Hear, you peoples, all of you,

   pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it,

and let the Lord God be a witness against you,

   the Lord from his holy temple.

For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place,

   and will come down and will tread upon the high places of the earth.

Micah 1: 2, 3

Micah lived a long time ago. In fact, almost three thousand years have elapsed since these words were written. Yet, they were true then, and they remain so now. So, we need to be mindful of the way that we are living just as those ancient Israelites were warned to do. God is remarkably consistent in how He views righteousness and in what He thinks of those who oppose it. He is also not willing to allow people to live our lives in a manner that makes a mockery of His standards for holiness, justice, and peacemaking. There is another reality that Micah was made aware of by God’s Spirit of prophesy, and that is the fact that the Lord is not far away and distant from all that transpires here. Instead, He is close at hand, and He does reach out into our world and engage with the events and the people here as He sees fit to do.

None of us are out of His reach, and in fact, we should not actually wish to be beyond the Lord’s point of contact. The Lord is not primarily interested in correction or in rebuke. He would much prefer for us to turn toward Him in loving respect and willing obedience to His word. Still, even when we rebel and turn away from the Lord, He pursues us and seeks to bring us back home to dwell in truth, love, and righteousness. He does this with grace and mercy as His first response, and He uses every resource that He possesses in order to get each person on earth to look upon His face and to turn toward Christ as our Lord and Savior. However, we should not think in terms of Christ as being gentle, patient, and without the capacity to engage with this world’s rebellion and sin in a decisive and a definitive manner.

Christ is neither afraid to utilize hard and heavy-handed methods to get people’s attention, nor is He concerned about our reaction to Him when He does this. Instead, Christ desires for us to be close to Him. He wants to walk through life with each of us in a manner that brings our lives into conformity with God’s holy calling for creation. That means that we love fearlessly, speak truth even when it is not popular, promote justice for all people and in every situation, and that we engage in seeking to eliminate all forms of violence and hatred by promoting peace with all despite any differences that may exist between us. These are the actions of a righteous people, and this is the form of living that Christ calls upon His people to adopt as our own. The Lord does not prefer to engage in the form of purification and reclamation of this world that will come when we do not turn toward Him in repentance and obedient submission, but He promises that He will come and do this work. It seems to me that it would be far better to submit now to Christ and to serve His will by living in a holy and a righteous manner today than to await that day when Christ forces each person to face His righteous sentence of judgement upon our lives. 

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2: 8

 

Brilliant sounding ideas and clever speakers, creatively written and imaginatively marketed books, these often provide easy to swallow answers for what ails us. All of us encounter times when we hurt and we desire relief from the pain, or we feel lost and need direction. People who are in pain and distress constitute a very large market; so, there are many others who promise that they know a short cut to the life that we desire.

 

There is only one really big problem with the majority of these ideas, and that is in the source for the thinking behind them. So much of what we see and hear and so many of the authors of this material are themselves listening to what may seem to be ancient truths. However, these are truths that come from the ruler of this world. Since the early days of earth’s history, Satan has lead well-intentioned people into the trap of flawed thinking. He wants us to become focused on ourselves and on the seemingly easy answers to all the pain and strife that is in our lives.

 

The simple solution to the challenge of testing whether an idea is worthy of consideration is even more ancient. God has given us His Word, His Spirit, and His people to guide us in testing what is worthy and what is not. If a philosophy does not lead to God; then, it is not worth considering. If it does not owe its wisdom to the Creator of all that is right; then, it should be viewed as dangerous. In Christ, we are called upon to think. In Christ, we are empowered and equipped to be discerning. As we trust God and His truth, we will need less and less of the rest of the world’s flawed wisdom. For. As we turn toward Christ, we will be filled with the true ancient wisdom of God.