Social Issues (Part 13): Materialism

Social Issues

Materialism is about valuing physical things over spiritual things. This could be in the form of money or possessions. It is often associated with those who are rich, yet those who are poor can also be guilty of being materialistic.

Those who fall into the trap of materialism will find themselves in one of two categories: (1) they do not believe in God and, therefore, do not value the spiritual blessings and rewards He offers; or (2) they believe in God but do not recognize the danger posed by material things and how they can distract us from focusing on spiritual things. Regardless of the category in which one may be, the result is the same – a disregard of spiritual things in favor of physical things.Continue Reading

Regular Christians (Part 7): Onesimus

Regular Christians

Onesimus was one who endured social and economic inequality as a slave. We learn about him in the letter Paul wrote to his master, Philemon.

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord” (Philemon 10-16).

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Through Many Tribulations (Part 1): Loss

Through Many Tribulations

Job was a man who was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). When Satan appeared before the Lord, God Himself even praised this man: “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:8). This man had been greatly blessed by God with seven sons, three daughters, and a large number of animals and servants (Job 1:2-3).

However, the Lord allowed Satan to tempt Job. Satan presented the challenge: “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face” (Job 1:9-11). Satan believed that if Job experienced loss, he would turn against God. The Lord replied, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him” (Job 1:12). After this, the temptations quickly came against Job.Continue Reading

The Entitlement Mentality

Minimum Wage

Our society has developed what is often called an “entitlement mentality” – particularly among the young, but it is still widespread through all ages. Those with this attitude believe that because they exist, they are entitled to certain things (standard of living, happiness, interpretation of truth, etc.).

The Israelites adopted this mindset while they were in Egypt. Despite their sufferings, they became accustomed to what they enjoyed there. While they were enslaved, they “cried out” to God “for help because of their bondage” (Exodus 2:23). After a series of plagues, God delivered them from bondage (Exodus 13:3). However, even with their newly acquired freedom, they complained about what they lacked:
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A Christian’s Ambition

Farming

Ambition is a trait that is seen as being desirable by many in the world. It is the attitude that drives one to continue progressing, advancing, and improving. Generally, it is necessary if one is to enjoy any degree of success or prosperity in life.

Christians are to be ambitious. But the focus of our ambitions will differ from that of the world. When Paul wrote to the saints in Thessalonica, he explained what their ambition was to be:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

Let us consider the points that Paul highlighted in this passage and see what our ambition should be as Christians.
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Psalm 23 and the Christian

The Lord is My Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:1-6).

The twenty-third psalm is one of the most well-known and well-loved passages in the Bible. Though it was written during the time of the Old Law, there are certainly lessons contained in it that apply to us as Christians. Let us briefly consider these lessons.
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The Abundance of One’s Possessions

Christmas giftsDuring the holiday season, it can be easy to become distracted by the “things” of this life. Instead of focusing on one’s blessings and being grateful to God for them, many people choose to focus on the things they do not have. There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings of this life. There is also nothing wrong with giving gifts to friends and family. However, we need to keep everything in the proper perspective. We must avoid jealously, discontent, and materialism. Failing to avoid these attitudes can ultimately lead to eternal destruction.

Jesus warned about such a misplaced focus when he spoke with a man who was jealous of his brother. Afterward, He used the opportunity to expand upon the issue in a familiar parable.

Someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?’ Then He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions’” (Luke 12:13-15).

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