Why Am I Here? And Other Easy Questions to Answer

Life appears complex, but occasionally you get glimpses of clarity that demonstrate life’s simplicity. The Bible is pretty good at boiling it all down.

“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity” is one good summation!

But when it comes to why we’re here, what the point of life is, the Bible makes it simple for us. We don’t need a humanly devised book telling us how to find our purpose driven life, or how to get our best life now.

Nope, all of that is merely humanistic deism. The Bible tells us what our purpose is and what our best life consists of, it is summed up in this

1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, body and strength
2) Love your neighbor as yourself.

Boom. That’s it! How easy it is to get sucked into all manner of other occupations and goals., but these merely keep you from what is vitally true and worthwhile.

Whatever it is you are doing, does it help you fulfill these commands? If not, don’t do it. If so, go for it. Much of our lives are lived for me, me, me. I do what I want, when I want, for what I want. And this is all vanity.

Loving God is an all the time goal, loving others fits into the first. You can’t love others if you are not loving God with all your self.

The way to know if you love God is to see how you love others. Are others an inconvenience to you? Do they get in your way, keep you from accomplishing your purpose and goals in life?!

Or do you give up your desires that they might be served? Your life is not your own, you’ve been bought with a price, therefore, glorify God in your body.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

The Special Love of God on Display in Believers

The love that God has for the believer is different from the love God has for the unbeliever. If this were not so, then all would go to heaven and none would be eternally in hell (see Rob Bell’s book Love Wins where he makes this exact point and concludes that all will end up in heaven, On second thought, don’t see his book, it is wrong.).

If it is true that God loves people differently, then it must be true that we love people differently. This would have to be the case if we were being perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect or if we were born into the image of Christ.

So, the question to consider now is: Are we told to specially love one group above another?

We are told unequivocally to love. We are to love our enemies. As we love others we are to let God do the judging and vengeance. God loves the world, but He also has special love to those in His family, His faithful children.

I think we operate on the same principle.

I am never told to love my enemies as Christ loved the Church, but I am told to love my wife as Christ loved the church. Do I love all women like I love my wife?

What about this one:

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

There is a benevolent love for all, and an especial love for those in our Christian family.

There is also a warning about taking care of widows. We are called to care for them all, but especially for those in our family. If you don’t show this special love for your own widows, you are worse than an unbeliever!

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

The bottom line is this:

God is loving and willing to forgive anyone (love covers sin–forgiveness is based on love). His love is available for all as He loves all.

To reject this love, to not love back, short-circuits God’s love and you’ve now moved into the realm of being hated by God.

The believer–the one who faithfully follows God–loves all just as God does. We are not to hate anyone, but to let God take care of them in His just judgment and vengeance.

At the same time, there’s a special call to love those we are especially obligated to love. To deny this is to deny the faith because it does mockery to the character of God.

“therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”

God’s Love and Hate

A couple days ago I was thinking about how God loves believers and unbelievers. The central question is: does God love them differently or do they merely stop the flow of God’s love because of their rebellion?

I imagine this is an unanswerable question to some degree, trying to define an attribute of God that is deeper than our comprehension.

At another point, I think Scripture reveals some things that can help us think better on the issue.

God’s love is demonstrated many ways, some of which don’t always look loving to the external view–having His only begotten Son crucified looked pretty mean, but was in actuality a great demonstration of love.

So, right off the bat we have to admit we are poor judges of what true love really looks like.

We also must take one of God’s attributes in light of all His attributes. God is love and God is also holy, holy, holy. God is righteous and just. You can’t just rip an attribute out of the whole and elevate it or press it out of measure.

God’s love is holy, righteous, and just and all attributes are those things perfectly. God does indeed love all people in the world. Based on my understanding of Scripture, Christ died for the sins of the world. Rejecting His offer of salvation, trampling under foot the Son of God, puts you in a very bad place and indeed you have stopped the flow of God’s love.

At the same time, we have to understand a couple other verses on the subject like Psalm 5:4-5

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

And we’ll throw in Psalm 11:5 for good measure:

The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

God doesn’t just stop the flow of His love toward the wicked person; He hates them!

Does man merely thwart God’s love, or does God remove His love based on the faith/obedience of the person?

I would answer this question with a resounding YES!

Miley Cyrus is a Symptom, Not the Problem

One of America’s growing church phenomenons is a youth group called The Basement. It’s everything you would assume the most popular youth group in the USA would be.

Very cool. Very hip. Very awesomely loud.

The main guy who runs this deal, Matt Pitt, looks very cool and hip and awesomely loud. He puts on a good show.

As I’ll state one more time on my blog, youth pastors are not a biblical concept.

Mr. Pitt has recently been arrested AGAIN for impersonating a police officer. This after he ran from police while impersonating them and jumped off a cliff. Seriously. I can’t make this up.

As our nation mourns the loss of life in Syria today, oh wait, we’re not mourning that. As our nation mourns the loss of class in our favorite young “Christian” superstar, Miley Cyrus, let’s examine again the Church tragedy known as “youth group.”

I can’t help but point out that the slogan on the top of The Basements web site is, and I quote, “Not perfect. Just forgiven.”

Although we know the reality of the first part, the second part is unknown.

Let me point out once again on my blog the absolute inanity of such phrases. I know they sound good and your grandma probably uses these phrases in a fine way. But trust me, most people who use such phrases are merely justifying their sin and staying a long, long way from the biblical command to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.

Youth ministry isn’t working. Wondering when the Church will pick up on this.

Lay off Miley, and let’s question what in the name of Jesus Christ is the church doing to our youth?

Cell Phone Usage Is Sin. Yeah, I Said It. Here’s Why

Love is the central virtue of Christian faith. Love is a giving of yourself to another. We give ourselves to God and reflect this by giving ourselves to others.

This is common Christian knowledge. We know this. Yet we use cell phones.

Cell phone usage is sin. It’s the opposite of love. Especially smart phones. Allow me to pontificate upon my non-cell-phone using high horse. I do not own a cell phone and I do have Luddite tendencies, and there are reasons why.

1) Cell phones interrupt. I can’t tell you how many times during a conversation the one I am talking suddenly reaches into their pocket, pulls out a phone and starts talking to someone else. Our conversation is over. Ruined. Never to be restored. I hate that.

2) Cell phones feed pride. Are you really that important to be so readily available for communication? Good Lord, are you running a country or something?

3) Cell phones make you rude. People bump into others while looking at their dumb phone. People need to yell into cell phones interrupting everyone else in a four mile vicinity.

4) No one enjoys the now. Pretty sunsets must be photographed. Cute kids must be pictured and shoved in my face on facebook. All your pretty pictures are posted to feed your pride, you know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Just look at the sunset and praise God. People can’t just enjoy stuff with God anymore, everything has to be public. Stop it!

5) Fellowship destroyed. During a conversation the subject of The Beatles comes up, “When did the White Album come out?” There is debate, then the phones come out. Everyone checks wikipedia to find out the answer, which then leads to the checking of email, facebook, etc and the conversation is over. Fellowship is broken. Can’t we just talk and have an argument and enjoy ourselves? Why so much need for wikipedian certainty? Can’t we just talk?

6) You look stupid. Ok, looking stupid isn’t a sin, but I believe you are doing a disservice to the image of God by walking around staring at a little, glowing screen, bumping into people and ignoring the life and lives around you.

7) Lacks manners. Can’t tell you how many guests I have had in my house who spent more time looking at their dumb phones than looking at my family. Seriously? You come here to see me and then stare at a dumb phone? You should have just stayed home and emailed me.

8) I can’t hear you. Cell phones are notoriously horrendous for hearing what in the world you are saying. This is why you yell into your phone, see. Saying “what?” every 10 seconds is a waste of all things precious and dear. You are wasting my time and your breath.

9) Cell phone inattention. People on cell phones often call from places as a way to waste time. Driving home, waiting at a restaurant or any number of other activities have your attention, so you call me to pontificate on who knows what (I can’t hear you remember). In the middle of my sentence “Oh, my table is ready, see ya.” And off you go to eat your meal with the people YOU ARE WITH who are wondering why you were talking to someone else when they were right there!

10) Leads to sinful communication. Texting and talking on a phone is recipe for disaster. The Bible recommends we speak sparingly (read Proverbs). When we do speak, we are to speak with spiritual discernment, bringing thoughts captive to Jesus Christ. When you spew off and shoot out the junk in your head quickly, you will sin. You will gossip. You will cuss. You will say something you should not have said. Use some restraint. Think about what you want to say, then arrange a time to go say it to the person. It’s the best way and would cut down on much hostility in our world if people spoke face-to-face.

There is no way a person can be demonstrating Christian, Christ-like love while using a cell phone. I will not back off that statement. It is a tool of the devil and you are now accountable for having been informed of The Truth.

Thank you. Have a fine day.

God Doesn’t Really Love You Just The Way You Are

OK, one more quote from the thing I read the other day about God’s love. One more bit to be exorcised before I leave it and move on. He goes on to say,

“God perfectly loves me, as I am, and longs for me to be the me He created me to be.”

Now, again, it might just be the words he uses, but I feel like puking after reading that. I cringe that it is now on my blog. We are all dumber for having read that.

He does go on to say in the article that we are to be conformed to Christ, but he also stops and defends the “but I’m not there, and God loves me, so you should too.”

And, again, this is true, and yet from what I know of this guy, I can guess what he means. In full disclosure, he’s a Christian who defends his homosexuality.

His point is this: don’t judge my homosexuality, Jesus loves me. Which again, Jesus does love him, but we need to be careful.

Although people like to talk about the Bible’s descriptions of God’s love, there is one (at least) huge verse we skip all the time in talking about God’s love.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Wait, people quote that verse all the time about God’s love. Yeah, I know, that’s not the verse yet, it’s the verse that comes immediately after this verse.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Why do we skip that one? Wouldn’t we want to know who His friends are to know who He did this greatest showing of love for? I would think so.

Does God love you just as you are? In one sense yes, but He loves you so much He doesn’t want to leave you there. I love my kids and my love will not let them stay just how they are. My love exists to change them into adults who leave behind childish things.

The father who loves his son chastens his son. God’s love is not content with me as I am; it is content to change me into who God wants me to be–into Christ–NOT A BETTER ME!

That’s where the quote above train wrecks. God wants my flesh crucified and the life of Christ in me! He doesn’t want a better me; He wants Christ. No longer I but Christ! That is love!

Do All Have God’s Perfect Love? I Don’t Think So

I read this thing about love the other day and I tried to ignore it. I really did. I was just gonna let it go, but it keeps sitting there in my brain waiting to be exorcised.

I have lots of problems with the way people talk about God, love and Christianity. Most of what is said just irritates me, which is the opposite of love, I know, I know. But seriously.

Here is one bit that I read:

“If I am to possess the kind of love for people that God holds, how is that going to happen?

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image.  Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

The struggle is to figure out how to love others as God loves, which is a fine thing to think on. The author goes on in the next paragraph to say,

“Before each of us comes to trust in Christ we are already perfectly loved by God. He does not require that we change who we are as individuals in order to first receive that love.”

Now, OK, let me say I agree to an extent. But then there’s this whole other extent to which I don’t.

Does God love everyone? Yes He does. “For God so loved the world.”

Does God love in a way that does not make them fit His own image? No. The whole point of the Gospel is to conform us into the image of Christ from glory to glory.

Is it true that God does not require that we change in order to first receive His love? Yes, He does not make us change to be loved, we love Him because He first loved us.

However, I take exception to the statement that “before each of us comes to trust in Christ we are already perfectly loved by God.” I don’t think so.

Now, again, maybe, depending on how you define words. An unbeliever is not “perfectly loved by God.” He just isn’t and there’s no way he could be. “Love covers a multitude of sin” yet the unbeliever does not have his sins covered, therefore he must not have God’s perfect love.

What about John when he says, “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” If you are an unbeliever, you can’t love others, and thus, God does not dwell in you and His perfect love is not shown through you cuz it aint in you..

Again, I tried to let this go because I know the quote above is common knowledge in Christianity today, but it just hits me as being off.

There is a general sense in which God loves all people, and then there is a particular sense in which He loves His people. It’s the difference between how I love my wife and how I love the women in my church. It’s the difference between how I love my kids and how I love your kids.

The quotes above sound nice, who would argue with such things? Apparently I would. I’m probably a jerk, but alas, it had to be exorcised.