Dear Sinner Saved by Grace,
Never in my 40+ years in ministry have I been more excited to wake up each morning than I am these days. To watch the world crumbling around us, and to think how tenaciously God and the Lord Jesus must be fighting to postpone Satan’s one-world rule and help us promote the cause of Truth is absolutely thrilling. How cool is it to know that you are on the side of the Creator Himself, who is working in you and chalking up your rewards for the future? All we need to do is give Him our heart and follow His lead.
Have you ever noticed an inherent tendency to want your own way, like, constantly? Have you ever noticed any internal proclivity toward the hyphenated aspects of your SELF, as in self-centeredness, -aggrandizement, -promotion, -righteousness, or -pity? And then there’s good old, down home SELFishness.
Where does the Word of God first show us those traits in a human being? Gimme an “A,” gimme a “D,”, gimme another “A,”, gimme an “M,” gimme a THANKS FOR NOTHING! The sin nature we each inherited from Adam (“I did it MY way”) is replete with SELF, and that is always at the expense of another person, and thus at the expense of our relationship with him or her.
One of the primary themes of Scripture (which came up repeatedly in One Day With The Creator) is fallen man’s desire to be God rather than submit to the God who created man in His own image. If we are honest, we see that in ourselves again and again. Set within the incredibly enlightening context of verses 18-32, Romans 1:25 talks about how man “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” How’d that work? Not well, because, as everyone on earth knows from the yellow-Post-it-Notes scene in the movie, Bruce Almighty, man makes a very poor God.
After studying civilizations across the whole span of history, noted historian Arnold Toynbee concluded that the paramount religion of mankind is self-worship…of man as god. Tal Brooke agrees, stating that the great lie that man is God is:
“…the foundation stone of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, the Kabala, the Greek Hermetic, Eleusinian and Gnostic beliefs, Neo-Platonism, all the occult creeds from Theosophy and the Masonic orders to the Rosicrucian’s (and) the New Age movement. The Great Lie is…the belief that man is God, that his true identity is the immortal self…that as God, he will never die (and) sin and depravity are…illusions since this inner divinity is at man’s core.” (The Great Lie, Tal Brooke, SCP Journal, Vol. 29:2-29:3, 2005)
Every false faith system, including Classical Darwinism (and, in essence, no-faith systems like atheism and agnosticism), teaches that man can and will save himself. Is that not man making himself God? Everyone who does not believe in the God of the Bible is making up another God, and thus, in essence, making himself God.
At the root of man’s craving to be God is his desperate desire to repudiate the truth of original sin so that he is not accountable for his selfish behavior. That necessitates the obliteration of the transcendent God and His prescribed moral order for man, His crowning creation. In his book, Connecting, Larry Crabb writes:
Sin is any effort to make life work without absolute dependence upon God. It is giving higher priority to my satisfaction than to God’s pleasure. It involves a follow-up commitment to find joy for my soul outside of God, a commitment rooted in the belief that there is something truly good that God does not provide. It boils down to self-dependence, self-preoccupation and self-centeredness, attitudes that look to other people and things for the satisfaction we were designed to enjoy.
Recently, a Christian Research Group stated that when asked to choose one of several descriptions of God, the proportion of adults in the USA who believe that God is “the all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfect Creator of the universe who still rules the world today” currently stands at 67%.
Now wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, who said that is an accurate description of the God of the Bible? Not He, that’s for sure. Not in the sense that His “ruling the world today” means that He is in control, everything that happens is His will, etc., etc. Actually, if He were ruling the world, things would be much better! How do we know? Because we can see in Old Testament prophecy how the Millennial Kingdom will be when Jesus is ruling the world—and it won’t look like this mess.
Look at the above definition of God again and ask yourself if, given man’s inherently rebellious nature, it might work against people wanting to submit themselves to such a God. Could it possibly contribute to man’s buying into the Devil’s Genesis 3 portrayal of God as dominating, restrictive, and not having our best interests at heart? I think so.
First of all, if God is ruling the world, He is doing a very poor job, because the place is a cesspool of evil, suffering, and misery. Second, God must be either causing, or at least allowing, this to go on. So who wants to be under the giant thumb of that God? Sounds like it could be dangerous to one’s health, as in…squished.
But what about working in conjunction with a loving heavenly Father whose creation vividly exhibits His goodness, His magnitude, His lavishness, His resourcefulness, and His love for mankind, for whom He did all we see in that creation? What about enjoying a dynamic, meaningful, and truly reciprocal relationship with that infinitely diversified Dad? That sounds great—and that is exactly why Satan relentlessly tries to distort God’s heart by twisting His revelation of Himself.
Consider, if you will, the present state of humanity. The world’s economy is falling apart, countless qualified people are jobless, their standard of living is deteriorating, crime is everywhere, families are being rent asunder, people’s stress level is off the charts, depression is rampant, folks of all ages are caught up in destructive addictions as they desperately try to escape reality, and in the USA suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 15-24 and the fourth for ages 18-65.
Those who turn to “God” for help are presented with a smorgasbord of made-up Christ-less religions that only amplify their emptiness and hopelessness. And, sadly, too many people who do become Christians are taught doctrines that are neither intellectually nor emotionally satisfying, nor practically applicable, nor easily explainable to others.
So what is the answer? Gimme a “J,” gimme an “E,” gimme an “S-U-S.” Why is Jesus Christ, the other Adam (“I did it THY way”), the only answer? Because he is the only human being who ever totally trusted God, even unto death, which he thereby conquered. As a result, “all the promises of God in him are YES!“And they are clearly set forth in the Word of God. So what should we do? The following verses are a good summation:
James 4:7, 8a, and 10
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you…10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
The Lord Jesus Christ wants intimacy with you so that he can help you excel in his personal curriculum for you. You are a full time minister of the Gospel, with a “you-nique” function in the Body of Christ. The potential he has given each of us is beyond our comprehension, but we can realize more and more of it as we faithfully press in to know the Lord and do his will. What else is there to do with your precious life?
Our forthcoming foundational class, One Day With The Creator, will give you a most effective tool to break through the crust people have put around their hearts and reach them with the tender love of Christ. God is heavily invested in His Word, and I believe He can use our class to turn many people from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God. Let’s do our part so He can do His.
Sense knowledge-wise, the odds are stacked against us, as we are but a miniscule minority on this earth, BUT GOD is with us, and He loves to buck the odds, as evidenced by many biblical records such as Gideon and his 300 comrades who took on something like 150,000 “-ites” (Judges 6-8). Or how about Elijah versus the 850 prophets of Jezebel (1 Kings 18)? Let us gird up the loins of our faith and run with the strength we have in Christ the race that is set before us.