08 September, 2011
Dead to the World
I spent some time recently reading through the book of Galatians again. Galatians is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I've read it countless times, and I've read the part in chapter 6 verse 11 where Paul says, " See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!" (NIV) But this time, it hit me... it appears that at this juncture of this letter, Paul took the pen from the scribe who had been writing as he dictated, and wrote the remainder of the letter in his own hand. It is as if Paul is saying, "The next thing I have to say is of such importance that I am writing this part myself."
As we read on, we see that in verse 14 Paul says in effect that because of the cross of Christ he is no longer interested in the things of this world. That, in and of itself is no new theme for Paul, we've heard (or read) him say such things elsewhere. But reading it again, something hit me in a different way. Reading in the Contemporary English Version, in verse 14 Paul says "Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned." That last part jumped out at me. "I am dead as far as the world is concerned." Let that sink in for a bit...
Just what does he mean? Aren't we supposed to be salt and light to this world? Isn't there supposed to be something in me (us) that others might see and want what they see in us? But Paul says, "the world is dead as far as I'm concerned and I am dead as far as the world is concerned." Got me thinking on this one. Something just was not connecting. So I thought and I prayed. Then I prayed and I thought. And suddenly... the lights came on! What Paul was saying is that the one who has been give free reign to wreak chaos in this earth and the lives of those who inhabit the earth, was no longer interested in messing with Paul. I think the hidden truth that Paul was conveying here is that Satan no longer bothers with those who are absolutely, 100% sold out and committed to Christ.
OK... I can already hear the skepticism churning in your minds... but think with me for a moment. Can you imagine Satan and his legions convening a meeting with their latest plan to bring down Billy Graham? (Go ahead and laugh) Really now... can you see this happening? I can't! I just somehow have a feeling that somewhere over the years Satan has said, "Forget that one. We are wasting our time." I think Satan and his minions stopped investing their energy and time going after someone like Billy Graham. Satan knows where he stands and has seen over the years that his faith cannot be shaken. I tend to believe that Satan, our enemy (the world) spends his time prowling about like a roaring lion looking for one's whom he may devour, and he has taken his eyes off of one like Billy Graham (and others). I think Satan is looking for those that are twisting in the wind... those that are up and down and cannot make up their mind which team they want to play for.
Think about it this way; have you seen those commercials for Hardees where they advertise the half pound beef patty, topped with bacon and cheese (you know, the heart attack in a box). Who do you think they are appealing to in their advertising? Do you think they are trying to tempt the 90 pound lady who wears a size 1 in jeans? Do you think they are trying to appeal to the vegetarian? Heck no! Hardees is going for the guy with Dunlap disease! (You know... his belly has done lapped over his belt.) They are going for the folks with the big appetite, who really doesn't give a flying flip about his physique (or his heart, for that matter). Hardees knows that in this nation, there are millions of people who are overweight who have tasted a greasy burger with bacon and cheese and when they see that advertisement... they KNOW they might be able to convince them to skip Subway and head on over to Hardees for what appeals to them. They are aiming for those who have not made a decision to watch their weight and protect their heart by watching what they eat. They are aiming for the "undecided."
Well, guess who Satan is aiming for? Yep.. the "undecided."
Those who have not decided to sell out to the things of this world... those who are on a spiritual roller-coaster... those who are not fully committed.
So, here's the question: "Have you decided?" Does Satan know where you stand? Or is it pretty clear to him that if he waits around, you'll waiver yet again because you just can't make up your mind about serving Christ? Does he know that if he dangles your favorite temptation in front of you that you'll give in and use the mercy of God as an excuse to sin?
That's the undecided.
If you want to be able to say with Paul, "the world is dead as far as I'm concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned," then you have to make up your mind. You have to be absolutely, 100% sold out. I don't know about you... but it's my aim and goal to be sold out to the point that the enemy looks at me and says, "Don't waste your time with that one."