Going with the flow
Greetings precious people, I hope that you are doing well today and rejoicing in the goodness of God. In todayís article I would like to address the ever-popular practice of going with the flow. There has always been a few in every generation that made it their practice of not going with the flow. We had the revolutionists of the 1700ís, the abolitionists of the 1800ís, those that protested various wars in history, as well as others that were not willing to go with the popular opinion of their day. Many of these at first were not well accepted by society but were later viewed as heroes. Some were never viewed as heroes.
The area of "Going with the flow" or maybe better put would be to say, "Not going with the flow" is in regards to living the Christian life as the Bible describes it to be. I think that it is important to establish the fact that there is a radical difference between what the Bible, the Word of God has to say concerning what the "Christian life" is and what is commonly thought of as the Christian life by the majority of people today, including many that consider themselves to be Christians.
The term "Christian" was not even used in the early church. It wasnít until after the church had already been established that those that were followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians. In the Book of Acts we read the following, Acts 11:26, "And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." Those that called them Christians were not being polite; they meant it in a derogatory way.
The term Christian would become synonymous with disciple of Christ, which was what followers of Christ were first known as. Lets take a look at what Jesus said constituted being a disciple of His. From the following verses we will see that a disciple / Christian is one who: really believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, not just an intellectual ascent to a truth; trusts the Lord Jesus Christ with all his life; obeys the Lord implicitly; is faithful to Him and His calling on his or her life; perseveres in following Christ; loves the Lord supremely and others unconditionally; has surrendered all to Jesus; and has taken up his or her cross to follow Jesus.
In John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." John 15:7-8, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." John 8:31, "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." Matthew 10:37-39, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." Luke 9:23-27, "Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God."
Do the previous mentioned verses describe your Christian life? Do they seem too radical to you? As you read them, did you find them lining up with what you have always thought the Christian life was, or are they anywhere near what you are living today? If you are a Christian, have a Bible, and go to church, they shouldnít seem radical at all. For they are Jesusí own words for describing what a "True" Christian is.
Now it should be obvious that the person that would choose this life, that there would be conflict in their life as they try to live in this world. Conflict because the world is not going this direction. In fact, it is going the opposite direction. The ways of the world are flowing in one direction and the person that is seeking to live the godly Christian life is going against the flow. Itís like trying to swing up stream.
It should be noted that the Bible tells us that Satan is currently the "god" of this world. We read this in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." It is not that Satan is God, he would like to be, in fact his desire to be God is what got him into the trouble he is in now. Satan is the one that is setting the course of this world now. This is why we are in the mess that we are today. God Almighty will one day put him in his place, but until then, Satan is reeking havoc in the world.
Because Satan is setting the course of this world, anyone that would choose to live the Biblical Christian life would not "fit in". The majority of society would consider them an oddball. Consider if you would just a few examples. Our neighbors to the north of us (Canada) just passed a law recognizing homosexual marriages. Much of the world has applauded this step. Marriage has been redefined by man to fit his perverted mind. It is also against the law in Canada for a pastor speaking on radio, Christian or secular, to say anything bad about homosexuality. To even read a verse from the Bible that clearly condemns any practice of homosexuality is forbidden. (I donít think it will be long before our country follows the example that Canada has set).
Another example is a ruling that our US Supreme Court has just made. They struck down a law in Texas that made sodomy a punishable crime. This law was formed many years ago and was done so in accordance with what the Word of God says about sodomy. The court said that the government had no right to regulate what two consenting adults chose to do in their own privacy. They also made an admonishment that I found interesting. They admitted for the first time that public opinion had some influence on their decision.
This is tragic indeed, for the courts are "supposed" to make their decisions based upon the constitution and what is right and just, not upon the wants and desires of society. I find this decision of the Supreme Court as one that is going with the flow. This has been all too common in history. There were many times in the history of Israel where the rulers would listen to the wants and desires of the people and give what they wanted rather than listen to God and give the people what they needed.
One of the instances of this can be found in the Book of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 5:30-31, "An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?"
It should be noted what God had to say about this action and what resulted from it. We see the answer to this in the previous verses. In Jeremiah 5:21-29, "Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not: Do you not fear Me?' says the LORD. 'Will you not tremble at My presence, who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it. But this people have a defiant and rebellious heart; they have revolted and departed. They do not say in their heart, "Let us now fear the LORD our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest." Your iniquities have turned these things away, and your sins have withheld good from you. 'For among My people are found wicked men; they lie in wait as one who sets snares; they set a trap; they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich. They have grown fat, they are sleek; yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the fatherless; yet they prosper, and the right of the needy they do not defend. Shall I not punish them for these things?' says the LORD. 'Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?' "
It is ALWAYS a tragic mistake when an individual or group of people chooses to go with the flow of the world. It may be pleasurable for a time but the end is destruction. If going with the flow of the world is where you are today, I urge you to stop now before you get swept away and turn to Jesus Christ and begin to follow Him. It will not be easy, but He has promised to be with you and bring you to a good end.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail email@example.com
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine