JUST LOOSEN YOUR GRIP ON THIS OLD EVIL WORLD
(Trussville, AL USA)
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.(1 Peter 3:8-9)
Growing up one of my Dad's favorite sayings was "Get a grip on it." No matter what the task, I was to get a grip on it. I just went with the flow, not really knowing what this saying really meant. Not until I was head over heels into life's same big adult problems, did I understand. Obviously, the reverse of this famous saying of his is "Loosen your grip on it.
As Christians living in a fallen world, we also have two choices. We can get a grip on these habits of evil and accept the results, or we can loosen our grip on the world's practices and accept God's promises. (James 4:4) Letting our sins go is what we call in the Christian vernacular "repentance." It involves turning from our evil ways, entering a fellowship with the living God through His Son, Jesus Christ. And holding on, or retaining a grip, is just the opposite, which is final death and destruction.
I realize, however, we Christians are products of this evil secular world, but we can also not be a part of its wickedness. We can loosen our grip on its practice of immorality. The New Testament makes it clear, however, that we are not to become entangled with the world's culture. (Galatians 1:4)
So from a secular mindset, has this old world gone off the deep end, culturally speaking? Is there no end in sight? Or from a spiritual perspective, is it just the dictates of end time prophecy? (2 Timothy 3:1-7, 9, 13) (2 Timothy 4: 3-4). My perception, based on God's holy Word, (2 Timothy 3:16) ( 2 Peter 1:20-21) is that it is the latter.
We need only to look around at the events of the real world to see the after-effects of the Garden of Eden sin; (Romans 8:22) unrest, strife, and chaos running rampant in all aspects of this world's mores. From families to governments, to the public square, and sad to say even within the churches of God we see this trend.
Basically, it is a struggle with sin on a daily basis. (Ephesians 6:11-12) We experience heartache and pain. We experience natural disasters, public injustice, inhumanity and constant falsehoods by society.
Yes, we are surely living in a hostile world, as all aspects of society are anti-Christian. Our Christian values, once held true by our forefathers, have long since been vacated. And our Christian beliefs are now mocked and even penalized by our current civilization.
My advice is to let go and let God have His way. In other words, as this blog's title suggests, just loosen your grip on the world. (2 Peter 1:10) Stop trying to control, or join this old sinful world and let God do His thing.
Oftentimes just living within this world's evil surroundings may tend to make us doubt our spiritual position with God and make us feel we are losing our grip on our Christianity. Not so, for God is in control of all things, including our security in Him.
So let go and let Him have His way in your personal life, in your workplace, in your entertainment, and most importantly let Him have His way in your church life. If and when this happens, God promises you will live in victory within your Christian life. Do you not want this? Then, simply live holy before the Lord, confident and prayerful. How may I accomplish this, one may ask? Simply talk it over with Him. (Psalm 27:8)
The Apostle Paul, inspired by God's Holy Spirit, gives us the answer in (Romans 12:2). We are not to allow this present world to conform us to its evil practices, but we are to follow God's leading by being transformed into His likeness. We are not to take on the world's lifestyle or the manner of this present age's evil living, but we are to live looking to the future. (1 Peter 1:14) In other words, as the Bible commentator J.B. Phillips puts it: "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mold." Just loosen your grip on the world.
I realize that the world's philosophical views vary, depending on who you listen to. Self-interest seems to be the contributing factor. And this mindset is being nurtured and bragged on, in its own right. However, Paul makes it clear that we should assert only what the Gospel dictates.
In this same context, Paul continues by warning against high-mindedness and encourages sober-mindedness based on our faith in the finished work of God. There again, we Christians should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. (Romans 12:3)
We should always strive to take on a humble spirit, as we show our testimony in our witness for Christ Jesus. Please take time out here to read what Paul has to say about our relationship to society. (Romans 12:9-21) And most importantly, we should never take on personal revenge, but leave this aspect of our response up to God. (Romans 12:19)
So, is there any order to the seeming chaos of our current lifestyle? Yes, again the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, comes through with God's answer. In (Romans 8:28) we see God at work in all circumstances for our good to those of us who love Him. And Christ Himself verified this promise in (John 6:39-40).
Now, for the bottom line, we Christians are simply imperfect human beings, who are human "becomings" in the process of becoming perfected in the faith. How does this change come about? It becomes possible by the renewal of the mind through the mercies of God.
Yes, we imperfect human beings should simply just loosen our grip on the world. Just let go and let God have His way in every aspect of our unperfected lives.(2 Thess 3:18)
Strife and unrest among the populace simply is an indication of living in rebellion against God in a post-Garden of Eden world. (Luke 13:1-5) However, calamities are meant to lead us as a nation and as individuals to repentance.
Thus, Gods message to this fallen world - When things are good, repent; when things are disastrously bad, repent. This word "repentance" involves a complete change of attitude and action. It means a turning away from our rebellious lives and ceasing to ignore God's claim on us.
Here's the bottom line truth, the truth that has changed history. It is our relationship with the Father, through His Son Jesus, inspired by His Holy Spirit, which is simply contributed to our faith in God's free grace, and based on the finished work of the Jesus Christ, plus nothing, minus nothing. (Ephesians 2:8-9) So let us loosen our grip on the world by gripping our Savior's hand.