Summary: In the face of a war against evil do we have our lives in order?
I have heard news commentators and writers talk about how recent events have caused them to stop and reflect on life. Many have suggested that they have looked at their priorities to see if they have had them out of order. Many of us probably could admit that our priorities often get out of order. Last week in our study of “Facing Forever” one of the reasons we are not willing to face our own mortality is because of the busyness in our life. We fill our life with activity and noise so that we don’t have to face the fact that someday we might die. But it seems as if things have now changed. People are looking at their lives and priorities. I think we all are.
Monday evening after consistory I thought I would listen to what David Letterman had to say about his beloved New York. I sometimes watch him on Friday evenings and he has a way of making fun of everyone but Monday was different. There was very little humor as he expressed his outrage and tried to understand what had taken place. Dan Rather was his guest and several times was overcome by emotion. Three times the conversation had to stop and Dan had to gather his emotions. I believe that it was a demonstration of how difficult this event has been for people, especially for those who have had to live it for the past week. Those who are struggling to understand all that has taken place.
Many have asked how God could allow such a thing to happen in this nation? But what we have a tendency to forget is that evil is real and it can cause people to do the unthinkable to one another. When Christ is vacant from our life there is no telling how evil humans can become to one another. There is a vacuum in every person’s heart and we have the freewill to fill that vacuum with good or evil. If Christ is not present in our life, there is no stopping of evil. Evil has the power to over take our lives and the way we live. Even very religious people can have evil fill their lives because without Jesus evil has an open door to a person’s heart.
Even in our own country people of Islamic faith have had to live in fear because of people who have bombed their mosques or rammed the place of worship with their cars. There have been people who have become so angry they ready to kill the first person they see who has a middle-eastern accent or who dresses in a non-western style of clothing. There are others who are wondering why the United States Military hasn’t started to blow up countries like an out of control animal. People have not shown patience with our leaders who are trying to make sure that we do not loose the war in the first few days. As our president has said this is not going to be over in a short time and we had better be sure that we are ready to be in this for the long haul. Therefore, as Christians we need to approach this war not will a heart filled with evil but with a heart of Christ.
Evil is a very dangerous thing and to say that what is going on in this world is not a spiritual battle is wrong. We are living in a time when many spiritual things are happening and it becomes important for us to see who is going to win us over? Through this time of testing is Christ being more rooted in our spirit or is evil being given a great place of prominence? We need to examine our hearts and our lives because if there ever was a time to have our lives prepared for eternity it is today. We do not know what might happen to us but we had better know what will happen to us when our earthly life comes to an end.
Many of our religious leaders have called us to repentance. I heard Dr. Schuller say that there needs to be true repentance. Not only asking God to forgive us but a real change in our heart and our actions. If we do not truly change our hearts will then be open to an invasion of that which is evil.
Paul writes in verse 5 of today’s text, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless of course, you fail the test.” I like the way Eugene Peterson translates this text in the Message. “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, no more hearsay that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.”