We live in a world of cultural contradictions. There is a tendency toward self-justification, toward human rationalization and subjective reasoning. Furthermore, there is a strong tendency in our time to accept mediocrity as the standard. Don’t be afraid of that terminology. Let me illustrate.
We are more concerned with how we look than how we are. How often do you see a commercial on television that is designed to make you a better person? Now, how many times do you see a commercial on television designed to make you look better? See what I mean? We just don’t take much time to examine our character; and we take considerable time seeking to find some salve or lotion, some product that will make us handsome or pretty. Getting old is the fate of every person–if he lives long enough- and no amount of lotion or face-lifting is going to change that. But there’s a place where you can be perennially young. Would you like to know how to get there?
We are more concerned with what people think than what God knows. Character and moral fibre seem to me to get very little attention in our time. When you’re about to be photographed, what do you do? You smile, right? We want to best visage we can offer to whoever sees us–whether on Facebook or someone’s iPad. We best give some consideration to what God knows than what others think. His moral x-rays are always irrefutably accurate.
We are more concerned with who we are than what we are. Social acceptance is the quest of our times. That’s what social networks are all about. Their appeal is to that proclivity in man to want to be accepted. A large part of their appeal is that they help one to seek that acceptance–to be known, or to be a part. But they only show people what we want them to see, not what we really are. Please be advised that it’s far more important to find out if you’re acceptable to God than to know whether or not you’re being accepted by your peers. If God knows your name, it doesn’t really matter if no one else does.
We are more concerned with having than with giving. It’s somewhat sad that in today’s society that success is measured by how much of this world’s goods have been accumulated, not by character or moral stances. Consequently, we tend to "fall in line" with the propensity and get in the "get" mood. We get a little; we want a lot. We get a lot; we want a little more. We get a little more; and we want a lot more. We get a lot more and even that isn’t enough. It’s a ceaseless, never-ending cycle. And another thing: when you get on this financial Ferris Wheel, it’s very, very difficult to get off. It captivates you in its ceaseless circular motion.
We are more concerned with the here and now than with the hereafter. People generally push the judgment day out of their minds. It’s not comfortable for most folks to even think about a time when we must give an account to God for how we have lived, and what we have done with our lives. It’s almost embarrassing. It is obvious to us–and is noted rather frequently–that "it is appointed to man once to die." We take note of that every time we read the obituary column in the local newspaper. People are passing, we accept that. We especially recognize it when the television announces that someone famous has passed away. But there’s another part to that sentence: "..and after this, the judgment." We stop at the "it is appointed to man once to die," and immediately dismiss the "..after this, the judgment." Both those appointments are inevitable. There will be a judgment. And just because we put it off to think about some other time–and then only for a moment–that in no way diminishes from the fact that it is coming. For all of us. For each one of us.
Sometimes it’s hard to face reality. We need to take stock of "where we are in relation to where we out to be" (James I’Anson). We need to stop the world and get off–at least long enough to get ourselves back on the right track. And the right track is a spiritual track, not a worldly one. The right track is to be concerned about how we look, but more concerned about how we are. The right track is to be more concerned with what God knows than what people think. The right track is to be more concerned about what we are than who we are. The right track is to be come inclined to give than to get; and the right track is to be more concerned about the hereafter than the here and now. After all that’s where we will spend eternity. Every one of us.
Please read Philippians 1:9-20 and see what is the more excellent way.