There was a moment when one of the first two humans was fooled into believing that something from the earth (fruit forbidden by God) was “good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise”. She was fooled into believing that God and what He provided was not enough. So, “she took of its fruit and ate.” (Genesis 3:6)
She took something in from outside herself and wasted what was already DEEP inside her (the Holy Spirit of God.)
Soon after that she convinced the other very first human to do the same. From that point on humanity has been in decline, slipping ever further from Father God.
Jesus came and died and rose and a tiny percentage of the people received Him as Lord. To this day, at any given time, only a very small percentage of the population truly belongs to Him.
Since then, though, it has been profitable (for their short time on the earth) for many to pretend to be believers. They have used gatherings of the Lord’s Church to do business. They have claimed to be Christians to get money, votes, and power.
Eventually, they will show their true selves.
“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18)
In the end, the deception will no longer serve them and they will pay the bill.
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19)
The devil has made great headway in the world, always seeking to rule in the hearts of foolish and godless people. It is no longer fashionable for people to pretend to be Christians.
Some spend their energy maintaining godly facades so as to fool those who still do value the things of God. Mostly, though, they hold parades for things God hates. They wave flags. They openly try to recruit children into perverse lifestyles. They champion the slaughter of babies and the aged and the infirm and first responders and say that their murder is a good thing. They proclaim lies to be the truth and the truth to be a lie.
The devil’s fallback position after the resurrection of Jesus has been to constantly infiltrate the population with his deceptive and destructive ideas. The further the world has drifted from esteeming God’s Word, the “standard of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13) the easier it has been for him to make fools out of people who don’t follow Jesus.
Those of us who love Jesus and try to live in ways that honor Him are under constant scrutiny, attack and derision. It has also become fashionable to bash us. We are fortunate to have a powerful covering in the Lord.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.” (Psalm 61:1-4)
Knowing God and His ways DOES have a downside, though.
Watching the world choose spiritual death and seeing it glory in its own decline takes a toll on us at times. Watching as people feed on one another, sacrifice themselves and others for earthly things, and, all the while, delude themselves into thinking that the death they experience is really life – it saddens us.
We find ourselves grieving over the state of the world and, sometimes, that can be overwhelming.
What can we do about that?
Today, as I was meditating on how sad the world can make me at times I came across a scripture passage in 1 Samuel. It was like the Lord said to me, “Practice this”.
It seemed I should share it with others.
The scene in the scripture below is that the people of Israel have God as their king but they want what the first humans wanted and what most of today’s world wants: something inferior…something of the earth instead of God.
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’” (1 Samuel 8:4-6a)
The word “displeased” means to “cause to be torn up”.
Samuel was terribly grieved for the people of Israel – like we are about the world.
What could he do? What did the Lord tell me to “practice”?
“So Samuel prayed to the LORD.” (1 Samuel 8:6b)
If you were to read on you will see that God told Samuel to tell the people things because that was his role in their lives. For us, we often have no overt role like that in the lives of those for whom we grieve.
It seems to me that seeing and praying for them IS our role in their lives.
So, I have resolved to pray as I watch people choose things God hates. I will pray to Him about a world that is declining. I will pray for lost people.
I will pray.
There is a lot wrong in the world and its way too big for any one of us to do anything about it. We must discern the limits of our own realm and fully populate God’s intentions for that.
Praying is what the amazing prophet Samuel did.
Praying is something we can do.
Let’s resolve to place our focus on the Lord whenever we find ourselves being captivated by the carnage and foolishness of the world.