Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Devotional 140710

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for another beautiful day. We find new joy and new strength to serve God as we choose to fill our hearts with thanksgiving. When a person chooses to dwell in worry and bitterness, he or she will only deteriorate or wither faster. Choose thanksgiving at all time, whether you are in plenty or in want. The joy of the Lord is my strength only when I focus on Him with thanksgiving that He is truly the CEO of my life. Amen?

Emerging into adolescence, children become capable of realizing the spirituality of sin. Sin is not merely something that they are forbidden to do because God says they must not under penalty of hellfire. They gradually (or suddenly!) realize that sin is an offer of godlike independence, it is an offer to “be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). It not only promises sensual gratification (“good for food … a delight to the eyes”), but it promises spiritual deepening (“… to make one wise,” v.6). Until they become adolescents, with their growth spurt in spiritual capacity and their huge hunger for transcendence, children are not capable of being tempted in this way. As long as they are children, mostly dependent on others for their welfare, it never occurs to them that they might make it “on their own.” But at adolescence, with adulthood in sight, they are impatient to throw off the restrictions of childhood and reach for adulthood, and the devil promises a shortcut by promising godhead and godlike independence. Prohibitions are no longer accepted as “for their own good,” but resented as restrictive, denying them access to a spirituality which is theirs by right.

Here is one place that the adolescent insight is absolutely right. Sin is, in fact, mostly spiritual. There are moral dimensions to it, of course, matters of behavior that put them in danger and/or make them hard to live with, but mostly what sin involves is spirituality, the quest for meaning and purpose and significance. It is the moral dimensions of sin that are prominent in childhood; it is the spiritual dimensions of sin that surface in adolescence. The first sin, to aspire to “be like God,” is nothing if not spiritual. Most, if not all, sins ever since are attempts, primarily, at spirituality—attempts to become something other or better than we are, attempts at experiencing something that takes us beyond our humdrum mortality, if only momentarily.

We all went through adolescence or teenage years. For those of us parents who had teenagers before, we experienced the stormy journey of life, when teenager attempted to access their spiritual liberty to become someone different from their parents. They want to try out their desire of experiencing godlike independence at all cost – this is the realization of the sinful nature of mankind. The Bible said, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:8-10). Imagine if all human being never grew out of adolescence or teenage attitudes, what kind of world we will live in? Unfortunately, this is what the culture of America is like: a teenager who does not want to grow up. A highly individualistic society is like a teenager who seeks godlike independence without considering his consequence. The culture of this society is promoting a promise that can give her followers a temporal experience beyond their humdrum mortality by her philosophy and morality. Let’s see you can see the similarity of Satan’s temptation with many of today’s advertisement or not, “‘God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you'll see what's really going on. You'll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.’ When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it - she'd know everything! - she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate” (Genesis 3:5-6). Watch out!!!

Love you in Christ,

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