2012-12-06

Living Rightly in a Deceptive World

In this world filled with deceptive voices, what is so obvious and good may not be right!
The greatest deception is done in the Name of God and come from within us. Let us wise up and spend the effort and time to discern and discover the truth. And then to follow on by walking in the truth. Then we will find the true life  and joy to build up the strength to walk rightly even under crisis and pressure.
It is a deceptive world. 
What seems so right, feels so good, sounds so attractive and chosen by so many, the broad way actually leads to destruction and death! The way of life, with the narrow gate, needs to be searched and discovered. Yet even in passing through the gate, the way is still very squeezed and hard. It is so easy for us to just take the easier side-track and go off the path. Yet in following this narrow path, we find a strength, a joy and a freedom. It is not just a freedom from sins and bondage but a freedom for the good, pure, righteous deeds. It eventually leads to eternal life.

Life is a Journey of Choices
Life is a series of the choices that we made. What we are today is the result of our past choices. What we will be will depend on the choice that we make today and the actions that we take from now on.

Choose Life - Enter through the Narrow Gate
Jesus tell us in Mat 7:13-27 to choose the way of eternal life.
The gate is narrow and we need to find it. It is not the popular choice. It is not automatic nor natural for us to find it. Jesus said in John 10:9 "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." While the gate is narrow, we have the freedom to go in and out and find rest and strength. On the other hand, what looks good on the outside and so popular, the broad gate and way leads to destruction! Hence, deception is the offer from the world and we need to learn to discern the real from the false voices.

Discern the Truth and be not misled
How can we tell the truth from the false? Jesus tells us to look at the fruits - the outcomes, the life styles of the people. Even Confucius also taught us to not just hear but also to look at the behavior of the people before you can trust them. We should not too quick to accept and follow the talk. Let us wait and examine whether their walk follow their talk. Jesus warned in v19 that the tree that bears not good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. He follows with a scary warning ....v21

Even Those who Did Great Things in Jesus' Name Enter not Heaven 
It is not just those who call Jesus Lord will be saved! They must backed up their claims with work that follow God's will. The greatest deception comes from the Church itself in Jesus' name! The deception is great because they are branded with name of Jesus. They did the following 3 things in Jesus' Name:

  1. Prophecy - Teachings, Doctrines, Messages.
  2. Casting out Demons - Display of Spiritual Power.
  3. Might Works even Miracles.
But in verse 23, Jesus said that they are workers of lawlessness or evil. Jesus said that He never knew them at all. The motivation and the power behind them, even though under Jesus' name, are not from Jesus but from the evil ones. These people are actually using Jesus' name to benefit themselves and extending their evil. They have no relationships with Jesus but know how to use the power of His name. They are the enemy within the church. They are the wolves in sheep clothing. They are so hard for us to detect. Yet we cannot go to the other extreme of suspecting everyone of our brother or sister to be them as well. Such extreme suspicion will cause troubles within the church. It is difficult to detect them early. 

Hence, the following advice will help in the appointment of leaders ---- always check references, check past records, check their presence behaviors, their friends, test them, .... and let time do the revealing --- never appoint someone to leadership position without checking and giving time measured in terms of years to try them out. See also The Con Artists and their Scams - How can you tell?

Be Wise - Do as Advised by Jesus
We only truly learn and master a subject when we do them. There is no use just listening to instructions on swimming without going for a swim. Under normal circumstances, we can't tell the strong from the weak. When crisis come, then the true strength can be seen. We build strength not by just attending churches and listening to sermons only. We must put what we hear through discernment of truth and then putting the truth we heard into practice. Truth can only be fully understood and internalized through practices and frequent practices into habits. Many habits formed out our values and beliefs make our character. It is then that the character that show us the real self. Does this real self reveal that we have Christ within? It is through our work and character that God is glorified in and through us. 

A Word of Comfort - Knowing Jesus as God is Enough to Start
Be comfort and be assured that it is the motivation, the mindset, that is the starting point for our work and that is most important. The deceptive work done in Jesus' name mentioned earlier begins without the relationship with Jesus. They are motivated by self and/or influenced by the evil ones. The criminal that was hung with Jesus on the cross did not and could not do much. Yet from the words that he said, the only thing he could do, was his acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as God. He specifically requested Jesus to remember him in His kingdom Luke 23:42. Jesus' answer was immediate, Luk 23:43  And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Knowing Jesus as God is enough to start. But don't there at the start. Continue the journey and walk in this narrow road of righteousness and the will of God that lead to eternal life and shining out for God.

Lim Liat (C) 6 Dec 2012


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