|Volume 19 Number 10 October 2017||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Reality is more real today for me than it has ever been in all of the decades preceding the present. Losing the wife of my youth (Proverbs 5:18), as well as growing old (Psalm 90:10), has transformed my thinking from a focus on my worldly existence to the otherworldly pursuit to be with God for eternity in His house. That is, what really matters has changed from the consideration of temporal stuff to eternal things. For the past 45 years, I thought I was seeking “first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), but I see more clearly now than ever before. To the best of my ability, everything that I think or propose to do I filter through the lenses of a consciousness of whose servant I am, from where I have come and to where I relentlessly purpose to go eternally.
The child of God ought to be ever alert to the fact that he or she is a Christian. We must be consistently vigilant to discipline our minds that they, as well as our actions, conform to the biblical instruction of the New Testament. To the Bible the children of God need to appeal—daily—for divine guidance (Psalm 119:105). Resorting to God’s Word as a fixer upper or to effect damage control after acting out of sync with Bible teaching is unprofitable and a misuse of Scripture.
Organizing a person’s thoughts and activities throughout one’s daily waking moments to correspond with God’s mandates is also a precursor to orderliness during slumber. Whatever it is with which a man or a woman fills his or her mind (Philippians 4:8) throughout the day has a way of seeping into his or her dreams where there exists less conscious inhibition. Whether awake or asleep, the Christian is God’s man or God’s woman.
Wearing spiritual glasses, the earnest Christian sees his family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and others for the precious (Matthew 16:26), God-given souls (Ecclesiastes 12:7) that they possess. He or she is no less aware of the invaluable soul within him or her. The loyal child of God works toward the eternal redemption of his or her own soul (John 2:7; Acts 2:40) as well as for the spiritual welfare of others, too (Mark 16:15-16; James 5:19-20).
With resolve and determination, the militant Christian will settle for nothing less that traversing the pilgrim pathway (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11) that leads to the heavenly horizon on which his eyes are constantly trained. He marches without either pause or detour toward that city “whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Along the way, the attentive Christian will help faltering saints resume their trek heavenward as well as pull sinners from the ditches of sin on either side of the pilgrim road. Together, they will not be deterred from entering the pearly white gates of Heaven and strolling upon its streets of gold (Revelation 21:21).
There is no greater purpose for one’s life than to persevere in one’s Christian walk (Ephesians 4:1; 5:8) so that he or she can commune with God-the-Father, God-the-Son and God-the-Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) for eternity. Imagine having the angelic host for neighbors (Luke 15:10). Contemplate spending forever amidst the redeemed of all ages (Revelation 7:9). Let’s go to Heaven and take as many with us as we are able to persuade with the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:10-11). Nothing else matters as much as where we spend eternity. That is the reality about which we need to concern ourselves.
Sin Wears a Mask!
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To Day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:13-14). The exhortation and warning was given to Christians to remind us of the possibility of becoming “hardened” through the deceitfulness of sin. The word “deceit” means to “give a false impression, whether by statement, appearance, or influence.” Sin is altogether deceitful! It never parades itself in its true light. In fact, sin wears a mask to fool its victims.
Sin wears a mask of beauty. On the outside, sin is very attractive. Consider the serpent’s appeal to Eve, “…ye shall be as gods…” (Genesis 3:5b). That sounds great! Interestingly, the serpent also used an item that was apparently good to view, “And when the women saw that the tree was… pleasant to the eyes…” (Genesis 3:6b). This fruit, whatever it was, was attractive. It looked good and something that Eve desired. On the outside, it was beautiful, but inside its appearance was dreadful!
When was the last time this world has ever portrayed sin for its ugliness? Satan paints alcohol as cool and inviting, pornography as sexy and alluring, affairs as exciting and youthful, drugs as sophisticated and wise, and fornication as hip and happening. However, once the mask is removed, the real picture is horrible. Homeless people addicted to drugs and alcohol without a family, love or even the basic necessities of life. Once the mask of pornography is removed, one can clearly see a devoted wife who feels she must fit a certain “mold,” a husband whose mind is consumed with lust, a family whose faces remain red with shame and pain. Pornography stars at a very young age have sold their bodies to the devil and will never fully recover from that devastation! Beware, under the surface, sin is ugly!
Sin wears a mask of a buddy. If sin portrayed itself as two-faced or a “fair weather friend,” mankind would be much more aware of its real colors. However, sin confronts its victims with a “big hug” in a “great to meet you” kind of way! In fact, sin looks for the lonely to “befriend.” Again, consider Eve. When did the serpent approach her? Was it when Adam was present? Was it when she and her husband were busy tending the garden? The serpent came when Eve was alone and apparently idle! Consider Joseph. When did Potiphar’s wife attempt to seduce Joseph? “But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me’” (Genesis 39:11-12). Sin “buddied” up to David when he was all alone (2 Samuel 11). Sin portrays itself as a buddy, but beware, it is not interested in anything but destruction!
Sin wears a mask of bounty. Satan wants to portray sin as a “big payday.” If you really want to succeed, then you must live it up is Satan’s motto. Sin promises to reap joy, happiness, youthfulness, excitement and peace. However, when one sows the seed of sin, sin’s fruit will surely be the harvest! “Be not deceived, God is mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). One can never reap apples from a peach seed. Neither can one ever reap joy and happiness from the seeds of sin.
Sin promises great things, but it always leaves its victims at a loss. In this world, sin will cost a person more than he or she can ever imagine, but even more expensive is the eternal price paid for indulging in sin! “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To Day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Beware, sin wears a mask!