In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
'Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?' (Psalm 2:1). Because in a room with a limited view, vain things are what proud people do. At best, we see through personal pinholes. Even our deepest thinkers can only edit the past and conjure the future.
God puts it this way: 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts' (Isaiah 55:9). Without His vision, the most creative among us are like magicians on a stage. Our grandest illusions are destined to disappear.
Our world is plagued with individualism: 'The action or principle of asserting one's independence and individuality; egoism' (World English Dictionary); 'self-centered feeling' (Etymology Dictionary). Self-centered feelings lead to a fatal condition called moral relativity.*
But the assertion of independence isn't limited to the world. Among Christians, researchers estimate as many as 50,000 denominations. Like bad gas, our airs of superiority circle the globe. Given a choice, who wants to breathe in flatulence?
Shouldn't it be the opposite? If an unbeliever stands among us, shouldn't we be the 'Aroma of Christ' (2 Corinthians 2:15)? A breath of fresh air in a dying world?
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed for our unity: 'That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me' (John 17:21). These are His final Words before His arrest.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: individualism is understandable in the world. Each person, each business and each peer group does what is right in its own eyes. Rules vary. Fires ignite. Disasters follow.
But within the church, 'These things ought not to be' (James 3:10). For that reason, you have been commissioned: you are His church without a roof, His priests without a pulpit, and His ambassadors without an agenda--except to bring Him glory.
On the outside, you look like individuals: cool and intriguing. On the inside, you look like Him: warm and engaging. You show Him best with kind eyes, gentle smiles and open arms--reaching out in concert with fellow believers.
As far as criticizing others, don't go there: 'There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another' (James 4:12). As far as right and wrong, go here:
The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;The Testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;The Statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;The Commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;The Judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.More to be desired are they than gold,Yea, than much fine gold;Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.Moreover by Them Your servant is warned,And in keeping Them there is great reward' (Psalm 19:7-11).
To Be Continued...
* Moral Relativity is a 4-part AMTC devotion series published in 2011): http://www.amtcdevotions.com/moral-relativity-aka-whatever-part-1
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Pitfalls series.