In Jeremiah we read: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). We like to think of this as referring to those without God. But it would be fair to say also that for those of us trying to follow God’s way: “The heart is still occasionally deceitful, and sometimes still not in harmony with God’s laws.” We must, with God’s help, get to know our own hearts. (We need to have our hearts replaced with His.)
So, we are not without God and we are in the process of having our hearts changed… but are we there yet?
We know from Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
We have realized this through God’s intervention in our lives. But have we stopped sinning? Once again, we are in the process, but not there yet.
There is a very strong reminder in Ezekiel of the importance of what we do and what we think. “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die … But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered…“ (Ezekiel 18:21-24).
The world around us continues its spiraling descent away from God — wickedness, evil and unrighteousness abound. They go on “marrying and giving in marriage”, as if everything were alright. (Matthew 24:38)
And we live in the world!
We must never forget that our lives are made up of choices. We choose every day whether or not we wish to continue to follow God in His way, the way which He has shown us. (And make no mistake, choosing not to make a decision is in itself also a decision!)
Christ said specifically that He did not pray that we would be taken out of the world.
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).
We might ask ourselves why God is doing it this way. Why can’t we be spared the pains of life?
God has ordained that we must experience what the world experiences — death, sickness, pain, heartache. And there are reasons for that.
• It helps us to yearn for a better world. Seeing the misery of this present age can only help us to long all the more for God’s Kingdom.
• It gives us an understanding of the world in which we live. When we suffer the same as those in the world around us, we learn to genuinely appreciate what they are going through – just like Christ did.
• If all were simply handed to us, we would not learn. Abundance, prosperity and an “easy ride” never worked for ancient Israel and it won’t work for us either. That is not to say that God does not give us many blessings and does not want us to enjoy life. He does indeed. But, at the same time, He knows that being handed everything on a silver platter is not at all helpful for us.
So, what do we do?
We put one foot in front of the other and go forward in God’s way of life. Every day remembering the tremendous sacrifice He and His Son made for us. Every day striving, with His help, to make right decisions which will keep us close to Him, keep us on the path, and enable us to be the example to others that He wants us to be.
Dallas Pentecost Regional Weekend
A combined regional weekend is planned over the Pentecost weekend of May 19, 20 in Dallas TX. Combined services will be held on the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Pentecost in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, DFW Airport North, Irving TX. Group room reservations are available at the hotel. Visitors are welcome. For further information contact Dale Ott at firstname.lastname@example.org.