We started this new series with YOU in mind. Our concern is for you and your family – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. The ‘new normal’ we’re told we’re living in is made up of many fearful elements:
- global pandemic
- millions of people out of work
- charges of racism
- fear of civil war
- fear of cancel culture
- attacks on free speech
- attacks on religion
- online learning for students instead of in-person classes
- verbal and physical attacks on Christians and Jews
- rioting in the streets
- potential of becoming a socialist society
- in-person and online shaming and blaming
- climate change ending life on earth
- _________________________ (we could add more to the list, but you get the idea .. things are a little scary right now)
We’re talking about our future and the future of our children and grandchildren, so it’s important that Christians pay close attention.
We asked this question in the first part of our series —
Can Christians prosper in the ‘new normal?’
We can, but ….
First, Put On Your ‘Christian Hat’
What we see and hear from the world are not the same things we see and hear in God’s Word. That was the primary point of the first part of this series. Christians must hear from God rather than from the world. The messages are often in direct opposition to each other.
The world cannot begin to give us the wisdom we receive in God’s Word. Why? The so-called wisdom of this world is foolishness compared to God’s wisdom.
“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”1 Corinthians 3:18-20
The apostles made it clear that Christians should have nothing to do with the philosophy (e.g. ideas, thoughts, beliefs, plans, direction) of this world. Why? Because the thinking of this world is futile (μάταιος – useless, vain, empty, aimless, without purpose).
Why should Christians waste even a minute worrying about something the world says when it directly contradicts what God says? The Apostle Paul warned us about that happening –
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”Colossians 2:8-10
Putting on our Christian Hat is another way of saying we’re going to think God’s thoughts and not the world’s thoughts. Watch a newscast. Read a newspaper. Watch worldly movies or TV shows. That’s when we begin filling our minds, our thoughts, our ideas, our beliefs with the world’s beliefs. It happens every day to a massive number of God’s people living on earth. And, may I add, it is not something that just started recently. The world’s anti-God position and propaganda is as old as Satan’s first lie.
If it wasn’t possible for a Christian to be cheated by the world’s philosophy, the Apostle Paul wouldn’t have warned Christians about it. Don’t be deceived by the world’s philosophy. Don’t conform to the world’s ideas and ways of thinking. Be transformed!
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”Romans 12:1-2
We need to ‘think’ like Jesus thinks. How do we do that?
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”Philippians 2:5-11
“He humbled Himself and became obedient …” That’s certainly not how the world thinks, is it? To ‘think’ like Jesus means we DON’T think the way the world thinks. Why?
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”Romans 8:5-8
We need to ‘set’ our minds on things ‘above’ (God’s thoughts) not on things ‘on the earth’ (worldly thoughts).
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”Colossians 3:1-3
“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”Philippians 3:18-21
“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. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”Titus 2:11-15
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.”Ephesians 5:6-7
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”1 John 2:15-17
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”1 John 4:4-6
Jesus made it clear that what He wants from His followers–
“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”Mark 8:34-38
Jesus’ message to His Church is to OVERCOME the world — not conform to it.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”Revelation 2:7
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”Revelation 2:17
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.”Revelation 2:26
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”Revelation 3:12
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”Revelation 3:21
“And He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:6-8
So, how do we overcome in the world we live now with all its craziness? How do we live our lives in a way that we can accomplish the goals Paul gave us to focus on the right things? Put on your Christian Hat. Get into the Word and stay there. Saturate yourself in God’s Word. Read it, meditate on it, memorize it, hide it in your heart.
Why? Because it is alive and powerful!
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12
Listen to Jesus’ prayer to His Father for His disciples —
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”John 17:14-19
Paul wrote the Philippians that they should think on “whatever things are true.” Jesus prayed that God the Father would “sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
“But,” you say, “I don’t have time to be God’s Word every day.” Really? Is it is that hard to read God’s Word, hear God’s Word, on a daily basis? Be honest. Do you really think that excuse is valid? I think if we are honest with ourselves, we know that excuse won’t float. We make time for so many other things we think of as ‘important’ during each day. Why not some time for Gods Word?
Here are some ideas that might help —
- Read several verses of Scripture every day and think about them throughout the day
- Listen to the Bible in your car or on a phone app at home or during a break at work
- Read several Bible verses to your children at the dinner table or as you put them to bed at night (maybe an entire chapter)
- We schedule time to watch our favorite television programs every day. Also, schedule time to be in God’s Word every day. Don’t let days pass without being in God’s Word.
Don’t give God any excuses now that you wouldn’t give Him face to Face when you see Him in Heaven. God doesn’t want our excuses. He wants our obedience. He wants our minds and hearts. He wants us to live for Him in a world that desperately needs to hear His Truth .. not the nonsense of this world.
God loves us dearly and knows that our minds need daily renewing. If we’re not being transformed by the renewing of our mind, we have a great chance of conforming to this world (Romans 12:2). One of the best ways to renew our minds in the middle of a culture that conforms to the will of Satan is to do what Jesus said – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
We will look at another important insight into how Christians can prosper during the ‘new normal’ as our special series continues. Please join us soon for Part Three.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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