Did you know that not all the things that God doesn't want us to do are bad or evil? This is a lesson I am just learning. Well, I sorta knew it before, BUT it is just now coming to my attention that this lesson doesn't just apply to others...it's for me too! I'll tell you a story shortly, but first...
There's become such a blurry line between right and wrong in the past few years. Have you noticed that? Perhaps it is longer than just a few years - perhaps the line has always been blurry and it is only maturing in age that makes it more noticeable. Whatever it is, let me put it this way - I've become more aware of this blurred vision lately, between the world's idea of YES and God's command of NO.
One of the things that the Bible tells us is that false prophets will come among us, and what they will tell us will sound good, make us feel good, and be embraced by the world around us. (See 2 Peter 2:1-3) It can become dangerously easy, for Christians especially, to get caught up in this new-age thinking. But anything that loosens the guidelines on Biblical teaching is not of God.
Our minister at church spoke in one of his sermons recently about a preacher who had written a book, part of which declared that Christians should be encouraged to pursue money and better financial blessings. This seems okay, right?....a preacher wrote it, after all, right?....it seems fair and acceptable, right? WRONG!!! The Bible says this in 1 Timothy 6:10a; "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." I wrote in a previous post about the importance of coming back to God's Word and double checking everything you read, or hear, or see...even if it is written by a Christian preacher! Because Satan has all kinds of people out there doing his bidding and making things that are against God's word seem okay. Dig deeper, because surface appearances can often hide the real truth.
I think what we watch and read and play and listen to goes a long way toward blurring the line between right and wrong...or between what is accepted and what shouldn't be. Oh, there was a time I would have argued that point relentlessly, I confess. But praise God He has opened my eyes to HIS TRUTH!
How many TV shows today would have, in the 60's and 70's, been considered pornographic? Or be deemed outrageous due to their blatant mocking toward Christianity and Christ? A statistic I heard recently stated that in the 60's 50% of households attended church in Australia. Now, only between 1% and 2% of people are evangelical Christians - that is; 'Pertaining to or in keeping with the Gospel and its teaching.' How many TV shows are even encouraging criminal activity? I watched a sitcom several months ago where one of the regular, weekly characters was freely and openly using drugs, and this was laughed at! Computer and PS games are mostly violent and/or sexual in content, and this is deemed entertainment. Most TV shows and movies these days promote pre-marital sex. Last week, while sitting in a hospital waiting room, the TV was on showing a morning show. I couldn't hear it well, but the running caption across the bottom of the screen declared; 'An affair could help your marriage!' Is infidelity now to become acceptable by the world's standards? Abortion has been made acceptable. Homosexuality has been made acceptable. The age of consent continues to be lowered. Where does it stop?
It is socially acceptable, it seems, to take on the attitude that 'if it's not hurting anyone, it's okay to do as I like.' Not much has changed in history, has it? The entire book of Judges, in the Old Testament, talks about the Israelites and their repeated 'do as we please' attitude and subsequent pleas to God to 'bail them out' after they had made a colossal mess of things. Sadly this is an attitude Christians today still adopt. I did! Back in a previous post (Subtle Idolatry - Idolatry None-the-Less - August 1st) I made mention of an obsession that I would write about at a later date. Well, why not now?! And then I can tell you what I've learnt...
My obsession...my IDOL, is writing! More than that, it's the type of writing I used to do. I've always had an interest in the supernatural, and a stint with Character/Ghost writing many years ago fed that interest to the point of obsession. I used to write about all the usual stuff that now saturates the literary AND media markets; vampires, werewolves, ghosts, angels, etc - and I was good! (I say that not to boast, but only to emphasise the struggle of giving it up!) I'd done this kind of writing since the late 80's, so for more than 20 years I wrote in this genre to the point where I still worry and wonder can I write anything else??? I guess God is showing me that, through Him, I can, because I never thought I could be a non-fiction writer, let alone a writer of blog/devotionals.
In the few years since 'whether or not I should write in this subject' became an issue, emotionally and spiritually I travelled through honestly and truly NOT KNOWING what I should do, to knowing but fighting it while trying to ignore the truth of that knowing as well. I asked the advice of so many people, BUT it's only on reflection that I can see that subconsciously I was pretty clever about who I chose to ask. It shames me to admit that I was asking people I sorta knew would say yes, it's okay! I never asked my minister at church! I NEVER ASKED MY MOTHER!!! Now, that's not to disparage the advice I was given by any of those people I did speak to. I confess, in hindsight, I can see that I manipulated that survey completely! God, however, cannot be manipulated or swayed on what He chooses is right for me and what is His will for me. His will for me is NOT to write supernatural fantasy. His will may also be for me to never write fiction again...I don't know that yet. For now I am doing as He asks of me which has brought me here.
Now, don't misunderstand me, because I am in no position at all to cast judgement on whether supernatural writing is good or bad. There is a new concern in me now, especially after a conversation I had with a bookstore owner yesterday - again the question is raised WHERE DOES IT STOP. Moreso, how far will it go before it stops? This store owner was telling me that the supernatural line is petering off now in terms of sales, and is being replaced by erotic fantasy...wow, I found that so disturbing, in a two-fold manner. Firstly because things that shouldn't even 'be' to begin with are now becoming 'okay' and 'encouraged'. And secondly because, in terms of the supernatural side of it, I WAS A PART OF IT. I may not have been published (and I thank God I wasn't) but I was there, ensconsed....how far would I have gone???
Maybe to the world it's not bad, but...
....what I have learnt is that it is bad for me. I still like the supernatural...it still interests me...perhaps like an alcoholic it will be something I will constantly be drawn back to and even crave, but it's not what God wants me to use His gift to me for. That's what God and I have battled over for several years now....well, I say battled like it's been an all-out war, but the truth of it is I've been the one battling whilst God has been patiently waiting for me to surrender to His will. I have now, by-the-way. Satan, in his cunning way, still tries to lure me back into doing what God does not want me to do...and I fear I will slip still.
I am comforted by the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15-25; "15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!
There is hope! Jesus Christ is my hope! What I have learnt is that while the world may say it's okay (and it has said!), God is telling me NO. And when He says NO He means NO. In this case good or bad is kind of irrelevant, because God is saying no...to this...for me.
And something I have noticed since I completely surrendered to God about this (and that surrender has come only in the last month and a half) - as much as I loved the 'other writing', I have never enjoyed writing as much as I am right now!
Loving Heavenly Father,
You know the things we struggle with in our lives, and You know what is best for us at all times. Strengthen us as we learn to trust You about that, and surrender to Your will for us. Remind us to listen to Your guiding and loving voice, rather than the lying words of the world. In Jesus' Name, amen.