Mt. 7:22-23 π Jn. 7:17 π 2 Cor. 5:15 π Gal. 5:24 π 2 Ths. 2:9-12 π 1 Pet. 4:1-2 π 1 Jn. 2:16
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” ( 2 Cor. 5:15 - emphasis added; top)
Paul wrote to the Galatians, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” ( Gal. 5:24; top )
And Peter wrote, “He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” ( 1 Pet. 4:1-2 - emphasis added; top)
With these clear instructions (and there are others in the New Testament), how do we justify the normal (average, usual) “Christian’s” exclusion of God from so much of the life they live? Many will protest that they pray and ask for wisdom and guidance but the fruit that is produced clearly demonstrates that God is not the author of their actions and decisions but rather self is the “God” most “Christians” serve and obey.
Consider the following:
- Do we allow God to determine how many children we should have or do we base this decision on some rational calculations based on our current and/or likely near-future income and standing, that is, our current and likely social and financial circumstances of the moment? Or do we just decide the number of children we want because that’s what seems best in our own opinions?
- Do we allow God to determine what kind of work we do? How many hours per day or week we work? Or have we taken a job because we like that kind of work and/or we think we need to bring in a certain amount of income?
- Do we allow God to determine where we should live, in what country, what city, what neighborhood, especially what kind of neighborhood? Or do we look at houses and neighborhoods seeking those “certain things” we believe would make us feel satisfied, content, comfortable or secure?
- Do we allow God to direct how we spend our money? Or have we put ourselves under some form of financial or budgetary law so that we can enjoy some automatic or “hundred-fold blessing” supposedly from God but gained apart from personal, interactive obedience to Him? Do we pay our bills because of some man- or machine-imposed due date or do we pay when He says to? Do we allow Him to direct us into whatever services (electric, water, trash removal, etc.) He desires us to have or do we just blindly consider these luxuries to be necessities we cannot do without just because our neighbors have them?
- How about entertainment? Do we allow God to determine what TV shows we watch or how many hours of TV we watch per day? Or d we watch what we want when we want to so long as it’s not too raunchy or disgusting (however we define those terms)? Do we allow God to tell us whether we should spend our money on movies, concerts, theater, electronic games or gadgets, etc. or whether we should find something more eternally worthwhile to invest in?
- How about politics? Do we get marching orders from God as to what issue to take up as our cause or do we just vote according to party choices? Could God ever tell us just to stay home on voting day because He has already given this land over to evil men? Do we allow God to tell us when we are advocating for remedies and solutions that are truly fleshly and will never even touch the real spiritual problems? Are we just overwhelmed by the whole conflicting realm of politics and resolve to do nothing just because we cannot foresee making any difference anyway?
- What about daily activities? Do we allow God to have any say in what or when we eat or what we wear? Or is that all pre-determined by our scheduled events (work, “church,” entertainment, etc.) and/or by our vanity or fears about our appearance to others?
- What about our ideas about God, our “theology”? Do we wait for Him to reveal truths about Himself to us or do we glean all our information and opinions about God from our favorite spiritual guru (“pastor,” “teacher,” “apostle,” “prophet,” “elder,” “priest,” “pope,” etc.)? Do we ever even dare to ask if God might disagree with our guru?
- What about “church”? Do we ever ask God where or when or what kind of fellowship we should look for? If He did lead us to the place where are at now, do we ever ask God why or how long He wants us there? If He said we should leave our favorite “church” or guru, would we do so? Or do we choose the “church” we like because that’s where we get stroked by our guru or that’s where they cater to some desire of our flesh (a certain kind of “worship,” children’s “ministry,” like-minded or like-social status “fellowship,” etc.)?
- What about those people we call friends or fellow believers? Do we allow God to show us who to be close to and who to interact with or do we have preconceived notions or desires that cause us to receive or reject the people around us as potential friends? Are we under some pseudo-“Christian” law that only believers can be our friends or tat everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ (no matter of what denomination or what fruit comes from their lives) is to be received and embraced as a fellow-brother in Christ?
There are doubtless other questions we could ask about our lives that would reveal that our own self, and not God, is the “God” we truly worship, serve and obey. And it is this very truth – that self is our real “God” – that has opened up most people to the deceptions that keep them from seeing this truth about themselves.
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to do God’s will, he shall know whether a teaching comes from God or from a man’s own authority.” (see Jn. 7:17; top ) The usual, average “Christian” has no ability to discern the source of a teaching precisely because he has never desired and purposed to do the will of God. Many “churches” fail or refuse to preach the necessity of seeking God’s will precisely because it would drive away the vast majority (especially the best-paying customers) of its people.
Paul wrote, “And for this reason (because the lawless one comes in the power of Satan’s deceiving works that has sway over those who did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved) God will send upon them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.” ( 2 Ths. 2:9-12 - emphasis added; top) If our desires and pleasures are not what God intends for our life, He Himself will send upon us strong delusion so that we will willfully enter into our rightful place with those who are perishing.
Those who live for themselves now, gratifying their flesh in any of its various manifestations, are those who will appear before Christ on the last day saying, “Lord, Lord, in Your name, did we not attend ‘church’ and hear stories about You and did we not do wonderful things in Your name?” But He will say, “Leave Me, I never knew you. You lived only for yourself and not for Me. You did only what was right and pleasing in the eyes of your flesh.” ( Mt. 7:22-23 , also see 1 Jn. 2:16; top ) What a sad day that will be even as it will be a glad day for those who have persistently submitted themselves to the rule and reign of Christ in their hearts and lives now. Blessed indeed are those who know that if He is not truly Lord of all then He is not their Lord at all. If He is not King, then He is not Savior either. And if He dod not get to tell you what to do on every level of your existence, He is neither your King, your God or your Savior. You are your own “God” and you will reap your own just rewards.
Let he who has ears hear.
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