Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Does the World Love You?

I was recently talking with an elderly brother and sister in the Lord and the brother shared something very interesting that stuck with me. An old friend of his from before he was saved said to him: "I liked you better before you became a Christian." Now this got me thinking.

This brother, before he was born again, was the type of person who was the center of the party. Funny, animated, larger than life, living it up in the world... Everybody loved him. But then the cross of Jesus Christ exposed what was really in his heart: sin, pride, anger, selfishness, lust, love of pleasure, drunkeness... He was exposed as a sinner. The intervention of God in his life, by being born again, radically reconstructed who he was. He stopped his partying, his sinful lifestyle, and became obviously different in the eyes of his old friends.

This testimony rings so true in my own life, and after asking some others about this they also testified the same. Our old friends now find us repulsive, boring, unattractive, foolish. A Christian is no fun to the unbeliever. I want now to just examine the seemingly "boring" characteristic in the one who is born again. To the world this is so, but to the body of Christ, the exact opposite.

A person who is born again is a brand new person. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

The ones who are born again are given an entirely new perspective on life. They realize their position in Christ and their position in world. This new perspective causes them to act totally different than how they would have acted in their old way of thinking, or as Paul says: "...in the vanity of their mind." (Ephesians 4:17) Compare the unbeliever and the believer's state of mind:

-the unbeliever lives in the flesh, the believer lives in the Spirit
-the unbeliever loves the things of this world, the believer hates the things of this world
-the unbeliever seeks extravagance, the believer seeks meekness
-the unbeliever is restless, the believer is resting
-the unbeliever puts on a show, the believer is transparent
-the unbeliever has much to boast in, the believer has nothing to boast in
-the unbeliever seeks man's approval, the believer seeks God's approval

The list could go on. Those things that are wonderful to the Christian are foolishness to those who are perishing! What a bore to pray, to read the Bible, to be transparent! But the sad thing is that many Christians find these things boring as well. Examine yourself: Do I seek those things that the world seeks after, or do I seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Which is more desirable? Do you find some Christians boring? I wonder if it is those very Christians who are the ones seeking God and putting off the deeds of the old man? If you are falling into this trap, I believe the diagnosis is worldliness. Perhaps you need to be born again?

"But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephesians 4:20-24)

24 comments:

Andrew said...

Seeking entertainment and seeking the Kingdom are not mutually exclusive. Attempting to argue that Christians who seek fun are not 'the ones seeking God' is absurd. One can still go out, have fun, and holy shit, even hang out with non Christians and still be an extremely bright light to those who are not believers. In my eight years of being a Christian the best compliment I have recieved is that I am a 'cool Christian, not one of those stuck up righteous kinds'. You, I hope, are not the latter for it ruins the name of Christ. You group together all unbeleivers, can you be anymore judgemental? You do not have the right Eli, and are making a grave mistake by doing so. I pray that you get off your high horse and see that many beleivers are worse people than unbelievers. Your blog is not a complete fallacy at all. Conversion requires the rejection of your old self and will send a shock wave through your old community. Its a price worth paying. Despite that, you need to really think a lot more about what you are saying. Youre sending the wrong message out to those who are seeking God and look at your blog. Its not encouraging, welcoming or warming. How is that for being a witness?

Ben Peterson said...

Your right about Christians not being loved by the world. Jesus was pretty clear about that.
Your list of unbeliever-believer characteristics, however, is a bit idealistic. Let me explain. The characteristics of the believer are ones that we must work at every day. It is the salvation of our souls that must be worked out. Ideally, we will all be like this one day. This, however, is a lifetime journey of being yoked with Jesus.
One last thing. I don't agree with the last statement about needing to be born again. You are talking about Christians here, and this suggest that some christians need to be born again. This is not right. They probably need to be woking out the salvation of their soul. If they have believed in and confessed the name and work of Jesus their spirits are born again, and I think it would be very prideful to assume that any of us, this side of heaven, have fully worked out the salvation of our souls and no longer ever struggle with the desires of the flesh.

Ben Peterson said...

Eli,
I just wanted to reaffirm that I agree with the main theme of this blog. I just wanted to comment on a couple things that, in my opinion, could be presented a little better, or thought out a little more.

Eli said...

"...many beleivers are worse people than unbelievers."

Like you, Andrew. You are not speaking like a Christian at all. In your comment you not only swore, but you exploded trying to justify your flimsy argument. You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29).

When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ what will you say then? "Lord Lord, they said I was a cool person?" Those same people in hell will hate you forever for spending 8 years with them but never showing them the truth. The truth is: They are sinners, they need a savior. They don't need another buddy, they have plenty of those. They need truth, not more fun and games.

Entertainment is the substitute for God's joy. Brother, you would not need to entertain your flesh if you had the joy of the Lord in your heart. You ought to get serious about the Bible and repent and say "Jesus, I consecrate my life to You." This is the only thing that matters, Andrew, when you breath your last.

Ben, I appreciate your comment, but I won't take it back. I feel it is time that people get shaken. There are many people in the church that need to hear: "You must be born again."

Blessings to you both.

Anonymous said...

I have a question that has been bothering me for quite some time. I am a very active person, I enjoy physical activity, i.e. sports, work etc. I have a very low attention span which I'm assuming is a result of this. Some would call it ADHD but that's just an excuse to pump people full of Ridalin. Anyway, I struggle to read the Word, i disciplin myself to at least twice a day but even what I read does not remain in me. Similarly when I listen to sermons I find my mind wandering to completly different places. I have given this over to GOd again and again in prayer and have talked to others about it with no result. My question is: Is this a sin? Is it wrong not to be completly enthralled by the scriptures when I hear them or to desire to listen to teachings? I love to discus the bible with others and to practicaly apply what I read but I'm just no good at sitting still. Is this the way God desired me to be, or the way the world has changed me? This is probably quite incoherrent because typing is something else lack of attention span affects.

Ben Peterson said...

Maybe you missed what I meant. No one can be born again and again. If you've done it, you've done it. If not, then yes, you must be born again. Yes, there are people that attend church buildings that must be born again, but there are no, I repeat NO, Christians that must be born again. That's like saying to someone who is alive "hey, you need to be born!" No he doesn't, that already happened. He may be sick, maybe even to the point of death, but he has already been born. Christians that are not living like it need to work out the salvation of their souls, not be born again.

confused said...

I have a question that has been bothering me for quite some time. I am a very active person, I enjoy physical activity, i.e. sports, work etc. I have a very low attention span which I'm assuming is a result of this. Some would call it ADHD but that's just an excuse to pump people full of Ridalin. Anyway, I struggle to read the Word, i disciplin myself to at least twice a day but even what I read does not remain in me. Similarly when I listen to sermons I find my mind wandering to completly different places. I have given this over to GOd again and again in prayer and have talked to others about it with no result. My question is: Is this a sin? Is it wrong not to be completly enthralled by the scriptures when I hear them or to desire to listen to teachings? I love to discus the bible with others and to practicaly apply what I read but I'm just no good at sitting still. Is this the way God desired me to be, or the way the world has changed me? This is probably quite incoherrent because typing is something else lack of attention span affects.

onfused said...

oops i may have done it twice. Sorry

Eli said...

Dear Ben, I agree completely with you. A person does not have to be born again again. But you missed the point of the article. I was addressing those who say they are born again but do not have the new heart and new spirit that desires the things of God.

It's one thing to desire after the Lord but struggle, and it's another thing to find the things of God repulsive. I have been speaking to the latter.

Eli said...

Dear precious 'confused',

The Lord has given you a rose with a thorn on it, brother! God has made you the way you are, He has given you a gift to be active in service, a gift which is scarce in the Church today. However, we do know that the Lord wants us to meditate in His Word, and allow it to dwell in us richly, as well as in prayer, offering petitions and intercessions for one another. I do believe, brother, that this needs to be overcome.

But be of good courage! Is the arm of the Lord too short? I have heard of illiterate men reading the Word of God! Surely the Lord can give you strength in this area, just as He gives grace to everyone who asks for help (and we all do). The Bible teaches us that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) What you must do is ask the Lord Jesus by faith to give you the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of peace. Ask as you shall receive, dear brother.

Be anxious for nothing. You should start by pondering the passage of Philippians 4:8-9, also verses 11-13. I pray that God will bless you and strengthen you, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

God bless you,
-Eli

Matt Man said...

Hey, this is Matt, a friend of TC. Anyways I just wanted to say it's a pretty sweet blog.

Matt Man said...

What does it mean when you say "I have been speaking to the latter."

Nick McCaig said...

Andrew: "Attempting to argue that Christians who seek fun are not 'the ones seeking God' is absurd." Andrew I believe that when you truly begin to seek God then you no longer have the desire to seek fun. I'm talking from my experience, I'm the kid who used to dress up in the funniest wierdest clothes and go out and have fun and want to make people laugh and be the center of attention. Even as a Christian I desired that attention. But when i truly sat down and began to seek the Lord I began to have no desire to seek fun. I'm completely changed from who I was, I don't want to attract attention to myself by being 'fun' or acting foolish because that would discredit me when I want to be serious and share the Word of God. I believe when you really begin to seek after God then you stop seeking after fun. Like I said before, I know. I'm the one who sits home friday nights and reads my bible, i'm the one who reads my bible in class (at a high school) and at noon hour, I'm the one who reads my Bible on my break at Tim Hortons... I'm the one who quit hockey and lacrosse because it wasn't serving God. See I stopped desiring to have fun and started to desire the Lord. I am a completely different person then I was even last September which was only like 5 months ago. I don't desire to have fun anymore, and those who begin to walk the path the Jesus already took will feel the same change. I'm talking about straight on the path not, how far can I leave the path but still keep it in sight just in case.

Confused: Keep pressing into the Lord, always ask Him to open your eyes and let you see, to open your ears and let you hear, to open you mind and heart and let you know and understand. The Lord will pour out gifts abundantly once you truly desire to change... You want to read your Bible more? Then desire to do it make it your will to do it and then God will pour out the strength for it.

Everyone else who complains against Eli: Stop, many of us need to be awoken to God. If we didn't have people like Eli to actually step up and point out where we are lacking then I think the western church would be in far worse shape then it is. Can you not see that if we aren't challenged with different scripture and hard words we will never grow... The prophets of the Old Testament yelled for the people to repent, their messages were never easy they stepped up and said we need to change now. Don't be like the Israelites and walk away and not accept the challenging words, take these challenging words and meditate on them and if you are convicted then change.

Ben: I agree that once a Man accepts Christ into his heart he is born again, but there are many people who are dying in their new life and they need to loosen the grip of satan and began to live according to the new life that they were born into.

Eli: I applaud you on your posts (past a present) You've challenged me and made me think many times. You've corrected my path and made me see the right way on more then one occassion. This post has challenged me further to COMPLETELY die to myself and have Christ and Christ alone in my body. It has challenged me to live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

Coward said...

Nick, are you saying that God wants us to lead robotic lives?

Would you ever challenge Eli on any of his ideas, as opposed to you always being challenged by Eli? Perhaps he is wrong in some of his ideas. After all, he is human, and prone to error just like the rest of us. His "challenging words" may be inaccurate, and just like any other type of radical thought, these ideas should be carefully weighed before you instantly follow them.

Is our God-given personality evil? Is every type of fun evil?
Can there be any fun that is not sinful?
If the answer to the above question is "no", then what is fellowship all about? Could it possibly be "fun"?

In addition, there are different literary devices used in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. Much of it is written as history and poetry. Are you interpreting all of it literally, when perhaps it isn't all meant to be taken the same way?
You seemed to be influenced by Greek Dualist thought. God gave us our flesh, and he has already conquered our sin by His death on the cross. It is not an ongoing battle between our souls and our "ungodly flesh", because the battle has already been won. Although sin should not be given into, our flesh is not "bad" and "to be denied completely".
I don't think that God accidentally gave us bodies; otherwise, He would have been content simply to create pre-programmed souls.

coward said...

This is going to be interesting. I'm anxiously awaiting some scripture to be quoted out of context...

Eli said...

Mattman,

Hello friend, glad you have found your way onto this blog and are gleaning from it. I pray it would always be a blessing.

When I said "I am speaking to the latter" I meant that in my post I was addressing those people who find the things of God repulsive. Whenever a writer uses the word 'latter' he/she is referring to the last thing written. (ie. blue and black... black being the latter).


Nick,

Thank you brother for the encouraging words. I agree completely with everything you said about your old life/new life. People would be wise to heed what you have said. God bless you brother!


Coward (I like the name),

Friend, I am sorry to say but I believe you need to have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. All your arguments have been void of Scripture and you have been just trying to justify yourself regardless of the Bible. I said Christians must be like Jesus and you intrepret this by saying that means everyone must become a robot. You DO NOT know the Lord Jesus or else you are not thinking straight.

I am 100% open to being challenged and rebuffed, however, in doing so you must show me in the Scripture where I am wrong, and so far you have failed to do so... and this is because I have said nothing wrong. Let the Word dwell in you richly, brother.

"You doctrine can be as straight as a gun barrel and just as empty." - Leonard Ravenhill

Do you know about God or do you KNOW God?

Nick McCaig said...

First I need to add something to my previous comment which I neglected to share. When I say I no longer desire to have 'fun', I mean the 'fun' that Andrew spoke of. When I stopped desiring to have this fun my definition of fun changed, I now have fun when I gather with fellow Christians and learn about Christ, or when I worship or when I read my Bible all the time.

Coward: 'are you saying that God wants us to lead robotic lives?'

No, i'm saying (and along with my correction above it will make sense) that my definition of fun changed from what Andrew spoke of to what I just said above.

'Would you ever challenge Eli on any of his ideas, as opposed to you always being challenged by Eli?'

First I should point out that I said 'I applaud you on your posts (past and present)' That simply means I agree with his posts because they are all backed up Biblically. Whether or not I would ever challenge any of his ideas is outside of our discussion.


'Is our God-given personality evil?'

No, I would say that our God-given personality is not being used the way it is meant to and that can be evil.

'Is every type of fun evil?'

No, like I said above when i added to what I said, my definition of fun simply changed. Now the fun Andrew spoke of, is that evil? I some of it, but some of it I find unneccessary to involve myself in.

'Can there be any fun that is not sinful?'

Like I said in the question previous to this one, the definition of fun changes. And the fun Andrew spoke, there is some of it that is not sinful such as playing sports, I simply don't desire it.

'If the answer to the above question is "no", then what is fellowship all about?'

My answer wasn't no, but I will still tell what fellowship is all about. Fellowship is when 2 or more people gather to worship, praise, or simply discuss things of God.

'Could it possibly be "fun"?'

Yes, I find now that praying, reading the Bible, worshipping, discussing, teaching, evangelising, preaching, etc. is fun when I do it with fellow believers.

Are you interpreting all of [the Bible] literally, when perhaps it isn't all meant to be taken the same way?'

"All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness"(2 Timothy 3:16) I was simply attempting to teach using scripture.

malachiministry.blogspot.com

Logic said...

Coward's point about you people being influenced by Greek Dualist thought is a good one. Unfortunately you are all so uneducated you don't even know what he means.

I totally agree that Eli should be challenged on all of his claims to ensure the truth or falsity of them.

Eli said:
"You DO NOT know the Lord Jesus or else you are not thinking straight"

Eli, your arrogance is disturbing. How can you say such things? Do you know whose name is written in the book of life? Do you think you are Jesus? Last I checked, only Jesus knows who is saved and who is not with the type of authority you speak with. You have no evidence to make such statements.

This entire line of argument is saddening. To think that people are robbed of the joys of living due to leagalistic masochism that they falsely believe gets them into heaven.

Fun is a good thing. Worshipping God is a better thing. But God made us such that we can enjoy the created things; just not more than we enjoy the creator. I know Andrew, he is a Christian, and he has an excellent evangelistic reach to people who many of you wouldn't associate with. Sure, he's not perfect, but do you think condemning him as unsaved will bring him closer to God?

And last time I checked, it doesn't say that "shit" is a swear word anywhere in the Bible.


-Logic

Nick McCaig said...

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:1-3)

Please brother don't call people uneducated, or tell me that I suffer from Greek Dualist thoughts.

What does 'masochism' (which is sexual gratification caused by physical or emotional pain) have to do with any thing that we are talking about? Explain please

Nick McCaig said...

I think some forms of fun are okay, but many of the things considered 'fun' (ex: drinking, sex, violent sports/games) in the present time aren't always good for the believer, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that "everything is permissable for me but not everything is beneficial".

In my first comment I was only telling you what God is doing in my life. Keep that in mind please.

Logic if we are going to keep discussing please show me the backing for your stand with the Bible. That is all I know to be truth. All I see in the Bible is holiness and all I see in the world is worldliness, so if I live in the Bible then I will be holy and if I live in the world I will be worldly. So please use the Bible in your backing or I won't be able to find the truth in your words.

God bless.

Eli said...

Logic, please take this in the most gentle way: Your last post was ridiculous.

"Unfortunately you are all so uneducated you don't even know what he means."

This is a terrible thing to say and the type of thing Jesus would get upset over. It's the "educated" people that have a puffed up look at the world. You ought to learn some humility before your pride will lead you to a fall. I thank God that He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. He does it everyday and will do it again. In this Jesus greatly rejoiced (Luke 10:21). You ought to meditate long and hard on that passage.

"Last I checked, only Jesus knows who is saved and who is not with the type of authority you speak with."

You are wrong again, and it is because of your lack of Bible knowledge. The Bible instructs believers to make judgment about who is of the faith and who is not (1 Corinthians 5:9-13, 6:1-6). There are too many Scriptures to go through with you on this. You are speaking right from a man made doctrine that you have learned growing up. People, start reading your Bible for what it says and not for what your denomination says! A tree is known by it's fruit.

"And last time I checked, it doesn't say that "shit" is a swear word anywhere in the Bible."

This statement shows you are blind. What a lame excuse to swear! In the Bible days in Israel they used words like "Racca" and today where we live we use other words... unclean words, friend. If society looks down on these words, why would we use them? Out of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). If there is a sewer in your heart there is a potty in your mouth. Come on and listen to your conscience!

Ah, Logic, I must say since you've come on the blog you have proved (to me at least) that you have nothing more than a big head and a shrunken heart. You have not shown compassion or humility, but with your knowledge you have spoken with haughty lips. Do not say "Don't judge!" I do, and you do well to examine yourself and LEARN OF JESUS, for He is meek and lowly of heart. (Matthew 11:29).

God bless you.
-Eli

Graham said...

I think everyone needs to step back for a moment and reflect on what is going on here. I am by no means wise by either earthly or heavenly standards, however I can see when discussions turn from seeking knowledge to a battle of pride.
Logic, I don't think I know you but it would seem that you seek the mind of God. That's awsome, keep it up, but don't let your quest for understanding over whelm your desire for God's heart as well. Love is key to understanding they ways of God, Who is love. When that love fills your life, all other things will fall into place. Because I don't know you this may not apply, but I think it is a lesson for all of us to listen to.
Nick and Coward, God created this earth for man to enjoy and look out for, so loving the creation is acceptable or else God would have created man in sin when he placed him in the Garden of Eden. But if we love the creation more than the creator, that's where we see problems. If your grandfather builds you a canoe, do you love him less if you take it out on the water and enjoy the gift? No, but if you begin to love that canoe and avoid your grandfather, he will say "Why did I ever give him that in the first place?" The earth is the same way, it is a gift from God, do not waste it. But do not place it above Him WHo has Given it. (God tells us not to waste gifts, be they spiritual, or earthly)
Eli, Brother, I admire your courage to stand up for the name of Christ. Where everyone else is talking, you are acting upon the commands that we all receive. Everyone here could learn a thing or two from your commitment, but, be careful, a see a rising sense of pride in your words. Your words resemble those of paul in his various letters. But remember, Paul knew who he was addressing. He had spent time with each church and person he wrote to, so could offer advice and rebuke on a personal level that was relevent to them. It looks like you are attempting this same thing from a blog site. it doesn't work in the same way, the scriptures are universal yes, but people are individuals who God is working with on a personal level. This site is fine for addressing big issues but it does not work when trying to deal with people you haven't met. The great men of God Nicky Cruz, Hudson Taylor, Keith Green and others, went through moments when their pride of success and scriptures limited their effectiveness. I see that in your words on this site, I just want you to be careful.
Like I said at the beggining, I'm not the cleverest of people. many of the things I've said could be way off, but I do know that wherever anger and pride emerge, God's voice will be lost. Stop getting angry at Eli for action, it is fine to question him about motives etc, but do not get upset because you disagree over small things. Use his courage as an example that many Christians need to follow. We must get off our chairs if we want to be effective for jesus Christ.

Graham

P.S. Once again sorry if you disagree wit hthe filler. All i want is for people to stop bikering and work to further the kingdom.

Eli said...

Thank you Graham, good word. God bless you brother.

Nick McCaig said...

Thank you Graham. God bless.