Romans 6:19 (NIV)
Do you ever wonder if life is harder now than it was in our parents generation? I constantly struggle with the question of whether I am raising my children correctly, or if I am being the husband that God would have me to be. I would say that a fair amount of families have questions like this.
The real question I have struggled with through the years is wondering if as a follower of Christ, do we have it harder now in todays society than 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, etc...
When I look at scripture that is God breathed, I am faced with the reality that sin and obstacles have always been there. Since the fall of Adam, sin has been prevalent, and a man's heart desires to fulfill the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The difference might be in the way that the deceiver tries to tempt us.
Instead of hanging out at the city gates gossipping to the passerby's, maybe we spend our evenings on Facebook and Twitter. Instead of utilizing the services of a temple prostitute, maybe we seclude ourselves in darkness and look at pornography on the internet. Instead of denying that we know Christ in the dark ages in fear of losing our lives, maybe we just simply don't give a defense of our faith when asked around the water cooler. Whatever the situation might be, do you think that the challenges are any less today then in the past?
Friends, I wish we still had front porches, Sunday picnics, Black and White TV's, and no iPod's. I long for simpler times with less distractions. Or were there??? Maybe the distractions 50-100 years ago were just different. I used to have Depression survivors come into my office and share there stories about not having anything. However, could that not be a distraction as well. Do you think the human heart stops longing for the things of this world if they are not in its grasp?
This brings me to the passage above from Romans. When living in sin and not surrendered to God, we are a slave to impurity and wickedness. We long for instant gratification in any way that will fill our selfish purpose in life. However, when surrendered over to righteousness, we no longer are a slave to what once was, but to the Holiness of God, which looks nothing like what the world has to offer.
My friends, we can't serve two masters. As a follower of The Way, I can not be in love with the idols of this world. Idolatry is putting something up on a pedestal that inhibits or takes the place of communication with God. This could come in many forms, such as Sports, Work, Facebook, Pornography, Pride, Guns, Cars, Toys, Hobbies, etc...
So you ask, how then do I become a slave of Righteousness, which leads to Holiness. You can't unless you have been Regenerated by the All Consuming Power of Jesus Christ. Only Eziekiel 36:26 says that He will remove our heart of stone (in love with the idols of this world), and give us a heart of Flesh (Total Abandonment to the things of this world, and striving for Righteousness). To be Righteous is to be in "Right Standing" with God.
As I was laying in bed this morning, I was wondering if I was too in love with the world. Am I still watching the wrong kinds of movies, and listening to the wrong kinds of music? Am I waiting to see the latest gossip on the news in the evenings? Am I spending more time reading Fiction novels than I am the Words of God? Would I rather tell somebody about my Faith in Christ, then to live it out at home?
These are all real questions that I think we all need to ask. Just as I cleaned my basement last week, maybe, just maybe, the cob webs in my heart need to be cleaned out as well.