Our lives are always changing. What we need to make sure that we keep constant is our faith. It is to easy when we are troubled by change to change our convictions. If we look at some of the issues that used to be important to us we see that we have 'modernized' our views. Some of the problems that I have seen with some of the preaching I have heard (or read) is that they are preaching what they think (or want) the Bible to say. Many times they may well have a good point but they still need to back it up with scripture. Our beliefs and convictions need to be the same way. We need not only to have our own convictions, not those of the preacher, your best friend, your mate or your parents. Then we need to make sure that those convictions can be found in the scriptures.
Television is a issue that has been taught against for a long time. Many people taught that those people who owned a television were sinning. Owning a television is not a sin that can be proven by the Bible. However most of the programs that are on television violate all (or most) of the Ten Commandments not to mention the rest of the Bible. The same point can made about video players/recorders, computers, LP/8-track/cassette/compact disk/radio/stereo equipment and video games. By themselves they are fine. Used correctly they can be very good devices. However even most of the 'world' agrees that we need to regulate the internet for pornography. The 'world' agrees that there need to be ratings and thus restrictions on who can legally watch certain videos and movies. Would you want radio banned? I would hope not! Radio and TV, and all other areas mentioned above, can and do help Christians. The problem comes in when we forget our convictions. Self regulation of these areas is very hard and often less than successful. We would not want to go near a bar if we were a recovering alcoholic, or go near cigarettes if a reformed smoker, etc. Yet we say that we can self regulate all these items. Let us look at the solutions.
First, we need to get our convictions. We need to study God's Word every day (2 Timothy 2:15). If we don't then we are opening ourselves up to polluted convictions. We will be like the seed that fell upon the dry ground. It was unable to take root and thus blew away when the winds blew (trials come). We are not perfect. The spirit is willing but the flesh is indeed weak.
Second, we need to form a network of Christians that we can go to so that we can get and give support when it is needed. Recently a similar network saved the life of a Christian who was really depressed. Through this network of Christians they found new hope. They realized that others really cared and needed them to be there. This person had never realized the part that they played in the bigger picture. We cannot be an island unto ourselves without shriveling up and dying, emotionally and spiritually.
Third, we need to assemble together. In sales we are taught that we need to go to seminars to learn, and rallies to be with those who are successful. How would this work for Christians? What would we call a 'seminar'? Would it be regular worship services? Is that not where we would learn? And of course it would mean that we would need to go to the bigger seminars/rallies. The special functions that are planned in your area. Some of these would include seasonal/holiday rallies, special preaching/song services and camp. One of the reasons that these special events are set up is so that the 'more learned' teachers can bring us a bigger picture of what God wants us to do.
Finally we have to pray without ceasing (1 Timothy 5:17). We need to be praying that God will forgive us of what we have done and that He will protect us from ourselves and the Devil. We, of course, need to remember others in our prayers. We are, after all, a family.
So today check your convictions against what God's Word says. Make sure that you have convictions that you want to build your life on. Then put them in your heart with concrete. Make sure, however, that if someone points out that God's Word says something different, that you are willing to study it out. Be proud of your convictions but don't be too proud.
IS GOD ALIVE IN OUR HEARTS?
This probably sounds like a foolish question. We are Christians and thus why ask Christians whether God lives in their heart. If God lives in your heart what should we see?
First of all, we would see true love coming out of us. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a) We would also love our brother, our neighbor and our enemy. (Matthew 5:22,44; 22:34-40)
Secondly, we would look like Jesus (NOT physically). We would follow the commandments of God (John 14:15) We would protect the truth of the Bible. (Revelations 22:18-19)
Thirdly, we would make sure that every person we met would know about Jesus and the love He has for us. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47) Recently a friend got involved in network marketing. They are showing that business three or more times a day to people. They are going straight out for that business. We need to have this same attitude toward evangelism. We are being slaughtered by the JWs. They out evangelize most Christians dramatically. What is it going to take for us to get the message out the way they do. If we want Christianity to return to the solid message that allowed our founding fathers to write the Constitution, then we need to speak up and get off the 'couch'. We give God 10% (or more) of our increase BUT what would happen if we gave God 10% (or more) of our time (16.8 hours per week) for evangelism. Many other 'religions' require their members to put forth many more hours than that!
We need to remember that we can find out a lot about what the first century Church did by reading Acts 2:37-47. We are reminded that we need to continue steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread (The Lord's Supper), and in prayer. And they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and the breaking of bread from house to house (fellowship meals), did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. Praising God and having favor with all the people.
We need to get a life. A real Life. One that is fully guided by Jesus Christ as He lives inside of us.