Useless Pursuit :: By Edwin Tan

The Apostle Paul was very clear about his godly leanings in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, and this he stated in the second chapter, verses 4 to 6.

“But we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness – God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.”

Some forty-plus or more years ago, there would not be much difficulty finding pulpits that mirrored the stance of Paul – preachers of the Word who diligently placed God over the whims and fancy of those in the pews. There was little fear of whatever hints of disapproval that could emanate from the congregation. Like it or not, the bitter medicine was for His glory and ultimately the eventual benefit of its recipients – even if considerable discomfort was encountered. No questions asked.

Some people freaked out and deserted the pews; wherever they went would be anyone’s guess! But there were those who realized the value of an unadulterated education where souls were concerned. Call it a process of toughening up in the spiritual sense. Most importantly, it all boiled down to pleasing God and nobody else. Following His statutes and commandments, more joys than pains doing so because this is the only pathway to the peace that surpasses all human understanding. Oh yes! The peace of mind that comes from the realization that God is in control of all situations, which enables the trusting individual to lead a victorious life free from undue stress!

A lot of people that have started off trusting the Lord and are still doing so are very likened to steady vessels regardless of the sailing conditions. This being the case even in these trying moments of the pandemic plus its heinous fallout. Yet a lot of these folk are aghast at the sight of a troublesome and truly spiritually unwholesome trend – swathes of men- pleasers! Not just sitting in the pews but standing in the pulpits.

Enter churches that might wield financial muscle but are close to tottering under the weight of increasing depravity. Depravity that feeds on that me-first mantra. Teachings and sound advice from Holy Writ were systematically replaced by worldly wisdoms. Stuff spewing out from charlatans from the New Age stressing on the self versus God. Purely ceremonial became quite the practice that cloaked the true intent; subtle brainwashing drove the unthinking crowds toward putting creation above the Creator. When faith in the Lord is snuffed out of a church, it is very much like a sheep pen minus the guardian sheep dog. Heightened vulnerability only makes the enemy very happy. Why so? The answer is clearly stated in Matthew 6:24.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

From the above passage of the Good News, there is no way God can work on an equal footing with His creation. He has to remain supreme; but once this order is scuttled, there is just room for the enemy to wreak havoc, largely through confusion that is energized by misinformation. Cunningly making falsehoods appear to be the truth. All through ignorance, this negative thrives in an environment devoid of Scriptural truths but laden with heaps of myths. When the Holy Spirit is not welcomed, then the seducing spirits are given a virtual welcome mat!

Herein lies a very serious problem. Man is light years away from the might and glory of the Creator. The Maker of mankind is omnipresent, omnipotent and infinite in resources. Flesh is not only limited in numerous aspects but sporting a vulnerability that is grossly underestimated. Without the grace and mercy of the Heavenly Father, all flesh can only end up as virtual playthings of the wicked one. Capable of conning while being duped, hating while stoking angst in others, and the propensity to pedal every vile thing – all that for everybody to see. Pretty pathetic! Things could have been a whole lot worse if not for the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary. If not for the Son of God, all humanity would be doomed!

Why be so sanguine to put everything on that which is truly fallible and tagged with limitations, no matter how awesome the outward show might be? Things of earth are breakable in spite of pen and paper, but with the Lord, His invisible Hand will make what He has said become hard reality.

There is absolutely no gain in seeking high approval ratings from flesh and blood. In spite of this, there are imperfections that will lead to disappointment and anger. Hatred stemming from envy will abound; sometimes it is even evident at deathbeds. The large numbers at a wake could suggest the greatness of the dearly departed. However, does this matter to the Righteous Judge? One thing is very clear in Jeremiah 17:5-6.

“Thus says the Lord; Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord, For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.”

We undoubtedly live in a time where evil is ramping up and the wicked one is close to being on a rampage. Scary to those who put everything in the hands of created beings and their earthly products. But when God is at the helm of your life, fear not. He can only be capable of loving and blessing so long as you walk closely with Him.

Yours in Christ


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