Thursday, May 12, 2016

Moral Compass

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”—Romans 12:2

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace …”—1 Corinthians 14:33a

Processing what is going on in the world is something that takes its toll on my spirit. So much of what takes place in my generation goes against what I know to be true, right, and dare I say logical? Confusion abounds. Media loves to add to this cacophony for their own profit, which makes the discussion among the masses often one of contention rather than polite discourse.

Sometimes the best help for me as I process these thoughts is having an open and judgment-free space and a willing ear. I can then lay it all out there and sit back and listen to the wisdom of those I love and respect, who themselves desire to walk with God in a way that pleases Him. Many times when I share my thoughts with others in this way, God brings me peace in the midst of the confusion, by recalibrating my mind on what is true, kind, noble, of good report, pure, etc. (Philippians 4:8).

Recently, I have had two such open spaces, one with my dear husband and another with my close friend. Both of them hit the “Cassy-sharing-is-caring” jackpot when I burst out of my seams with some of what confuses and bothers me about the world we live in. I really needed to understand how God sees what’s going on in our world and how to move forward in that understanding, both personally and spiritually. How do I approach living in the world but not being of the world as a parent, a relative, a friend, but most of all, as a Christian? How would Jesus act and react to these goings on today and how should we, as His ambassadors on earth (1 Corinthians 5:21), express to others what He would do?

My desire is to be Christ-like in the face of such confusion—not to condemn those who I believe are making choices contrary to God’s Word, some of whom are truly soul-searching and trying to find a place and a voice in this world. I know Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:17). So, should someone ask my opinion on this or that matter, I could lovingly speak the truth of God’s Word into their hearts (Ephesians 4:15).

As a Christian, I believe the Bible is the Word of God and the final authority for all my decisions in faith and life. So, I am to make decisions as best as I know how based upon God’s Word, and not what Christians refer to as the “world’s standard” or doing what I think is right in my own eyes.[1] Again, I am not to conform to the world around me but to renew my mind. I do this by reading, studying and meditating on His Word. Through that process, I am transformed in that renewal so that I may prove the perfect will of God.

As God’s people who live in this world but who are not of this world, our “job” as Christians is to offer a lifeline to those who may also be looking for answers in the midst of all the confusion. We are encouraged in Scripture to do this in a winsome manner (1 Timothy 2:23-25). We aren’t to condemn others for making decisions that stand in opposition to what God states in His Word (John 3:17). We aren’t to condemn ourselves or other Christians because of a perceived spiritual failure on our part that opened the gates to whatever confusion exists.[2]

Satan is at work here (Ephesians 6:12). We as Christians need to realize this and not only that, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). I will give you that perhaps whatever “new” thing you may be facing may not have been as open in the past or as talked about as it is today (e.g., our 24-hour news cycle). But I guarantee whatever you and I are struggling to understand has happened in the past and is not new to the world. More importantly, it is not new to God. I find comfort in this thought, because I am so often like a deer caught in headlights and shocked and baffled when confronted by all the new theories that abound about all manner of topics. It heartens me to know, God has seen all this before and He not only has an opinion about it, He has a plan to use it for His glory (Romans 8:28).

The answer to all my heart’s questions is simply this: God’s Word is a steadfast and sure moral compass. It does not change because He does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). Its truth, its principles, its wisdom can be applied to all generations in all types of situations. I have faith in Christ. I believe the Bible to be His Word. And that is my moral compass. He steadies me in the storms of our day and my prayer, my heart’s desire is to reflect Him to others in this world in case they, too, are looking for answers beyond the world’s conclusions. I hope they will see in me someone who has a peace that is beyond human understanding and someone who can explain to them lovingly, kindly, and in truth how they, too, can have God’s peace (Philippians 4:7).

The opposite of His peace is the world’s peace, and it changes daily. One day the world will give you peace, and the next day it will be taken away because of this new study, that knowledgeable person’s opinion or this person’s experience. It’s never the same.

I don’t know about you, but I am desperate for guidance and peace in the midst of all this confusion. If you, too, are looking for direction, I can suggest nothing better than His Word to show you the way. It not only tells us how we can have a peace beyond human understanding, it guides us to our true Compass, Jesus Christ.

1 There are many verses in the Bible about mankind doing right in his or her own eyes and how that is the way to bring troubles upon oneself. The most telling verses on this topic are found in Judges, which is the book of the Bible that is the most descriptive (and frankly, one of hardest books for me to read because of it) of how wicked man can get morally when he is left to his own judgments. (See Deuteronomy 12:8; Judges 17:6; Judges 21:25; Proverbs 12:15.)

2 Don’t get me wrong. We should regularly ask God to show us sin in our lives, personally, and from there confess our sins and repent should God prick our consciences about where we as individuals are not walking with Him. What I am referring to here, however, is a fault-finding spirit that is divisive and not one of unity. One that criticizes and puts down others, especially other believers, instead of lifting and building up. If we as Christians maintain a habit of putting down fellow believers for this or that thing, the world may see us as not having love for one another. And it is this love that Christ commands us to have, so that the world knows we are His disciples, thereby being able to point others to Him (John 13:35).

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