To those of us who are older, the American society and culture is very confusing. We have things today that are an everyday part of existence that older people just one generation ago did not dream of existing, let alone becoming common place in the lives of people. To some of us it seems as if young adults of today have everything, and often they are discouraged as if they have nothing. It is not unusual to encounter people today who are deeply depressed or deeply discouraged or deeply frustrated, and who have basically decided that life is pointless. To some of us, that is quite confusing.
Joyce's Mom and Dad did not have an indoor bathroom until Joyce was in college. Would any of us consider buying a house without a bathroom today? I remember when my Mom cooked on two kerosene eyes (no oven), and that was advanced technology--we knew people who cooked on a wood stove. Would we consider living permanently without ovens and a microwave today? Joyce and I both were in the eighth grade before our homes had a single party line telephone. How many people today think they cannot live without a personal cell phone?
Joyce and I grew up in an area where religion was a serious matter. By and large, religion is not a serious matter today.
Why? How can our society experience so many advances, and life become increasingly without point at the same time? How can our society experience so many advances, and being religious become increasingly unimportant at the same time?
Why? I do not conclude there is just one reason. Conditions among people in our society are caused by a number of factors. Among the important factors, there is one we should note, understand, and take quite seriously. Increasingly, as we make advances, more and more of life is viewed as pointless.
More and more it becomes a matter of going through the motions without understanding the point of what you are doing or making any application of what you are doing. Get a college education! Why? That is what your are supposed to do! Get a job with benefits! Why? That is what you are supposed to do! Get married! Why? That is what you are supposed to do! Go to church! Why? That is what you are supposed to do.
John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
- In less than 24 hours Jesus was not going to be with the 12 in the same manner (physically) that he has been with them throughout his ministry.
- This initially will be a very traumatic experience for them.
- He wanted to reassure them that it was going to be okay.
- Thomas said, "We do not know where you are going and we do not know the way there."
- Thomas' response increases Jesus' distress for them.
- Yet, Jesus still seeks to encourage them.
- Philip says, "Just let us see the Father and everything will be okay."
- This further distresses Jesus.
- However, he still tries to encourage the 12.
- It is in the context that Jesus made the statement that he was the way, truth, and life to the 12, and declared that he is the only way to the Father.
- If I understand Jesus' statement correctly, it is by examining and understanding Jesus' teachings and earthly life that they are given insights into God's character, purposes, values, and priorities.
- It was only by understanding Jesus that they would correctly understand God.
- Jesus is the key to understanding the nature and desires of God the Father--that is an incredible statement!
- In Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus discussed the subjects of murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, justice, and concepts of compassion, and the neighbor-enemy concept in the Jewish society among the Jewish people.
- In the discussion of each area, Jesus drew a contrast.
- The contrast is between their religious society's position and God's position.
- To me we could summarize the entire discussion in this manner: "You missed God's point!"
- "Your emphasis and God's emphasis are not the same."
- "Your values and God's values are not the same."
- "The religious stance your leaders and society take is just that--a religious stance; it is not godlike."
- In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus addressed three very common religious acts in first century Jewish religious society: benevolence to the poor and disabled (alms); praying; fasting.
- The simple, basic point he made in all three was the same: motives matter!
- "If your motive is to attract attention to yourself and win the praise of people, when that occurs you got what you wanted."
- "Do not expect anything from God!"
- "You did not do it for God!"
- "God owes you nothing!" (This is not endorsing an attempt to place God in one's debt, but simply acknowledged the act was not about God, so God was not a factor in rewards received.)
- You practice benevolence, prayer, and fasting to honor God, not to win people's praise for yourself.
- Though Jesus represented God the Father as no one else has or ever will, Jesus' observations were neither appreciated by religious leaders nor popular with the general religious population.
- People are very emotional about their personal convictions.
- They feel deeply about their convictions.
- They had rather allow what they feel determine their convictions rather than sound information determine their convictions.
- Too often people listen to agree or disagree, not to learn.
- Quite often people did not like what Jesus said and responded by thinking, "Surely that is not what God thinks or wants!"
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to
Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live
by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful,
challenging one another, envying one another.
- Allow me to use an old analogy.
- The fruit surrounds the seed.
- It is the fruit that attracts a person to the seed and make that person want to plant that seed.
- Few people would want to plant a peach pit if he or she did not see and taste the peach!
- Live the kind of life, treat the people around you in a manner that they are attracted to the gospel that makes you who you are!
May nowhere your
Christianity be more evident than in the way you treat your family! May they see
"the point" in the way you live and the way you treat others!
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell