“The Jews tried to keep Christ contained within their law, while the Greeks sought to turn Him into a philosophy; the Romans made of Him an empire; the Europeans reduced Him to a culture, and we Americans have made a business of Him.” – Unknown.
To the early church Jesus Christ was the Lord God. They looked upon Him with wonder and awe. They worshipped Him with great love and adoration. They served Him with tears and treasures. They died for Him humbly and honourably. But times have changed, things have changed and in today’s Christian realm seldom we find such people! Now, we have post-modern churchgoers, who do not take the Lord so seriously. This generation has learnt to view life and everything with it in a “take it easy” manner. So they look upon the Lord just as they look upon their buddy! For many He is just a ‘bell hop’ to attend to their whims and fancies.
To others He is not more than a ‘silent observer’ of the earth sitting in some corner of heaven! We have lowered Him to our standard instead of raising ourselves to see who He truly is. We never took the pain to know Him as He really is. The apostle Paul cried out in Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection.” Count Zinzendorf said, “I have one passion, it is He, only He!” Isaiah was stunned when he saw the Lord in His glory, Daniel fell on his face in the presence of the Lord, and John was prostrate like a dead man before Him. They have had a true picture of the Lord. But we have not. How true are the words of Calvin Miller who said, “Our problem is this: we usually discover Him within some denominational or Christian ghetto. We meet Him in a province and, having caught some little view, we paint Him in smaller strokes. The Lion of Judah is reduced to something kittenish because our understanding cannot, at first, write larger definitions.“
On the mount of transfiguration the disciples saw none except Jesus Mathew 17:8 proving that there is none greater than Him. The epistle of Hebrews declares so powerfully that Jesus is superior to all. John the Baptist the greatest man born to a woman said, “He must increase; I must decrease” John 3:30. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:5 “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” It is crystal clear from the above that all these men of God had such a high regard for the Lord and a deep reverence for Him.
But why is it not so with so many of our contemporary Christians? What’s the difference? We read the same Bible, and we profess to be led by the same Holy Spirit, claiming to be the members of the body of Christ! Thomas Carlyle shows us the problem very crisply when he wrote, “If Jesus Christ were to come today people would not even crucify Him. They would ask Him to dinner, and hear what He has to say, and make fun of it.” Isn’t it true? Our problem is that we are ignorant of His greatness, we are adamant about our littleness, we do not have the fear of God and we are wrongly focussed.
We think great about ourselves and do not think much of Jesus! We have taken Him for granted. Ok, He saved us but till we reach heaven it’s all about our life, our pride, our ego, our status, our greed, our need, our prestige, our honour is all that matters even at the cost of Him! Of course in heaven we will crown Him Lord of Lords and King of Kings. There we will honour Him and sing of His glory through out eternity! Isn’t it? Oh, perish the thought. If not now then never. It’s high time that we open our eyes and behold the Lord in His glory and fall at His feet to lift Him high in and through our lives. Paul wrote, “We do not preach ourselves…” but many of us not only preach ourselves at every given opportunity but also always try to project ourselves. We are so “self filled” that it’s not difficult to lose sight of our great God and Saviour! Shame on us for such carnality.
It’s not about us but all about Jesus! A church had a signboard with the words “Jesus only” written on it. During a storm the letters ‘Jes’ were wiped off and the signboard was left with “us only!” That depicts our post-modern ‘Christ less’ Christians! Jesus or us? is the question every heart needs to answer. Think about yourself now. If you are caught as a trespasser in this issue then do not think for a moment, go on your knees right now and repent before the Lord as sincerely as you can. Strip off all the self-glory and exalt the only true Lord God who is worthy of all praise and honour. Esteem Him high all your life and exalt Him all the time.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 (NKJV). “United we stand – divided we fall!” is an old adage which can never be ignored. The Bible beautifully describes unity among brothers in Psalm 133. There is beauty, bounty and blessing in the unity of brothers. We see this in the Bible, but rarely we see this in real life. These days there are many problems among the elders in churches causing disunity and division. “…….I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you…..” (1 Cor 11:18). The name of God is disgraced and His work suffers. Let us then carefully and humbly consider the importance of unity among the elders, without which the work of God cannot progress.
Many a time the lack of unity is because of a lack of clear understanding of the Scriptures. Sometimes it could be a result of immaturity, lack of character, or a lack of fear of God. Only when elders seek to glorify God and work for the good of the Body of Christ, they will put all their differences and personal grudges aside and will be united in His name. As the elders shoulder greater responsibility, it calls for greater accountability! In the light of this, here are some reasons why we need to be united: ~ 1) Unity for the sake of the Lord ~
God proclaims unity as the best attribute of life (Psalm 133:1). Lord Jesus prayed for that unity among us (John 17). The Holy Spirit promotes this unity in us (Ephesians 4:3). It is His desire to see His children united, it is His design to keep His servants united. Sheep, soldiers, children and branches are some of the pictures of God’s people in the Bible.
One thing keeps all these on the same wave length; it is togetherness or in other words unity! How can we ever miss this point? We can never please God or serve Him if we do not walk in unity with the other elders in the church. “………then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Philippians 2:2 emphasis mine ). If the unity of God’s people makes the apostle Paul happy, how much more the unity of the elders in the church will make the Lord happy! 2) Unity for the sake of Love ~
“Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Yes, even in the ministry we will face people who make mistakes. All elders may not be on the same spiritual level. But then we should not become ‘judgmental’ immediately; first we need to offer them a helping hand and try to restore them. Love leads us to do this.
Love doesn’t divide but it differentiates between good and bad, right and wrong, and real and fake. Love can only stay with that which is good, right and real; all else will fail and fall away. Only those who puff up with vainglory and deceitful ambition will try to cut connections and walk away with out giving a second chance. “Honey attracts but vinegar distracts!” said someone, this shows us clearly what is expected of us as elders in the church. Usually three kinds of problems crop among elders. They are Doctrinal, Functional and Personal.
a) Doctrinal – We must all be bound by the core doctrines of the Bible. There can’t be any personal preferences, whims and fancies. Nothing of man’s imagination or innovation can be tolerated or allowed in the Church of God. We stand by the doctrine, with the doctrine and for the doctrine. There’s no doubt about it. If any man deviates from the true Biblical doctrine, then we warn him; but if he doesn’t change then we are no more with him.
b) Functional – People function differently depending on their culture, background or personality. Don’t expect every one to function the same way. As long as they do the job with Christ-like humility and integrity, they must be allowed to continue in their own way. We are not robots or machines to work similarly. God has blessed us with a great variety of gifts and abilities. Each one differs from the other in his fashioning and calling (Romans 12:4). Hence, all cannot function similarly. There is dress code, conduct code but no functional code as such in the ministry. c) Personal – Personal problems must not interfere with our ministerial work at any cost. The devil has done much damage in and through this area. Ego, pride, arrogance, selfishness, ‘holier than thou’ attitude, bossism, bias, greed etc will keep us from being united with the other elder or elders. When our ‘ideas’ or ‘opinions’ are rejected we should not feel as if ‘we’ are rejected, that might not be the case at all. Some are aggressive and some submissive in their approach. Personal problems must be dealt with on personal level and ministry problems on ministry level. Even when there is a problem we must use the “relational” approach but not the “confrontational” approach, which makes matters worse. Love relates but jealousy hates!!
3) Unity for the sake of Labour
The work which God has entrusted to us is much more than us! To work and labour for the Lord and for His people, to accomplish His will, we must be united. All must have the same vision, which the Lord has given to the church and must fulfil it. “Differing visions cause divisions in the Church!” We must avoid it at all costs. No personal agendas in the Lord’s work. Trying to promote one’s own self with manipulative tactics is an abomination in His sight.
But when we put our own glory, our goals, and our greed to death, we can have the mind of Christ which will help us to be united and will make us a force to reckon with! Publilius Syrus, a 1st century B.C. Roman author said, “Where there is unity there is always victory” -victory over the powers of darkness, victory over the conflicts of men, and victory in the work of God. “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity” this quote is usually attributed to Augustine. Keep the truth said in mind and continue to work (best team work can be seen in Nehemiah 3-6 chapters in the Bible!
4) Unity for the sake of Leadership ~
Our role as a leader depends on how others lend support to us and how much they submit to us. A leader cannot do it all alone. He needs the help, support and co-operation of others in the team. Ministry is not a “one-man show.” Just as a cricket team has 11 members playing the game, the elders must all play together to give the desired leadership to the Body of Christ (Romans 12:3-6, 1 Corinthians 12:4-26). Leaders must learn to ‘connect’ well to discharge their duties.
Unity is the best “glue” available in the world to stick people together. We must ’empower’ people but not ‘overpower’ them. Elders must be ‘bridge-builders’ and not ‘bridge-burners!’ If there is no rapport between elders then they can’t deliver their best and cannot be effective in the Lord’s work. Selfless and sensitive elders will put others benefit ahead of theirs and bury all differences and problems. This creates a platform for the elders to perform well in all their responsibilities. Now is the time godly elders must stand together and be united against all odds. May the Holy Spirit God enable us to do so.
“Miracles minister to the body but Oracles minister to the soul!”
Wise men always focus on things that give them much benefit but men who lack insight only focus on things that give them immediate pleasure rather than immense pleasure. Jesus while condemning the words of Peter in Mathew 16:23 said, ” . . . you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (NIV) Our blessed Lord accurately describes the problem of many in the church today! Their mind is filled with things of men, with things temporal, with things that are of not much value! This generation is known for its craze for the supernatural. People are always looking for something extra-ordinary to happen in the spiritual realm.
When Jesus went to Jericho, Zacchaeus went up the tree expecting to see Jesus perform some miracle! Herod was interested in seeing the miracles of Jesus without paying much attention to the message of the Lord!! God is a miracle working God. Absolutely no doubt about it. Creation is his miracle, redemption is the greatest miracle and scores of other miracles recorded in the Bible were done in the lives of his people! Miracles are needed sometimes but not all the time. They supply our needs, they sustain us, and they strengthen us.
But is that all there that is offered by the Lord to us? Or is there something else which is of utmost importance and which must be sought first? Of course there is much that God has put on the platter for his children who are seeking for real stuff. Miracles are related to the physical realm and cannot be of much help in the spiritual realm. Whereas the oracles of God surpass the physical and address the spiritual need. They are meant for the real you! Miracles take care your outer shell – the body, but oracles will minister to your inner self – the soul. Understanding the distinction is vital. We are trying to put them in their proper places. This is clearly taught by the Lord himself in Mathew 6:33 – “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Miracles are always top rated among Christians. Their longing for them is a sign of their carnality. These stunted Christians are willing to forego the true blessings of God by neglecting his oracles. “Miracles are the swaddling clothes of infant churches” wrote Thomas Fuller. How true? Alas, how few mind such truth! All over the world miracle ‘mania’ is slowly taking over the church. Surprisingly, much that sells in the name of miracles is nothing but ‘chaff!’ There are more ‘created’ miracles by some miracle-men than miracles performed by God. Many have made it into a multi-million dollar business and keep on wooing the ‘cravers’ into their net so to make a huge net profit! We must learn to discern what is what to become mature in our Christian life otherwise we will remain as children without healthy growth. If we do not chose properly then we would lose much in the bargain.
“Oh, that people would remember that it was not the wind, or the fire, or the earthquake, which showed Elijah the presence of God, but “the still small voice” said the man of God J.C. Ryle. Oracles (the word of God) were given with a specific purpose :
For salvation – “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” 1 Corinthians 1:18.
For sanctification – “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” Mathew 4:4.
For service – “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” 1 Timothy 3:16-17. Real blessing is unleashed through the oracles. Miracles make us rejoice, Oracles make us righteous, miracles makes us feel good, oracles make us good, miracles excite us for a season, oracles make us enlightened for eternity, miracles please our senses, oracles please our spirit, miracles are limited for time and space, oracles are unlimited, miracles pamper us on earth, oracles prepare us for heaven!
When will we awaken ourselves to the wisdom of heaven? Or will we perish with that which is sold by the earth and does not stand the test of fire? Putting ourselves in the shoes of the early church disciples, we can learn lot of lessons. Lessons related to life, to spiritual maturity, to true riches and spiritual edification. They strived for the prosperity of the soul instead of running after things that can only pamper the senses and that too for a short time!
Christendom is undergoing lots of changes today! But many of these changes are neither good nor blessed. One such change can be seen in the realm of Christian “ministry.” Preachers or so-called “International Speakers” are popping up in a very short time and becoming ‘great’ in the sight of churchmen. Whether they are called by God or not, whether they have the anointing or not, whether they carry a burden for the perishing or not, whether they are godly or not is not the question any more!! Only thing that matters in the ministry “market” is whether they have some ‘weight’ or not. “Money makes many things” is an old saying, which is, applicable here too. Today if some one wants to become an international preacher all that he or she needs to do is spend money in a huge way and conduct a mega-crusade with high publicity – then it’s done!
“Three things make a preacher – reading, prayer and temptation” wrote John Trapp. Quite contrary to what Puritan John Trapp said preachers at the moment are made by money, charisma, position, or connections in high places!! If some one comes up and announces his venture in to the ministry just like politics, immediately the so-called church leaders gang up and build the platform for such a person. Sad to say these leaders have never bothered to check the credentials of such a person nor do they have the heart to see whether the person is worth the ‘honour’, which he is seeking from God’s children.
It is absolute betrayal on part of these so called leaders to allow anyone who comes with a “package” in to the fold and who tries to “woo” the flock for his own agenda. They are only interested in what’s in it for “them!” The highflying preachers need a platform to perform and gather the praise of the people. In the book of Acts we find something interesting, “. . . you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching . . . ” (Acts 5:28) was the statement made about the apostles but now men are saying to these preachers, “you have filled the city with your posters!” The difference is the apostles preached Christ and exalted Him but these self-glory seeking preachers preach themselves and exalt themselves! They will do anything to get what they want. Manipulation is the norm of the day. Woe to the gullible and carnal Christians.
It is never done that way with God. He chooses a person and then uses that person. Take a close look at the life of Prophet Jeremiah and his calling, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Here we notice that even before Jeremiah was born God did 3 things: God created him, called him and commissioned him. God appointed Jeremiah as a ‘prophet to the nations’ (International Speaker!!) and announced it. We find sovereign grace and sovereign guidance upon the life of God ordained preachers. Because they undergo God’s training, they are bent by God and then sent by God!
Ponder about these powerful and profound lines written by J. Oswald Sanders – When God wants to drill a man And thrill a man And skill a man; When God wants to mould a man To play the noblest part; When He yearns with all His heart To create so great and bold a man That all the world shall be amazed – Watch His methods, watch His ways! How He ruthlessly perfects Whom He royally elects! How He hammers him and hurts him, And with mighty blows converts him Into trial shapes of clay which Only God understands, While his tortured heart is crying And he lifts beseeching hands! How He bends but never breaks When his good He undertakes; How He uses whom He chooses And with every purpose fuses him, By every act induces him To try His splendour out – God knows what He’s about!
It leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind that the ways of God are so high and holy. Instead of doing ministry with God given vision and mission if we allow anything shallow or sinful we will be held responsible by God. “…consider the criminality of our 20th century Christianity that is not earnestly evangelizing sinners for the Saviour, iniquities that indict us with blood guiltiness!” cried out Fred Barlow. Let’s take a stand against all such things, which are not in line with God’s word or will. Let’s not only pray for a purging of the ministry but also preach against it.
Let’s do everything to keep God’s work sacred and sober and honour those servants of God who truly and sincerely serve Him. Consider the words of John Bunyan “A man, who had his eyes up to heaven, the best of books was in his hand, the law of truth was upon his lips, and he stood as if he pleaded with men.” From the beginning it is God who forms and fashions His servants and not otherwise. Those that come with a bang, will some day go with a bang. Self made or money made preachers will not stand for long so do not be deluded by them anymore.
“Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society’s own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.” –A. W. Tozer (1897-1963).
Fashions and trends keep changing in the sensual world. Not surprisingly, the same is on the rise even in the spiritual world! ‘Diverse’ doctrines are taught from the pulpits around the world. ‘Fancy’ theology is becoming more and more popular. Mega churches are making mega ‘moves’ in the arena of our “Chollywood.” Self-styled prophets and apostles are battling for the ‘best in the rest’ awards! The whims and fancies of our spiritual ‘elite’ are skyrocketing! Rather than being “God-centred” now many in the spiritual ‘business’ are trying hard to be “Man-centred” as much as possible! Yes, they say, we mean to have a down to earth, realistic, performance based faith for our people!! Many pastors and pulpiteers are becoming more seeker sensitive than Saviour sensitive in their ministry approach.
They design their divinity according to the “felt needs” of the people, they tailor their services according to the “moods” of the attendees, and they make up their atmosphere according to the “desires” of their consumers! Sermons are sweet and short – always pointing to the carnal side of humanity. “It is a poor sermon that gives no offence; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher” said God’s evangelist George Whitfield. They set up lights and smoke for a Hollywood ‘feel’ in side the sanctuary.
Hollywood never felt the need to change the set up of its theatres like our sanctuaries but some of our church leaders have changed their churches into I-max theatres! Choreo, drama, skits, mime, solo, instrumental music etc have taken over the serene and sober spiritual atmosphere. These things in themselves are not wrong; they can be used for God’s glory and to put across the truth to the contemporary folks. But when we depend on them heavily instead of Scriptures and the Spirit then it violates God’s laws.
Let’s make one thing straight. God’s work should be done according to God’s will. We are not the bosses to do whatever we like in the church of God. “It is not enough to do God’s work; it must be done in His way and for His credit” wrote the esteemed pastor of Moody Bible Church Erwin Lutzer. Years ago, prior to modernisation of Evangelism and the technological invasion in the ministry to sinners, God’s man Billy Sunday rightly said, “Let’s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ.” I think many of us need to hear it right, then we will get on to the right track to be moved by the Spirit of God.
“The only reason some of us are not exiled or thrown into prison is simply because we do not preach as fervently and as sternly as did Paul, John, Peter and others. This modern “Santa Claus” religion that is sweeping country today is not the religion Jesus taught and John practiced” cried out Oliver B. Greene. Is it Santa Claus religion or “Satan’s Class” religion? Think of it. “Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement” said Charles H. Spurgeon. That’s why he is called the prince of preachers and widely read even today! He had the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God. So let’s heed to the wise counsel of an age old and fruitful evangelist who did his job very well and went to be with his Lord to receive the reward. After hearing from the horse’s mouth I hope at least some will understand.
It is reported in the news in 2007 that Bill Hybels the seeker sensitive movement guru has openly confessed the failure of his movement! He said, “We have made a mistake.” At least he had the courage to say it. Yes, at the end of the day the seeker sensitive church has produced just “pop corn Christians” who have no idea what God wants from them, and do not know how to live as true Disciples of Christ! Many have just become “paper saints” than becoming “proper saints!” In today’s materialistic world we don’t need the “self pampering” churches but we need “soul prospering” churches. Pray and seek God’s face to make us all truly “Saviour sensitive!”
The world has seen many tsunamis till date. But the tsunami that happened in 2006 really shocked the whole world! Then there are tsunamis of a different kind like racial tsunami, religious tsunami, sensual tsunami, political tsunami and now the world wide financial tsunami! All these trouble a Christian and they become a matter of concern and prayer. But the most dangerous tsunami of all time is the tsunami of false teachings and false teachers!! This particular tsunami is the tsunami of all tsunamis!! And the eternal damage it can cause is hard to measure.
The warning has been issued long back. The siren is ringing loud enough to hear. The scene is changing rapidly and the clouds of deception have appeared over the spiritual horizon. As it was predicted in the Bible, in these last days the tsunami of spiritual deception is intensified. But, alas, people are reckless. They do not mind the most important matters related to their faith and devotion. Human tendency is childlike, always running for the things that please for the moment. The mindset of many in the spiritual realm is like “penny wise and pound foolish!” There is no real burden in the hearts of the so-called “disciples of the truth” to tackle with the lies of hell. Two dangers are seen immediately – firstly, the spreading of falsehood easily deceives gullible people. Secondly, it does damage even to the elect of the Lord, whereby they become invalid.
The Church has become like an “Ostrich,” hiding its head under the “sand of accommodating” everything in the name of the Lord. As long as this is the condition of the Church then it will have to pay a heavy price for the attacks of the wolves in sheep’s clothing! The Lord and his apostles have issued many warnings about false teachers and their erroneous teachings in the scriptures. Even after being admonished if we still remain non-committal in taking a stand against such then we too become a part of the ongoing seduction! “People do not understand the awful consequences that come from the promotion, and yes, the toleration of false doctrine” wrote E.L. Bynum. We must never under estimate the teaching of the scripture nor should we become lax in our approach to defend our faith. Remember, the Bible talks about “little leaven” leavening the whole lump (1 Corinthians 5:6). Falsehood starts slowly and spreads subtly.
Brian M. Schwertley proves the point aptly in his article ‘Christ’s Warning Concerning False Teachers’, “The leaven of the Sadducees has small beginnings. In modern times it usually begins with new theories regarding the early chapters of Genesis. A literal Adam and Eve are replaced with poetic metaphor. The six days are said to be billions of years. Evolutionary theories are accepted. People are told that Christianity needs to be harmonized with the findings of modern science. Then scientific theories are applied to textual research. Then miracles are denied and all is lost: the virgin birth, vicarious atonement, the resurrection, etc. Biblical Christianity degenerates to the point where churches are the enemies of every major teaching in the Bible. We must be on guard against even small changes or accommodations to so called science. We must guard the integrity of the doctrine of Scripture with every fiber of our being. J. C. Ryle writes: Beware of the very small beginnings of false doctrine. Every heresy began at one time with some little departure from the truth. There is only a little seed of error needed to create a great tree. It is the little stones that make up the mighty building. It was the little timbers that made the great ark that carried Noah and his family over a deluged world. It is the little leaven that leavens the whole lump. It is the little flaw in one link of the chain cable that wrecks the gallant ship, and drowns the crew. It is the omission or addition of one little item in the doctor’s prescription that spoils the whole medicine, and turns it into poison. We do not tolerate quietly a little dishonesty, or a little cheating, or a little lying. Just so, let us never allow a little false doctrine to ruin us, by thinking it is but a “little one,” and can do no harm. The Galatians seemed to be doing nothing very dangerous when they “observed days and months, and times and years.” Yet St. Paul says, “I am afraid of you.” (Gal. iv. 10, 11) We must be aware of even small additions or detractions from God’s word. The church must guard itself against every deviation from the truth. False doctrines have a tendency to progress from bad to worse, from a small departure to an apostate system.”
The moment someone tries to raise an alarm to wade off the coming evil, immediately from within the church will arise a bunch of compromisers whose only job is to voice the enemy’s ideology! “Judge not” they say or “touch not” they cry or “stop not” they warn about those evil mongers who are nothing but the devil’s agents. Those that are on the “Lord’s side” should come together and fight the good fight of “Faith” (defending the true doctrine) on which we have laid our life’s foundations. Yes, the need of the hour is to rebuild our own people’s spiritual lives and continue to battle with the forces of falsehood. Raise a mighty scriptural standard against the flood of demonic doctrines that are flowing into the church to drown it like a tsunami.
People in the pulpit talk about a coming worldwide revival whereas the Bible is warning about a great worldwide “Falling away!” Oh, let’s not close our eyes to the truth so clearly written on the pages of Holy writ! Just like the ‘men of Issachar’ who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (1 Chro 12:32) we must have discernment and “wisdom that comes from above” to deal with the situation. So gird up your mind and start doing the things mentioned below :
1) Pray against the spread of falsehood 2) Preach against the poison of perpetrators 3) Prepare people against the pitfalls of seductive doctrines through proper Biblical teaching.
“God didn’t save you to make you happy. That’s a by-product. He saved you to make you holy. You were predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son” ~ Vance Havner.
Happiness has more “weight” than Holiness in the minds of people in today’s world! A pampered generation has gone on record “showing” their disdain for anything holy and have openly embraced the ‘happiness at any cost’ spirit. Happy go lucky syndrome is on the rise everywhere. The crowds of the community or the folks at the church are behaving the same way when it comes to the matter of happiness! Strangely, the church is “listening” to the voice of the world rather than to the voice of God. It is happening just as it was predicted in 2 Timothy 3 chapter that in the last days men will become lovers of self and lovers of pleasure. Men and women are bent upon seeking happiness above all. For them to be successful is to be happy at the end of the day. To be happy, they compromise with holiness and trade it for the “passing pleasures.” Tragically, the moment we lose our holiness for happiness, we are in for a shock. We may be happy for a moment but sad forever! C.S. Lewis wrote, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” How true? Alas, if only men could see this truth clearly. When you have holiness real happiness will follow you. “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” — Hebrews 1:9. True contentment and unspeakable joy springs up from a holy heart and a humble mind.
The way you “condition” your heart depends upon the way you perceive life. For many, life is all about happiness. They study, they work, they earn, they strive, they run and they do everything just to be happy. In their pursuit of happiness men go to any extreme, willing to compromise to any extent, and are eager to degrade themselves by all means only to get what they want! But in the end, every thing simply leaves them empty and unfulfilled because what they believed is not true. “Happiness is not the end of life; character is” thundered Henry Ward Beecher. Very few have this mindset. “Brethren, happiness is not our being’s end and aim. The Christian’s aim is perfection, not happiness; and everyone of the sons of God must have something of that spirit which marked his Master” wrote Frederick W. Robertson. Solomon declared that everything under the sun is “vain” or in other words an attempt to “grasp the wind.” But for the followers of Christ it is the other way round, when they love holiness, when they long for holiness, and when they live holy they are flooded with overflowing joy, about which the world doesn’t know or the world can ever offer! According to Clement of Alexandria, “Happiness is the practise of virtues!” When we exercise God given virtues we are filled with joy. Jesus is the true joy giver and it can come only to those who are holy. God pours out the scintillating juice of joy into the vessels of holiness.
Someone said, “Happiness depends on happenings!” It’s true in a worldly sense but does not hold good for God’s people! Common sense tells us that it’s not a good deal because it is very uncertain that what you expect will happen all the time. No one can guarantee that good times will prevail all the time. It would be foolish to lay the foundation of our life on such fleeting things! On the other hand the unchanging Lord imparts holiness to all who seek to have it from him. Holiness is God’s ultimate will for all his children 1 Thessalonians 4:7. Holiness is not “hollowness,” it is wholeness! It is the hallmark of every saint of God. When people are “connected” to God through holiness they are always filled with abundant satisfaction. Margaret Charlton Baxter aptly sums up for us our goal by saying, “Why should my heart be fixed where my home is not? Heaven is my home; God in Christ is all my happiness: and where my treasure is, there my heart should be.” Enlightened souls breathe free and enjoy true life as it comes from the Lord. What more can a person ask for after being made whole and fulfilled?