Seasons of Discontent and Distraction

Posted: February 22, 2014 in Faces of Death
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“Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.  But as for me, I almost lost my footing.  My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.  For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.  They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.  They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.  They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.  These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!  They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.  They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth.  And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words.  ‘What does God know?’ they ask.  ‘Does the Most High even know what’s happening?’  Look at these wicked people–enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.  Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?  Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?  I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.  If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.  But what a difficult task it is!  Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.  Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.  In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.  Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.  I was so foolish and ignorant–I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.  Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  I desire you more than anything on earth.  My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.  Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.  But as for me, how good it is to be near God!  I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.” (Psalm 73)

“But tell me this–since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead?  For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.  And we apostles would all be lying about God — for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave.  But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead.  And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.  In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost!  And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.  But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.  He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.  So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man.  Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.  But there is an order to this resurrection:  Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.  After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power.  For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet.  And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.  (1 Corinthians 15:12-26)

Has mankind ever experienced wholesale distraction to the degree that our generation experiences it?  Everywhere we turn, we are subjected to aggressive suggestions that we do not possess enough, we are not beautiful enough, we are not successful enough, we are just not good enough.

The high-speed life we find ourselves living in has been 7,000 years in the making.  We take for granted things that would have made the jaws of Pharaohs, Caesars and Kings drop in awe and wonder.  And yet, as far as civilization has come, dis-contentment, envy and greed for newer, bigger, better lives is epidemic.

We are like oxen with a heavy yoke on our back and blinders on our eyes, going wherever the task master leads us.  The yoke gets heavier with every step we take as the burdens of resentment and bitterness pile on.  We see others living in prosperity that we don’t have and they don’t even fear the Lord!  We are reminded everywhere we turn how much better our life should be and would be, if only…

What a danger zone for the Christian who’s trying to stay focused on righteous living; who’s trying to prioritize the Kingdom of the Most High God above all else in our life.  May we take comfort in the words of the Psalmist and reflect on the fact that God, in His perfect wisdom, made sure to document for us in His Living Word that what we are experiencing is nothing new.  It is spiritual warfare and has been ongoing since evil entered the world.

Our enemy Satan has never had it easier in this war than he does in the high-speed information age.  His tactics are the same as they ever were.  Satan’s strategy is to distract God’s children from our duties and our focus on the eternal life we have in Christ by keeping us focused on temporary desires and trinkets.  If he can steer us from the narrow path we’ve been called to onto the wide road to destruction, then he has the advantage in our lives.

May God Almighty forbid these deadly distractions in our lives and remove the blinders from our eyes so we can see!  May we always remember that the best is yet to come and it is being prepared and customized for each of us who are diligently and faithfully running this race for the prize we hope for in Christ!

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

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