Pet. 1:13 (MSG) – They were told that these things would not happen during their lifetime, but many years later, during yours. And now this Good News has been announced by those who preached to you in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. 13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ.
One of the things that deeply troubles me is the apparent loss of the ability to think critically about moral issues (and I include myself in that indictment). Whether Christians want to admit it or not, much of our thought processes have been co-opted by materialism, socialism, liberalism and even animism. Tragically, most Christians don’t believe it has happened to them – and that’s another cause for deep concern. Once we are blinded, we can’t see the truth, especially about ourselves.
Ideas have consequences. That thought was not lost on Teddy Roosevelt nearly 100 years ago. In 1917, American soldiers were about to sail across the Atlantic to the war fields of Belgium and France in WWI. The New York Bible Society asked Roosevelt to put a message into the pocket New Testaments that each soldier would receive. The President eagerly complied, and he did so by calling for a life of balance, leading off with Micah 6:8: He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you; but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. He then told the soldiers that “the whole teaching of the NT” was foreshadowed in that verse, encouraging them to lead the world in “word and deed” through impeccable moral uprightness.
He went on to explain: “Do justice; and therefore fight valiantly against those that stand for the reign of Moloch and Beelzebub on this earth. Love mercy; treat your enemies well; succor the afflicted; treat every woman as if she were your sister; care for the little children; and be tender with the old and helpless. Walk humbly; you will do so if you study the life and teachings of the Savior, walking in His steps.
“Remember: the most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation from destruction if there is not within us a soul No abounding of material prosperity shall avail us if our spiritual senses atrophy. The foes of our own household will surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which finds its outward expression in a morality like that preached by the seers and prophets of God when the grandeur that was Greece and the gory that was Rome still lay in the future.”
Roosevelt was certain that even with the deployment of superior forces in superior numbers with superior armaments, the American armies would ultimately be defeated during the war if they took to the field bereft of this kind of worldview integrity. The best that we have to offer will be insufficient if it is compromised by bad ideas. What we have to offer is the gospel of Jesus – let’s not pollute the truth of morality or righteousness that He taught with bad ideas of human origin!
PRAYER: Lord, there is a way that seems right to us – but help us remember that it leads to destruction. Let us learn that if something seems right to us, that is a warning sign that is probably isn’t Your way or will for us because of how easily we are deceived by our own desires! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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