Satan will have the last laugh on them as they already believe his best lies and stubbornly cling to them, often with no knowledge that they do so and no rational reason for believing these lies.
The ones who stand to lose the most are those who have some knowledge of Christ and His way but they, because they have chosen to believe these or similar lies, remain disobedient to Christ’s commands, including this one to look out for the interests of others. The question arises here as to how much willful disobedience to Christ and God one can routinely practice and still be a heaven-bound recipient of God’s grace and eternal life. Those who are content to leave this question unpondered and unanswered are those who are quite content in their unrighteousness and well on their way to perishing.
Let he who has ears hear.
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