No, I have not all of a sudden shifted gears and am now writing about politics. We are still turning pages of Scriptures and we’ll be doing that all the days of our lives as the Lord gives us grace.
Finally nearing the end of their 40-year journey through the wilderness, as they prepared to enter Canaan, the young-generation Israelites with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, were commanded by God to utterly destroy all the nations surrounding them. Please take time to read the following passage as it will bring us to the heart of our topic today:
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. (Deut. 7:1-6)
The Lord wanted Israel to:
- Utterly destroy all the surrounding nations, sparing no one and nothing.
- Not make any covenant with them or intermarry with them.
- Destroy their altars, break down their sacred pillars, cut down and burn their carved, wooden images with fire.
- The pagan nations will turn their hearts from following God.
- They shall be snares and traps to them, scourges on their sides and thorns in their eyes. (Josh. 23:12-13)
- They are a holy people to the Lord their God.
- They were chosen by God for Himself, His special treasure, above all the peoples on the face of the earth.
The Christians of today are the modern Israelites. As the ancient Israelites were redeemed from bondage in Egypt, so we were redeemed from the bondage of sin. For God so loved us. Apostle Peter describes our status as:
…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God… (1 Pet. 2:9,10)
We are still in the world although not of the world, but I often wonder: Have the world and the things of the world been a snare and a trap, a scourge on our sides, and a thorn in our eyes? Have they been influencing us in a way that holiness has been compromised and diluted by too much secularism? We have to admit we are bombarded and stimulated daily by secularism through technology: the burgeoning social media and the infinite offerings of the vast cyber-universe that is the Internet. We need not make a single step outside of our homes. The Internet opens up the world for us, every nook and cranny of it.
Social media is not an evil in and of itself, but how we use it or abuse it is how we could be ensnared by it. We abuse it when we let it saturate our lives instead of being drenched by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s fire.
I often wonder if it has become the main influencer of my mindset that clashes with my peace and the harbinger of the emotional roller coaster I often find myself in. For example, what I mostly see on my FB feed are not exactly in line with Jesus’ teachings. They tend to speak loudly about the ways of the world rather than Jesus’ life: His light and simplicity. Maybe some may think of me as over righteous and a wet blanket. But when we, who were predestined to be conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ, let our eyes feast on a panoply of material things and worldly ways, we will find out that these will be the ones occupying our hearts and minds rather than the things of God. What we ingest will what mostly influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Even beliefs, like entitlements claim. We get ideas (and I mean that in a selfish way). We become restless (that is because we have been affected by what we saw); our peace and contentment rocked.
Actually, the effect is two-pronged: If something brings us inner turmoil instead of peace and joy, it must be from the side of the enemy and the Holy Spirit has been grieved and is now convicting us. If we have grown sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s movement within us, we will be able to discern it immediately.
The more that we are replete of the things of the world (even just through photos), the more we are farther and farther away from knowing the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Remember the admonition in Romans 12:2.
I admit I had often let social media, especially Facebook, make my life miserable. My FB friends list is an eclectic mix of Christians and worldly and everything in between. Although I’m using it (and quite successfully I must say) to share my blog and to encourage as much as I can, it has also served as the launching pad for feelings of envy, comparison, self-pity, bitterness, and the like (that is because of my hard situation), and also critical and judgmental thoughts as I see worldly possessions (sometimes blatantly) paraded. (And then there are the endless selfies. It’s…wearying, to say the least). I go there to encourage and most of the time, I leave discouraged myself! How ironic! And that is just by looking! I marvel at how using our eyes the wrong way can bring so much misery. And darkness, too.
They shall be snares and traps to you, scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes. How very true!
But if we focus our eyes on the purity of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will absorb His light. You will love this:
“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (Luke 11:34-36)
The eyes are the gateways through which light enters in. But if what we see makes the light dim within us – negative emotions and thoughts that make us sin – our bodies will be full of darkness! No wonder we fall into diverse afflictions!
We are still in the world but we can choose what our eyes behold.
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Journey with Jesus,