All under control
by John Owens
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How's the world treating you? It's all under control we say, but have you ever wondered whose? As an experiment try a break from the routine, just five minutes alone somewhere. Are you there yet? Guaranteed, those voices do drop in…well-meaning mentors ("If you really wanted help …"), family ("When are you ever going to…"), and others ("Guess what worked for Jim.."). Add to this all the visual garbage, complements of our beloved media. The hard truth is we're being worked from all sides - dishrags with no time to dry. Frayed thoughts and images from a myriad of sources grip and tug with guilt and emotions too strong to resist. And since most of our friends are in the same spiraling vortex, we don't give it much thought. The bills take too much attention.
Five, ten, twenty years pass… till we wake up one morning suddenly bothered by the impression that our lives lack meaning or purpose. So what do we do? Continue on like "the organization man", careful to keep in step, following the time-worn rules of success. There could be a cash award waiting, a framed certificate, and an admirable nod from some silver haired gentlemen. We may go to our graves presuming that we did our best, given the circumstances. No satisfying answers. For now we'll ignore the possibility of that dark door with its disturbing question mark and try to keep our chin up.
Where's the real referee in this game of life? What really matters? Has a game-planner left us any clues? At this point do we even care, or have we shelved the subject in exchange for a pre-hospice injection - anything to occupy our minds - numbing, amusing, time warping aids, maybe even a mantra. As the world wobbles on, have we given up too soon what seems to be a futile search?
A curious revelation comes from a verse in the Bible - "and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." (1 John 5:19) Oh, but that's the Bible, and such thinking should be programmed out of the progressive mind - or so they say. Ever wonder just who "they" are who manage so well to keep us from considering the application of the most unique book in the world, a collection of history, prophecy and letters that bare the divine fingerprint from God to man?
A "wicked one" who sways and plays the masses of humanity - Such a thing, if true, starts to explain a world gone evil with no apparent referee - A world where thoughts are maliciously engineered to drive mankind to dead-end pursuits, dismay and destruction. This flies in the face of "ying-yang" and "karma" revealing a personal adversary with a beef against his Creator, the fallen angel called Satan. Another place in the Bible (Ephesians 2: 2-3) refers to this one as "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (which includes all of us, either past or present). His power and hatred is supernatural and said to be unleashed upon those who have turned away from the God of love. But, hey, that's the Bible, and some aren't ready for that. Some other kind of evidence is needed.
Then consider a people, strangely in the minority, who affirm these revelations and claim to have found the one Way to break free from the devil's dark vortex. About them outwardly there's no show or desire for worldly success or the prideful marks of most achievers - just the opposite, a vulnerable and disarming humility. It's what one would expect from Jesus Christ and "true" Christians. But we are bothered with the "false", those who claim to be Christians but who continually break God's laws - mere professors who lack the fruit and have no real belonging among the changed. Such a mixture within church ranks adds to the challenge of a truth-searcher. Like the tares within the wheat fields, they are there, but so are the genuine and these are worth considering, though regarded by the world as a peculiar people. They are generally characterized as peaceful, compassionate, content in the midst of stressful circumstances, and having a sacrificial sense of purpose. When these true worshippers gather, often few in number, there is scant comparison to most orthodox services - their meek, yet joyful expressions convey a gift worth the greatest price. And their praise communicates the heavenly glory.
Their secret, as the Bible declares, can be opened by anyone who comes as a child with a searching heart. They implore outsiders on Christ's behalf to be reconciled to the one true God, now that the separation of sin (disobedience) has been removed by the cross - yes, God made Jesus to be our sin sacrifice, shedding His own sinless blood in our place that we might be forgiven. The sad news of a crucifixion became incredibly good news with the resurrection - an event historically witnessed by over five-hundred (1 Corinthians 15:6). And now, a Holy God is willing to clothe with the righteousness of His Son all those who are willing to confess their sins and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior (Acts 4:12).
In quick conclusion, a battle for our souls is being fought in the invisible realm. The mystery of the ages has been revealed: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). The question now is, "Do we really want to stay in control (try to be Lord) of our own lives?"
Verses to ponder -
"I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope… seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29: 11-13)
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…" (Matthew 6:33)
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" (John 14:6)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5: 17)
Here is a prayer that is based upon God's word, for those whose hearts yearn for Truth, Life and the Way into an everlasting kingdom of love and righteousness: "Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins on the cross. I repent and surrender my life to you today. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and lead me in the way of eternal life. Amen."
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