April 22, 2017

Behavior — only the tip of the iceberg

A speaker reminded me yesterday that actions come from a person’s value system, and value systems come from what is believed. For centuries, people believed that truth came from God and even if they didn’t want to believe, at least His ways were acknowledged as true. However, in today’s world, much of society has decided that God is dead. Without Him, there are no objective principles and truth is a matter for everyone to decide for themselves. The outcome is an increasing decline in such things as morality and the value of human life.

This is not new. For instance, this decline happened in Israel from 1375-1050 BC. The people kept turning from faith in God to trusting idols. Even though some of their kings did their best, for the most part: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6) and mayhem ruled.

This is the importance of faith in Jesus Christ. Only He can change us from people who trust me, myself, and I to people who can selflessly love God and love their neighbors.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:1–5)

Believing in Jesus Christ produces love for God and obedience to Him. His commands make life easier and in fact help us to overcome the power of the world. The world offers no freedom from guilt, no selflessness, no ability to be godly, and no hope for eternity. While ‘eat, drink and be merry’ is the mantra for many, the ‘tomorrow we die’ part is still a reality. The world says ‘when you are dead, you are dead’ but that is not what God says. His truth says that there are no dead Christians. Those who reject Him are cast away from His presence to suffer eternal torment — a horrible death indeed. How values and then behavior would change if everyone believed this truth!

“If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:9–13)

The truth from God is being able to say yes to the question Jesus asked: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (John 9:35) which produces a value system that hates sin, loves God, loves His creation, loves people, and knows where you will live forever and ever. Of course, that changes everything else!

Jesus Christ, Lord of all, You have shown me that I am a sinner, helpless and undone. You have made it clear that all I can do is commit my soul and all my hope of salvation and eternal life to You. Only You have the power and the authority to be merciful and grant eternal life. Without You, I have nothing. With You, I am forgiven, made new, and have the certainty of living with You forever. Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift!

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