Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 27. Impossible thinking
Acts 26:9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
I had a Facebook Messenger message the other day, from someone I knew many years ago. What a delight. As we communicated a few words each way, after a couple of days it appeared it was a scam leading me to talk about money. Deception. But deception is a mind thing, it’s wrong thinking in the mind. At the time of writing, deception is confusing millions of people on both sides of the Atlantic. On the US side it is belief in the integrity of a President who has said so many unrighteous things (I’ve seen him saying them!) and yet who millions of Christians are supporting. On my side of the water there are people who still maintain in a sick manner that the whole Covid-19 thing is a hoax – despite the hospitals moving into chaos by the numbers of patients. The folly of conspiracy theories like this not only require politicians of all shades to be involved, but scientists of all shades AND media people of all shades (who are the most skeptical). As I said to a friend recently in respect of the media, don’t listen to the opinions, but watch the footage of the people in question and judge them by what they say and the way they say it and the effect it has. We are living in a world of confusion over truth like we’ve never experienced before.
The impossibility of right thinking without God is seen in the example of the Apostle Paul, a man given over to what he thought was the will of God – until he encountered Jesus. Paul was the classic example of a conspiracy theory person. Everything in him screamed that this new cult called ‘the Way’ (Acts 9:2) was a deception, something of the devil, a conspiracy to lead the chosen people astray. He determined that not only would he speak against it, he would act against it, and he got authority of the high priest to go hunting out these ‘Christians’ as they came to be called (Acts 11:26) and put them in prison (the power of institutional religion!).
And then he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and was transformed. The trouble today is that, as that same friend from the States said to me, not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is a Christian and so the name ‘Christian’ gets a bad press because in the climate of fake news, gullibility reigns. But wrong thinking can extend not only into these sorts of issues but the very basic issues of what it means to be a believer.
So, no, it’s not the rules and regulations, the ‘should’ and ‘ought’ life but the life that is lived in the environment of the living relationship with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, a savior who has done the impossible and offers ‘impossible’ resurrected lives to all who will follow him, lives ‘raised to new life’ by his Spirit (Rom 8:11). Yes, not rules but relationship, branches joined to the vine (Jn 15) with the reminder, “apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) Another impossibility! How do we ensure we don’t get led astray? I’ve suggested some previously, but when it comes to basic belief, read His word more and more, ask the Spirit to teach you and open your eyes to see the wonder of the Christ-bought, Spirit-empowered life – and accept no substitutes.