Last week I reviewed and interacted with the book Real Christianity by William Wilberforce. Despite being written in the late 1700’s, it is relevant to our day. It contained many challenging thoughts, and today I’ll interact with another part of the book.
Are we really growing in our Christian faith? Growing in the fruit of the Spirit and being transformed into the likeness of Christ? Or have we just shifted some sins around? Maybe we are not bad in the overt sense, but that does not necessarily mean we are growing in goodness.
I remember hearing years ago, something like “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy.” – We are not bad, yet can be distracted from eternal and spiritual matters. Our busyness may even be “for God” yet we can actually end up evading God in the process. We can be sadly deluded.
In one part of the book, Wilberforce points out that many sow their wild oats in youth before settling down – And then think they have been spiritually transformed because they no longer commit those youthful indiscretions. We are so much better now! But are we?
We have different temptations at different times of life. People in middle age may be less tempted to certain sins. “Happily settled in domestic life, they are freer from these tendencies. The restraints of family connections and a sense of the decencies of the married state help them in this regard.” But…
“Their probation is of another kind. Rather they are tempted to be supremely engrossed by worldly cares, by family interests, by professional objectives, and by the pursuit of wealth and ambition. Thus occupied they are tempted to ‘mind earthly rather than heavenly things’ (John 3:12), to forget ‘the one thing needful’ (Luke 10:42), to ‘set their affections’ on temporal rather than on eternal concerns. They tend to take up with a ‘form of godliness’ (2 Timothy 3:5) instead of seeking to experience the power thereof.”
Yikes. Read that again if you need to.
Good things, such as family, can become an idol. Interesting post: Family First!—Not a Biblical Viewpoint.
Or we are just busy and distracted. Two books to consider, that I have reviewed:
God Space, Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God – and-
The Rest of God, Restoring your Soul by Restoring Sabbath
Prayerfully and thoughtfully consider your Christian life. Maybe you go to church every week, but has it become only a routine? Maybe you are not bad, but are you growing in goodness? Do you have only a form of godliness and deny its power for genuine Christian living? A couple of other versions word 2 Timothy 3:5 this way:
“They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.” (NLT)
“They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power.” (NET)