The Chasm Between…
September 11th, 2019
Praying about what to write about today, I found my mind wandering into the contrasts between believers and those who turn away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are of course the obvious ones which are stereotypical from the standpoint of the Christian and accepted as norms of freedom for the lost enslaved by sin.
Rather than go down those paths of discussion, I’d much rather look at some things that may not be quite as obvious to more than a casual observer.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (CSB)
What a stark contrast is drawn by what drives the belief system of the non-believer and the follower of Jesus. That almost sounds contradictory, but it is true. Those we call non-believers for lack of a better term are actually believers. It’s not the absence of belief that makes them ‘non’-believers, it is what their faith is based on.
The Christian base their belief, hope and trust, on a single thing; faith. We have faith in Jesus and what He has done for us. This faith has absolutely no basis in what we see. It begins with a seed of understanding that we are sinful creatures, and someone very special, the very Son of God, gave Himself for us so that we can be set free from our bondage of sin.
The ‘non-believer’ puts faith in that which they can see touch smell and taste. Virtually every form of disobedience to God is based on these senses. The adulter desires to ‘feel’ something they perceive is missing. So many other sins are based on the understanding that we deserve something when we may or may not, but because we think we do, it justifies a multitude of graft and corruption to secure it.
And the very irony of this is that we aren’t securing anything when we gather things to ourselves, we merely illustrate the depravity of self. Eventually all that is gather, dwindles, corrodes, and fades away.
For this very reason Jesus told us…
“Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:19-21 (CSB)
Speaking of heart, our passions and desires are drastically different, yet deceptively similar.
In general, the passion for family and friends, devotion to those who are close to us is common to both groups. But step up to the critically important things for these two and you will see self-elevated to the top by the non-believer, while the true believer is seeking God and His Kingdom in any way they may.
“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:31-34 (CSB)
Again, straight from the lips of Jesus, Christians are exhorted not to worry about the physical needs of this world; “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Make God and His kingdom top priority and all the things that are needed will be added to you.
Christians aren’t to live on the ‘gold standard’, we are to live on the ‘golden rule’ standard, and do for others as we would have them do for us!
Show me a ‘Christian’ who is self-indulgent, self-promoting, and self-interested and I will show you a Christian separated from their first love.
When we are charged to forsake all others and follow Jesus; and yet find ourselves gorging in self-gratification; we have lost our way.
The other major area that we don’t really consider all that obvious is the difference between joy and happiness.
The founders of the Constitution of the United States of America likely saw no harm in assuring us the right to pursue our happiness.
Seeking happiness is not a bad thing, but it can be very hollow. It can be very temporary. It is a very fleeting thing. It doesn’t require a lot to turn a state of happiness into a state of distress.
So, in a culture where it is all about one’s gratification and what ‘makes you happy’, we find that millions of people are chasing a fleeting objective that never lasts.
If you want endurance, better to seek joy and better yet seek the ‘joy of the Lord!’
Joy isn’t based on passing or trivial stimulus and occupation. Joy is best grown in peace and trust.
For he will conceal me in his shelter in the day of adversity; he will hide me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. Then my head will be high above my enemies around me; I will offer sacrifices in his tent with shouts of joy. I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Psalms 27:5-6 (CSB)
If you consider the surrounding scripture here it isn’t a bed of roses! If it were not for the faithfulness of the Lord in these times of trouble, there wouldn’t be any joy. But there is joy and it is constant and abiding.
The enemy attempts to take our joy but this joy is always there if we maintain our trust and hope in the Lord and His promises.
There is a massive chasm that lay between “Faith and Non-Belief”. There are certainly many other things that distinguish the life of a follower of Christ from the life of those who have yet to surrender to Him. We are not the world, so don’t try to be like the world. We are here to be a light and a testament to the Glory of the Father and a witness for His Son!
In His Grace!