Our Faith gives us that same choice. We choose to follow Christ and drink deep from the Living Water. It revives and refreshes us. We are challenged and face issues in our hearts we must confront to grow closer to Jesus. Constantly we are bombarded with issues that challenge our understanding of our Faith in the current day. The values and beliefs we grew up in to believe were sacrosanct are more under attack now than at any time in the last 2000 years.
Post-Christian western society poses a moral dilemma to us. Since the Old Testament was still being written, certain behaviours have been considered inherently sinful. Murder, idolatry, theft, sexual immorality, lying and coveting are all listed in a book written by Moses thousands of years ago and were accepted until the 20th Century. Through the centuries there have been attempts by men to pervert the Gospel for their own ends. Scripture was picked out of context to justify the crusades, slavery, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials and many other atrocities performed by selfish, ignorant and arrogant men.
But through the centuries there have been men who have taken a stand against the morality of the age and guided nations back to Christ. Men like John Wesley and his brother Charles, William Wilberforce, George Whitefield, William Booth, Billy Graham, Martin Luther, Alexander Campbell and hundreds more have stood up to a tide of sin that threatened to obliterate the church in their countries by perverting it to serve the will of man. They faced ridicule, exile and death to hold fast to the Gospel of Jesus. As a result of the actions of these men, the organism that is the Church grew with each Revival.
In 1903, William Booth lamented the fate of the 20th century. ” I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration; politics without God; and Heaven without Hell.” The man who faced angry mobs and changed Western Society into one resembling a moral society had fears for its future.
He was right.
In today’s upside down world we see all manner of sin celebrated as something positive to be embraced. We live in an age where sexual immorality has become the norm. The richest members of the society pass laws keeping the poorest at the level of poverty that is just enough to make them be prepared to put up with it in the West where they have education, and so uneducated that they can’t see they deserve better from their leaders in the developing world. They steal the very bread they should be providing from the people who need it most – and are praised for it.
I’ve witnessed both extremes first-hand.
And both types of society are dying. Starved of the Life that only Christ can bring.
Men strive to become idols to others, and society strives to make them so. We covet positions of power, advertising makes us covet things we don’t need as if our very lives depended on having them. Like the latest toaster. The newest car. The bigger house. We covet all material things.
Television shows around the world are made to show what the rich and famous have. Bigger cars, houses and higher incomes. But the message behind it is always that this is out of reach for the lowly viewer. We are entitled only to watch and idolise those who have and covet their belongings.
Presidents and leaders of more countries than imaginable 100 years ago lie to the public with impunity. Where Nixon was disgraced by Watergate, Clinton was embraced after his affair with Lewinsky. South Africa has moved in only 20 years from the selfless leadership of service offered by Nelson Mandela to the greed and corruption rife under the current regime.
The nations are choking for lack of True Guidance from the One Source.
Where are the Wesleys, Whitefields and Luthers of the 21st Century? Who will water the Church to let it grow and recover to bear fruit in the way it has for so many centuries? The loudest voices at the moment actually seem to embrace the current man-made morality of Post-Christian society.
And we all die a little every day because of it.
We have a choice: Live in Christ, or die in man.
30 years ago I chose to Live in Christ.
I will be a single voice calling in the wilderness of the 21st Century if I have to, but I will not reject my Jesus to fit in. I want to live and grow, even while others around me wither and die.
The saddest part is that people have bought the lie of the enemy so completely they believe their path is God’s. Biblical illiteracy is at it’s highest since the Scriptures were translated into common language. It can only lead to death.
“There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.” [Proverbs 14:12-13 The Message]
Another translation says “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (NKJV)
The way of death seems right to a man.
How can that be?