Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Grass is Greener…. – Part 3

Jude 1:9 (KJV) Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

That’s one of the verses that began the last part of this series.  Since we’re continuing on the subject of influence, it makes a good reminder of our focus in that post.  Because we’re continuing from there.  Influence is important in how we’re swayed in one direction or another.  And that can take us in the wrong direction.

We tend to take a public image, give it a certain value, take that to be a person’s worthiness, transfer that value to anything that person says, to any ideas that person supports. For example, let’s look at President Obama’s fund raising. He’s had parties where entertainment luminaries gathered together in return for money going into his campaign coffers. Obama’s opponents suggest it’s a sign that he’s not in touch with the common man. But take a look at it from a different perspective.

The stars at least think they gain something in perceived value from feeding off each others’ stardom. And maybe more from being with a sitting US President. And President Obama is surrounded and publicly supported by people whose entertaining draws millions and whose public lives sell magazines. So, he supposedly gains value and influence from those stars. There’s more involved, but we get the picture. Now, let’s go back and think about Moses being raised from the dead.

We can pretty well assume that, if Satan made use of the bones of Moses, he’d make sure we were well aware that it was Moses.  In pre-Christian Israel, many would have an idea of what to expect, physically and what he said, if Moses were to rise from the dead.  If that happened today, most of us wouldn’t have a clue if it was Moses or not.  Except we’d be influenced by probable miracles surrounding him and spiritual statements.  So, it wouldn’t have to be Moses himself, just that we think it is.  Which means the person and, more importantly, the spirit in them doesn’t have to be Moses.  We just need to be conned (influenced) into believing it’s him.  At which point, Moses and particularly that he’s supposedly been resurrected will influence our spiritual thinking and our relationship with God.

I’ve mentioned before that John Maxwell has said that leadership is influencing people.  And the corollary to that is that we all influence someone.  Now, think of the examples we’ve given so far.  Influence peddling on a much grander scale, where the influencers’ thinking becomes more important than the results of that thinking.  And, because the influencers are visible and present, some are going to give their ideas more credence than they will to the statements of an invisible God.  Which, on a spiritual level, takes us to some interesting thoughts.

I was considering the influence of sin.  And the result of that meditation were quite striking.  There were some conclusions that I doubt are unique to me, but that I don’t think we really focus on.

We all know that sin is bad.  But I truly wonder if God is upset as much with the outward acts as with what I’d describe as the root causes.  I say that because, if you look at any sin there are some common underlying factors.
  1. We trust ourselves more than we trust God.
  2. That, in effect, says that we really don’t trust God.
  3. Our focus is more on ourselves than on God.
  4. Our barometer of what’s good is based on how pleasant things are for us.
  5. We use God’s love as an excuse to do whatever gets the most comfortable results – no trials or harsh circumstances for us.  No, sir!
  6. Which means our self orientation and pride will tell us that what we want to believe is more important than what God has said to us in His Word.  We know more than God.
When we think about that list, it becomes very clear that any sinful action is less important than the thinking that led to it.  And the thoughts and patterns that take us to that final act (good or bad) in any situation may be secretly growing and developing in our soul for a long time before the overt act occurs.

There are a few questions all this takes us to.  Who or what leads us to how we think?  Does that thinking leave room for God?  And does it allow us to have a proper relationship with God and those who God loves?  Does it allow us to even truly understand who God loves?  And what God hates?  Because all of that deals with how we’re influenced and how we influence.  Next time, we’ll look closer at something Paul, as well as others in the Bible, talk about quite strongly.  Meditating on those questions will help get us prepared.

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