So Be Careful How You Live
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:15-17
Ephesus was a great city, among the top cities in the known world. If we likened Ephesus to a country it could have been the United States of America. In other words, Ephesus was an influencer, right there at the top. So important was Ephesus that Paul spent three years of his ministry in a rented room teaching there. It was a pivotal location that birthed churches throughout Asia Minor.
The last time he visited his friends in Ephesus his heart was very concerned, not only for them, but for what could become of them if they weren’t careful. He said:
“[So] guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood – over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.” Acts 20:28-30
America, and the world for that matter, is in a season of rapid cultural and moral decline. Things are being done and being written into law that would have been considered fiction a few generations ago. Yet its happening – fast. Many feel like it will be okay in the end, though, because most adults in the country are Christian, something like 70%. But are they?
Has Christianity be co-opted in the past few generations and come to be defined differently than what God originally intended? What Paul taught night and day back in Ephesus? The simplicity of Christ, that God loves people and has offered adoption as children of God, through the victory of Christ Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The radical gospel of dying to self and Christ living in and through us.
Someone observed that Christianity in the west has become something different than this. That it has devolved into a kind of moral, therapeutic deism*. Is the following a generally accurate description of Christianity?
Moral – God wants us to be nice to people and for people to be nice to each other.
Therapeutic – God wants us to be happy and feel good about ourselves.
Deistic – God is up in heaven and isn’t really involved in the world unless there is a crisis in which we plead for Him to intervene – so we can feel good about things again.
This simplistic definition of modern Christianity seems pretty accurate. Because it leaves plenty of room for the Christians – the 70% of adults in America, to be just as materialistic, selfish and independent as the rest of the culture. And, leaves plenty of room to choose any political slant that suits your personal bias and convince yourself that God is on your side.
But that’s not Jesus. That’s not the Good News. That’s not why Christ died for you. Dear one, you have been bought with a price, with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He redeemed you to make you whole, make you a joint heir with Christ, to hide your life in Him. Do not cheapen that grace by living with worldly passions. Consider your ways – be careful how you live.
*See “The Benedict Option” by Rod Dreher