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Friday, April 27, 2012

Adolescent Milestones: Dating, Biblical Reflections

     The Apostle Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth but he could be writing to us today. The problem is exactly the same and so is the solution.

“…some people … think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
(II. Corinthians 10:2-5 NIV)

The Problem:
     Okay, here is the problem: As Christians, we are living in this world but shouldn’t be acting like we embrace its standards. As Jesus told us, we are not a part of this world. It is not our permanent residence. Basically, we have a job to do and when it is finished, we’re out of here. The sobering thing is that how we choose to live here will determine just where our permanent residence will be. That’s the simple truth; there’s no guesswork involved.

     God doesn’t want us to follow the standards of this world, which vary with each generation or cultural change. God has set boundaries for the creation He has made and the rules are the same for everyone. The rules the world puts out there are a set-up to deceive you into thinking there are no rules. Oh so wrong. That’s like saying, “Here is the new 22nd Century, super-charged, all-new software programs and hardware systems, right here in this colorful little box. Oh, BTW there is no assembly booklet or owner’s manual.” Duh, who would buy such a thing? Somewhere there is a manual or it is worthless. Exactly! The Bible is the owner’s manual. The Creator wrote it and gave it to us so we would know how to keep things working smoothly for the full time the manufacturer guaranteed.

     The Apostle Paul is saying that the whole deal is a war for our minds. We are trying to combat the problems with the same weapons the world uses and that will never work for us. We can’t out produce the competitor’s heathen things, be it materialistic stuff we can’t afford and don’t really need, or stronger drugs to combat illnesses that come as a result of practices the Creator’s manual for us warns against. We will never be able to find enough drugs to keep on top of the epidemics of sexually-transmitted illnesses, never be able to find a way to kill unborn babies that no one seems to want without great consequences to the mother, and we will never find a way to replace the lost innocence of youth that the internet pornography has stolen either by availability to the kids or by sexual acts inflicted upon them by those viewing such harmful images.

The Solution:
     The Apostle Paul is saying the war is a spiritual one not a physical one. We can win it if we work on obeying the Lord, standing boldly for the principles of the Bible in everyday life with our peers, and use His power and might. Only then can we bring down the strongholds that are capturing our minds.  We can determine to take charge of our thoughts and not let them roam just any old place they might choose. Rein them back in. Commit your mind to Godly thoughts and refuse to entertain anything that isn’t.

     Oh, but that’s too hard; I’m sure I can’t do that, you say? If you want to do it, God will help you. Last week I shared a Scripture that proves God is willing to help you. It’s easy to remember because it is exactly one book before this one in the Bible. Above is II. Corinthians 10 telling you to not accept the standards of this world and I. Corinthians 10 tells you God is there to help you. Here it is again:

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

     God recognizes you will be tempted but He will provide a way out of the temptations before you sin, if only you will take it. Ask Him, then let Him help you resist the destructive standards of this world.

     “Well, Sojourner, the thing is that all of this was written like so long ago. Probably the situation was different way back then.”
     Oh, but I am glad you said that! Let’s see just how alike things are today from the time of Christ. We will look at one city, the name of which is even the same today as before Christ was born.

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