Our society has so perverted the gospel that it has become a house of cards that when one leans upon it, it crumbles and leaves the individual in a quandary as to where God was in the midst of their trouble.
1. You were never promised success by this world’s standards.
Instead we were told we will be hated because He was hated. We’re told to love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, for if we love the world the love of the Father is not in us.
We’re told this as a warning, not chastisement. Because of our fallen nature we are bent toward seeking after the things that will gratify our flesh. But all fleshly things pass away and with it so goes our hopes. As such we’re told to build our faith on spiritual things, on Christ the rock.
2. You were never promised a healthy marriage.
Instead we’re told how our marriages are a picture of our relationship with Christ, and as such we will learn of our own selfishness, adultery and pridefulness toward Him by seeing those traits played out in our earthly marriages.
God allows us to see our own willfulness by making us recipients to the same. He shows us our own self righteousness by allowing us to see what such behavior looks like before our very eyes. This is a grace. The grace of sanctification as we repent and are given opportunity to turn from the very things we inflict upon Christ, making Him a cuckle to our own adulterous pursuits.
3. You were never promised wealth.
Instead we’re told how wealth and the pursuit of it will choke out our desire for Him and compete directly against Him for prominence in our heart.
The loss of wealth in fact can almost be guaranteed as a grace to correct us and/or teach us to live in daily dependence on Him.
4. You were never promised health.
Instead we’re told that we live in a fallen world as a result of one man’s sin and that the result is that the disease of sin is now passed down to all generations showing us the devastating effect of sin and how it never effects just us, but those around us as well for generations to come.
Sometimes deteriorating health can help us reprioritize our pursuits and get back on the narrow path of living for Christ alone.
5. You were never promised that your kids would turn out good.
Instead we’re shown how even the godliest of followers can have kids that rebel and go the opposite way. This demonstrates to us that now matter how good the circumstances are or the environment we are inherently sinful.
For God has given us, His children, the most ideal circumstances and yet we still manage to squander His grace as if it was a trivial thing.
The truth is, building our faith upon the foundation of health, wealth, happiness and success as defined by worldly standards is a recipe for difficultly and hardship at best, and eternal damnation at worst. When one falls away and claims “I trusted God to save my marriage” what one truly reveals is that I trusted God to perform a work for me He never promised to do. What one reveals is that their faith was never truly in Christ, but rather in what Christ could do for them.
Thus the writing of John is fulfilled, “they went out from us because they were never truly with us.”
The evangelism of today is one of false hopes, false promises, built on a messiah that feeds us all the things that will lead us from God and seal our eternal fate. This is not Christ, this is anti-Christ.
Jesus was very clear, we’re to count the costs of what it means to follow Him. Because it means denying ourselves, enduring hardship and persecution, being ostracized from family and friends. The life we’re promised, to have to the fullest, is not here but with Him in the life to come. The journey will be painful, difficult and arduous. This is the most honest evangelistic message I could possibly present.
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