Thursday, May 24, 2007

Losing out with God

No one should ever think that we are any of us more than one or two stupid decisions away from total spiritual destruction. I have watched people come to Christ and give their lives to service of others and loving both God and men. They have found meaning and purpose in Christ, wholeness for themselves, their marriages and their families, and a destiny that is causes favor from both men and God. And then there are those that lose out with God.

Scripture says that there are a lot of reasons for this losing out. Primarily pride and selfishness are to blame. The losers (as I shall affectionately call them) seek to please themselves (their god is their stomach! Phil 3.19), they take pride in their debase living (their glory is their shame!), and their end is destruction. It is not always easy to watch someone make destruction of a life once blessed by God, by it is always a learning process. I learn every time I see a loser commit spiritual suicide. Failure to humble themselves, failure to admit thier own failures, failure to submit to the authorities in their life, failure to forgive, failure to be obedient to what God says in his Word, etc. Brick by brick they build their bungalow of isolation. Sometimes thinking they are smarter than everyone, or more slick, or getting over.

I knew a man who walked with God once, but he gave it up to chase a fantasy. It melted in his hand as he grasped it. It was such and illusion and left him dis heartened and disappointed so that he dispared of life itself. Once he thought he was the king of the world, he lived in moral purity and knew the feeling of the smile of God on his life. Today he can no longer say that. He has lost out with God.

The Psalmist had a name for these people in Psalm 14.1 (The fool has said in his heart their is no God). Fools. The fool is the person who fails to submit to the morality of God in his life. It is not that the fool doesn't believe in God, rather that he shall live as though there is none, as if he woudl not be held accountable. This includes, sadly enough, many who are in the church but are practical athiests. Living like they are exempted from the moral law of God. God calls them fools.

Losers and fools. We learn from their mistakes. No one should ever gloat over the loser or fool. But we can stand back, horror stricken, and watch God visit the destruction on the fruitless works of disobedience. As it happens, we learn from their mistakes. Stay humble, be gracious, live free from impure thoughts, develop a prayer life, and look to the Lord for help every day and night. If we do it right, others can learn from our words as well as our lifestyle. If not others can learn by the pathetic object lesson of our foolish, loser life.


rgeorge61 said...

The more I grow I keep hearing God saying to me to be steady and true. By this I believe he means this course we run is not a sprint but a jog of consistency. I think sometimes we feel we are in competiton with others in the body but we're not. We are a body that is supposed to work together. If we are working together we would be less likely to lose out or at least thats my theory. We can grow even through our mistakes if we allow God to work in us. The key is if we allow God. Once we decide to not come under Gods authority we lose and this also includes coming under the authority of a Pastor or a church leader. We would hope that this servanthood of Christianity is based biblically and if so would refelct the attributes of Christ and what he taught.

Paul M. Harrison said...

By this definition, I might be the biggest fool and loser you have ever met. I don't see myself as having lost out with God as much as I see myself as having devoted myself to false beliefs.

I have always resented being told my unbelief is a result of stubbornness or that I have somehow foolishly caused my own demise, wasn't faithful enough, etc. My conscience is very clear that I have made a reasonable assessment of my reasons for disbelief just as I had made a reasonable assessment of reasons for my belief when I believed.

This is an issue I don't wish to debate because you'd have to know what I've experienced, and I don't expect that anything will sway you from the biblical conclusions you have posted here (as a pastor, I wouldn't expect you to give them up).

My advice to believers in dealing with someone like me would be to actually hear us out before jumping to those accusations. As someone who doesn't believe, I am implicitly telling you, "Everything you live for and base your life on is wrong, Pastor Dave." There is no polite way to say that explicitly unless I have a mound of evidence and an open door to share it. In the same way, there is no polite way for you to say, "Don't blame God, you failed yourself," especially when not having understood what the person has been through. I have talked with pastors who ended up just as puzzled as I was about the events in my life without pretending to know I have brought this upon myself. Some have even understood and empatized.

The best treatment I have gotten from Christians were those who said, "I don't know what brought you to this state, but I love you, and I'm praying that God will show up again in a powerful way." This is a person saying, "I am here for you and am out for your well-being."

Many times believers are threatened by my arguments and experiences and I can see the look of fear come over them. Soon they are defending themselves from me rather than confidently helping me. It is there - in fear - that they result to the blame and verses about me being a fool. It is there that I end the conversation because there is no real dialog going on.

People respond to different things, maybe some do need a good verbal lashing, but I respond best to conversation and kindness, a respect for reason and dialog.

Start with kindness and hear the fallen Christian out, show care, and if you have good reason to believe what you suspect, support it from the conversation so it doesn't sound like an outside insult or a party line damage control answer.

Everything should be done in love.