In life, knowing what is TRULY GOOD versus what is TRULY EVIL is fundamentally important – sometimes critically so. Still, telling the difference can be tough.
Before we get to a fool-proof way to know, welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me … I do this for you. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!
My first “real job” (that is, one that didn’t involve making pizza or sandwiches) was working on an ambulance. I’ll never forget my first emergency call. A young boy of 11 or 12 years old had mixed bleach and another cleaning product. The resulting explosion burned his eyes, leaving him blind.
He didn’t do anything “wrong” from the perspective of intent. He wasn’t hiding in his garage mixing things together to see what happened. He didn’t do anything “wrong” from the perspective of obedience. No one had ever told him NOT to mix bleach with acidic cleansers. But neither intent nor obedience were the issue. The danger was inherent in the elements. When bleach is mixed with certain things, it explodes. Period.
Let me explain how that relates to our verse for today – “I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHO TEACHES YOU WHAT IS GOOD FOR YOU” and also how that relates to the title of this lesson that “All war is deception.”
TEACHING US WHAT IS GOOD
Some things are always good for you. Other things are always bad for you. Still others are dangerous if handled or used improperly. Here’s the issue – we can’t always tell one from the other. We need someone reliable to tell us, someone who actually KNOWS what they are talking about. In life (and in faith) it is usually the creator of something who knows it best.
If the man who invented chlorine bleach in the late 18th century had been standing in the garage with that boy, HE could have warned him about the danger of what he was doing. If the boy had listened, he would still have his sight today.
Our Creator has given us the Bible to teach us His ways. He has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us. He has given us men and women of God who have been discipled in them, and have learned what is good and what is evil. What God says in His word is true. He is teaching us what is good for us, and thereby teaching us also what is not. It does not matter if you agree or disagree, because you do not control the outcome. If you had been standing in the garage with the boy and had said, “I think it will be fine to mix those things together,” you’d have been wrong. Your OPINION on what would or would not happen is of no value, only the fact of what will ACTUALLY happen truly matters.
God tells us certain things are good and productive for us. He tells us, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” These are GOOD things. The end result of doing them will make you stronger and better. They will bear GOOD FRUIT in your life. ALWAYS! Your opinion about them will not change them – ever.
God tells us certain things are evil and destructive for us. He tells us, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who perform homosexual acts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” These are EVIL things. Society’s opinion about them is irrelevant. The end result of doing them will be death and destruction. They will POISON your life and explode in your face. ALWAYS! Your opinion about them cannot change them.
Since it is not always evident what is good and what is evil, we ought to trust the insight and teaching of the One who created us. He is right, He knows whereof He speaks. And, perhaps more importantly, He is the final judge. (When the teacher tells the class “This WILL BE on the final exam” the wise student take note.)
ALL WAR IS DECEPTION
The other element at issue here is that we have an enemy who is bent on our destruction. Jesus warned us that the devil comes only to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus came that we would have life, and have it in incredible abundance.
It’s one thing for the boy to accidentally mix bleach with an acidic cleanser. It is something totally different for someone to deliberately hand him bleach and say, “This is water. You’re supposed to mix water with that cleaning powder.” That’s how the devil works. He’s a deceiver. Lying is what he does, and he’s very, very good at it.
He is so good at his deception that almost 60% of Christians don’t believe that the devil exists! I find that incredible. You’d think that followers of Jesus would look at His teachings on this subject and know better.
The Marines have been doing bad things to bad people since 1775. As a US Marine, I understand the value of operating in enemy territory incognito. When your enemy is unaware of your presence you can be very highly effective. But, sooner or later, your actions (and their results) always give you away. Causing mass destruction and death tends to draw attention to you! Can you imagine the targets of an attack watching a series of buildings being blown up and several sentries being killed – and then saying, “Well, these things happen sometimes.” No, of course not!! The evidence would demand that they draw the conclusion that – seen or unseen – there was an enemy operating in their midst.
Look around you. Do you see any EVIDENCE of one who is intent on stealing, killing and destruction?
Hundreds of thousands of violent crimes (murders, rapes, violent robberies, etc) are committed in the USA every year, and the rates continue to skyrocket. Murder rates are up 34%. We’ve had over 5.8 million abortions worldwide SO FAR THIS YEAR, and we’re only in February! We’re killing the most innocent among us at rates that make Hitler look like a choir boy.
Jesus was right. We have an enemy who is out to destroy us.
Thankfully, we have a God who is determined to teach us what is good for us. He offers to adopt us into His family to protect us. And also to fill us with His Holy Spirit to empower and equip us.
Don’t be deceived. Let’s learn from the Creator who loves us. He teaches us what is good. Let’s listen, before we blow up our lives.