In my lay counseling I have seen so very many people give up their spouse, children, job, reputation, and absent repentance, their salvation in a never-ending quest of a happiness they will never find, as happiness can never be found in spiritual disobedience. And it most certainly cannot be found at the expense of others.
We live in times that are rife with false teachings. Teachings that say, for example, “If it feels good, do it,” and “You can have it all.” Perhaps the best example of this cultural narcissism is a quote from a woman I attempted to help who had committed numerous adulteries and deserted her Christian husband and two children, one of whom is special needs. Her rationalized justification can be summed up in one sentence she repeated often - “I have a right to be happy.” In her mind, everything and everybody was to be subordinated to her selfish goal.
Society’s wrongly held “me first” thinking has given us an illegitimate birth rate that is soaring, a divorce rate that has eclipsed fifty percent (even among Christians), college kids dying on campus from either being shot or alcohol poisoning, a prison system that has an ever-growing population, and a hip-hop generation that disrespects women, and young women who disrespect themselves. The list of America’s social slide is too long to continue here, but the point is made. For a society that views itself as “advanced” we’re declining at a rate that has eclipsed critical mass.
And through it all, like the Romans shortly before the end of their empire, we must have, and in some cases demand, our “bread and circuses.” We indulge ourselves to excess, as if in doing so we can somehow hide our failures, both personal and cultural. But it won’t work, because our Creator has a different goal for His children, and it’s not self-indulgence. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3 NKJV)
God wants us to turn from the very things we are turning to. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)
The concept of being sober in a drunken world must start with the church. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; “(1 Timothy 3:2)
From there the teaching must be passed to parents. “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (Titus 2:1-5)
And, ultimately, passed from parents to children. “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” (Titus 2:6-8)
Sadly, God’s message has been lost on our lost society. We do what we want, when we want, and with whom we want. After all, we “have a right to be happy.” But in our elusive search for a happiness born of selfishness, we have opened ourselves to a fate best not visited. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Thankfully, as He always does, God gives us a saving refuge. “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Peter 1:13)
Ed Mrkvicka is an award winning Christian author, lay minister, lifelong Bible student, and retired bank president. His religious writings have been awarded Best Christian Book of the Year (2007) (2010), Best Christian Study of the Year (2008), named a National Best Book Awards finalist, and a winner in The Christian Choice Book Awards, as well as being awarded the prestigious Faith Writer's Seal of Approval.
His work to save marriages and help children has earned him a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition "in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community."
His web site is located at: www.EdwardFMrkvickaJr.com
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