Saturday, December 19, 2009

Father and Son

I've been increasingly grieved over the last decade at the rising number of people who talk about God, but really seem to have nothing to do with Him. Their lives show no fruit that would reflect the Spirit of God, but their words seem full of things that appear to be connected with Him.
Then I see people who are searching for God pulled in by their smooth speech, because it contains the word God. It references the One they are looking for, so they listen.
And the word "God" becomes twisted into a universal term for anything anyone wants it to mean.

And, I know that it really isn't a "rising number." It's always been this way. But, as I mature (Yes, I think I'm maturing. Believe it or not.) I'm simply becoming more aware of it.

This whole "Holiday" thing our nation is turning to... this whole doing away with Christmas... this whole "liberation" from traditional ideas (That Gap ad drives me nuts. Great choreography and colors. Distraction that slips a horrible message right through into our homes and hearts.)... this whole thing of talking about God, but never mentioning Jesus Christ. It just saddens me. Because I see good people, people who should know the difference, should know the Truth, getting swept away in the "political correctness" of the moment.

Many high profile leaders of our country are willing to profess God, ask for His leading, acknowledge His hand in things when they go the way they want them to go... but they will not confess Christ. For some reason, talking about God goes over much smoother than talking about Jesus.
And it makes me grieve.

But, here's what I found...

This morning I was reading in I John. (The Message! Woo-hoo!) Chapter 4 has some interesting things to say, and I'm so glad my eyes are continually opened to new truths as I read God's word.

"Not everyone who talks about God comes from God... Here's how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ -- the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person -- comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God... These people belong to the Christ-denying world. They talk the world's language and the world eats it up."


I know some of you are squirming a bit, saying, "But, we're not supposed to judge! This sounds like we're judging."

Here's how Chapter 4 starts:
"My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you."

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to seek wisdom. We are called to discern. And here we're being given tools to do exactly that.

In these days, our world is going to increasingly promote the universalist idea of "God." A god that can be anything you want it to be. Because your god can be different from my god, and we will all do what we think is right for us and no one will be wrong in their beliefs or actions. Because you do whatever feels right, you do whatever you wannika. (Stupid Gap ad.) We need to be wise to what we are hearing. We, as Christ followers, need to discern the Truth from what people are saying is truth.

I think it's great how John talks about loving people and not listening to those who are deceived in the same book. In our watered down, "politically correct" society, we've somehow grown to equate loving people with agreeing with them and accepting their behavior and beliefs as okay. But, I can love you dearly while not condoning what you are doing. In fact, there are some of you that I do! I love you so much, but I do not go along with your destructive behavior or faulty thinking and say it's fine and healthy. And you know that, because we've talked about it.

We are called to walk with wisdom and discernment and not compromise the Truth that is within us, but speak it boldly in love.

"But we come from God and belong to God. Anyone who knows God understands us and listens. The person who has nothing to do with God will, of course, not listen to us."

I would encourage you not only to profess God this Christmas season, and the rest of the year. Profess Jesus Christ, His son, in whom our salvation was made complete. And there will be those who will not listen... but there will be those that will. And that is the whole point of our life, to shine His light so others can see... can truly see.

I John 3:21: "No one who denies the Son has any part with the Father, but affirming the Son is an embrace of the Father as well."

Merry Christmas,
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Jolene said...

Some great thoughts here :)

Keeping with the theme of your post in John- "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world shall be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged, he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God."

So, very clearly, there is a calling for us to understand Jesus, that he is *the* Christ, and without Him there is no salvation for humanity...

I think as far as pop culture goes, we've latched onto the term "God" because it's very nearly universal for those who practice a faith, and seems inclusive. And hey, how many times have you heard someone say, "well, I believe in a God, but..." :)

At the same time, there is no doubt that we are called to share our faith, not just a whitewashed, muted, commercialized version of it, but a faith will all its nuance and vibrancy.

Unfortunately, this embracing publicly of the nuance, detail, truth- can sometimes isolate us from those we love. In loving an everloving God in all ways we are supposed to, we sometimes get resentment or hostility from those who mean so very much to us. It is a painful dichotomy, and I suppose a natural part of the human condition.

It sorta begs the question of personal ministry- what is my ministry, how do I bring people to God the Father without inadvertently pushing them away? How do I combine works and faith in a useful way?

Anyway, I was relieved for a reference you made in your blog post...I bumped into the mother of one of our mutual friends from youth last week. Oh! She told me updates. I smiled politely as my heart broke in my chest. But we must, must love them, no matter what choices they make. As a Catholic, I am reminded of the Fatima prayer: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy." Especially those, I think, who keep getting it wrong. They need our prayers and love the most.

And it is because of something you alluded to in your post...our society's need to have what we want, as we want, with a little spiritual meaning applied to it as possible....I think this is what "trips up" those we care for.

Anyway, I am rambling. Sorry :) This has been sort of a "critical thinking" Advent season and I tend to blah blah blah.

A Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Vonny said...

AWESOME Angela! Thank you!