We dream of living in a world of peace and harmony, where any disagreement can be resolved with civility over a cup of coffee or a friendly political debate. We wish for an ideal world free from war, conflict and pain, but instead there is a battle going on, a spiritual battle for the hearts of mankind that is manifest wherever we live on a daily basis. It can sometimes seem that differences are not such a big deal, that we can live in a gray world if we abandon ideals and live with a syncretized view of live. All we have to do is blur the lines between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood. But at what cost? Often at the cost of our very lives and the lives of the next generation.
Here is a glimpse at the spiritual realities that lie beneath the surface of our everyday lives.
There are moral absolutes, whether we choose to believe it or not. And there are consequences for the choices we make. If God is not the giver of life, neither good nor evil is a meaningful term. In an amoral world, one with God removed from the picture, there is no point of reference for good. But when we admit it, the reality of good and evil hits close to home in the attitudes of our own hearts and the choices we make. If we have lived for any length of time, we are touched by the deeply moving power of good, but also marred by the pain of evil whether in its subtlest or more extreme forms. If the latter has been your experience, let the pain lead you to God who comforts and restores and not away from Him. As G.K. Chesterton said: “When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him; but in heaven’s name to what?”
Love is what makes life worth living; it is the most wonderful part of our existence. Love comes from God and the opposite of love is hatred. We can see both extremes when we simply read the news headlines. Acts of love and hatred are all over the news every day. No one has to tell us the difference, it is stamped within our consciences.
If you ask someone who holds to a postmodern worldview if the chair they are sitting on can simultaneously be a duck, they would laugh at the ridiculous question. But when it comes to spiritual reality, they may argue that Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity are just different paths to the same supposed God, even though they contradict one another. One characteristic of man-made religion is attempting to reach God by human effort. However, God reaches us. He answers the major questions of our existence – with Truth.
No one likes to think of hell, and heaven is often viewed in ethereal terms with fat cherubs and fluffy clouds. But what would we think of a court of law that refused to judge the atrocities of the Holocaust? God, our lawgiver, must punish evil. Rejection of God and His ways leads to separation from Him forever, or, Hell – the absence of God and His goodness, love, truth and light. We cannot bridge the moral gap that separates us from the perfection of God. As Eric Metaxas wrote, we are like “cut flowers” because of our sinful natures. We have to be attached to the source of life through the saving work of God in Jesus Christ. The pardon and forgiveness that we can receive in Christ because He bore the penalty of our moral separation is liberating, leading to eternal reconciliation with God.
So, where is the encouragement in all of this?
That we can know the reality of goodness, truth and love if we accept His invitation to choose life. And I don’t mean “know” it like Tom Cruise with his incoherent, ecstatic statements on YouTube where he talks about Scientology without really saying anything. I mean know it in a way that makes sense and changes your life.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT)
For further inquiry:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but were afraid to ask)
by Eric Metaxas – short and witty
The Case For Christ
by Lee Strobel – longer and in-depth, but fascinating