Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Hedge around us: Life can be bright when we live right

Presumptuous. That's what some are!  People expect for things to be hunky dory when little time is spent communing with God. Bad news for those who fail to obey God: The ruler of this world is Satan and his is not a world of "hunky dory"!

John 12:31 "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."

Yes, the earth's royalty is the devil. We know from Revelations who this "prince" is. The devil shall be cast into a lake of fire.  Satan is the same dark angel who makes life go awry. Satan's chosen profession is to create strife. His modus operandi is to trivialize Jesus in the life of mortals.  Living a life for God puts a "hedge" around a Christian (There is no hedge for pagans).

Job 1:9 "Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face."

It would appear that God protects the righteous by putting up a barrier (hedge) between the godly and Satan. God will never let a Chrisitan bear more than can be stood.

1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
First off, the devil is the one who tempts. He does it by deception. He is the author of lies. When a person chooses sin that person is responding positively to the lies of Satan. In a moment the sinner places the pleasure promised by Satan above the joy of righteousness promised by God. From there, until a person repents, Satan makes lives miserable so that God gets the blame!
In an episode of Seinfeld George Constanza's world fell apart. He called on God. Jerry said "I thought you don't believe in God." George said "I do when bad things happen!"  That's a truism if there are any! When things disintegrate in life God gets the blame, When things go well, there are few thoughts of God. It's actually the other way around. When things go badly it's the devil's doing. God allows the devil (just a he did for Job) to tempt and put up barriers to righteousness. Job, in the face of terrible calamities, stayed righteous!  All the terrible things which happened to him was the devil doing his job. God allows his servants to undergo temptation to show that they love him. Job loved God!
In my personal life this happened to me!  I announced one Sunday to my Sunday School Class that I was teaching on Satan the following week. Call me crazy, but I'm sure it was he, for the devil placed a thought in my head "Don't condemn me unless you're without spot or wrinkle." First off, I don't talk to myself in the third person. Secondly, the thought scared me terribly. I knew then as I do now that I do have sin in my life. I went ahead and taught the class against Satan, but for a long period of time, perhaps over a year, my life was full of catastrophes.  God didn't wreak havoc in my life. He allowed he devil a certain amount of leeway. The hedge was removed to test my faithfulness.
Now, what if I'm a Christian and  fail to include God in my daily living? Perhaps God cuts that hedge a little to allow some temptation, some that I can bear. Satan, seeing that gap in God's hedge starts the attack. Everything, it seems, goes wrong!  The Holy Spirit, our comforter, "checks" us. We feel guilt for what we do. We have two choices as free agents when we feel guilty. We can subconsciously admit that the guilt we feel is lost in the pleasure we're having or we can abhor the sinking feeling of guilt so much that we change our behavior. The latter is God working in our lives.
God expects change! The sinner is to quit sinning, but not only that, but the Christian who sins is to live more Christlike!  Not doing Christlike activities are sins of omission. If a Christian fails to worship God, fails to pray, stays out of God's house, and fails to consider God's will, then that person is sinning just as surely as the fornicator.  What's more, sins of omission are coupled with sins of commission! Once God is a vague remnant of the Christian's life it becomes easy to live a sinful life. When not in communion with God the Christian fails to respond to guilt (the work of the Spirit) and sins as a lifestyle. It's not long until a person's heart becomes calloused to the will of God and the Holy Spirit "shakes the dust off His feet" so to speak! That hedge is cut down and you're on your own with the wiles of the devil.
God is certainly more powerful than the devil. Whereas Satan has only some leeway to act, God is omnipotent. What that means is that the devil doesn't stand a chance with God, but if that hedge is removed and you're on your own, "good luck" because that's all you have. Satan doesn't obey "luck" but he is subservient to God!
Oh, when your world is falling apart, what must a person do? CHANGE.  "Change" has two directions! The direction is of your own free will. God doesn't make you live for him. However, God provides hope. The "change" desired by God is that you live a more holy life. It's obvious that the other direction is increased rebellion against God. It's your choice, but "for me and my household, I choose God!"

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