Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Things the Lord Hates, Part 5

Photo Credit: Stallio; Flickr Creative Commons
What is “evil?” How would you define it?

Keeping in mind that ultimately only God is capable of making truly moral judgments, morally speaking, “evil” would seem to be best defined as a person’s actions that in some way violate, or go contrary to, God’s desire for us and our relationship with Him and with others. If we accept that definition, then “evil” becomes something that we do every time that we choose to do something that clearly goes contrary to that which God desires for us. Therefore moral “evil” is anything that God would regard as wrong. As Creator, only God gets to determine exactly what that is, and as Judge, He will have the last word on this.

“Evil” always has its consequences. By way of example, consider a sexually active young teenage girl. Does God approve of her choice of lifestyle? I’m sure that most of us would say, “No.” Will God forgive her if she asks? Most certainly, “Yes.” Still, despite being forgiven, there would remain all sorts of potential consequences for her “evil” choices. She could end up with a sexually transmitted disease, an unwanted pregnancy, disrupted or lost educational opportunities, and who knows whatever else. The consequences of “evil” are that we find ourselves outside of the will of God.

Photo Credit: David Jones; Flickr Creative Commons
“Evil” is what the Bible calls us when we rush into following our own path, without taking the time to consider what God’s path for us might be. “Evil” is when I put myself on the throne of life and relegate God to, at best, only second place. The vanity license plates that say, “God is my co-pilot” illustrates this well. I’ve often wondered if people who have those vanity plates on their cars really know what they’re saying. If they believe God to be only their “co-pilot,” are they then claiming the pilot’s seat for themselves? Is God only playing second fiddle in their lives? If so, then that is “evil.” Solomon said, “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

So where am I going with all this? In this series we have been considering “The Things the Lord Hates.” The fifth thing the Lord hates are, “feet that are quick to rush into evil.”
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness that pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (Proverbs 6: 16-19; NIV)
To listen to some people speak, I sometimes get they impression that they feel that “The Things the Lord Hates” no longer applies to the church. However, every time I hear such things, I always come back to asking, “Has God’s nature changed?” If the answer is, “No,” then somehow this statement still applies to the church. Can Christians be deceived? So long as the Devil remains in the world, “Yes.” Can Christian feet still rush into evil? If we take our eyes off of Jesus, if we fail to walk in the Spirit, then “Yes,” we too are at risk of having feet that rush into evil.

I remember a saying I heard many years ago that went something like this: “If you have no peace on a certain matter, then do nothing.” I think a mistake that many of us make, myself included, is that we often rush ahead of God, even if there is no peace concerning the matter. Then, if we bother to ask for guidance at all, it often seems like we do so only after the fact. Society has us all in such a hurry, that few seem to know what it means to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Have we become pilots of our own lives? Is God even on the same plane, much less in the cockpit and in the pilot’s seat?
What is God’s will concerning you? What is God’s will concerning me? What is near and dear to Heavenly Father’s heart concerning humanity? How would our “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15) have us interact with our neighbors, coworkers, and dare I say, enemies? How would He like us to respond to Jesus, as the only way (John 14:6), or one of many ways? When Jesus said, “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile,” (Matthew 5: 38-42) did He have us in mind too? Or was that written only by way of a suggestion for people from another time and place? Do you and I have that perfect “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7)? If not, then have you ever wondered, why not? If we have a problem here, is that a sign that we may have “feet that are quick to rush into evil?” 

Source Unknown
Thankfully, though the Lord hates those traits in humanity, He also loves us dearly. Just knowing that makes me "want" to walk in a right relationship with him. Just knowing that makes me "want" to be obedient to what He asks of me. This has nothing to do with some twisted form of works righteousness, for we all fall short. Ultimately, it does not "depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy" (Romans 9:16). Does God hate evil? Yes. Does God love me? Yes. Thank you, Jesus.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Anyway, that’s the way I see it. Peace.
In Part 6 we will consider, “a false witness that pours out lies.”

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