I am blessed to be able to disciple a couple young men who are seeking a life of holiness and righteousness as disciples of Jesus Christ. One pattern I have noticed in new Christians is how the enemy is constantly waiting at every turn to place them under condemnation the first time they make a mistake.
I have personally experienced this, particularly when I was a new Christian. My love for god was so strong that when I did sin, the enemy pounced all over me, accusing me of being a fake Christian. “You’re just the same old Mike” was his lying accusation every time I strayed from God’s perfect law and teaching.
What I now share with the young men I work with is this: We need to view our lives and walk with God like investors view the stock market. Experienced investors will tell you that the worst thing you can do is get overly obsessed with the daily or weekly performance of a stock investment. You become so obsessed in the here and now that you are unable to make solid, long term decisions on your investments. Instead we need to take a step back and look at long term results and think strategically.
When these young men confess their sins and shortcomings, they always say the enemy is right there trying to place them back under condemnation. I tell them to take a step back and remember your life a year ago as a Christian. Overall, are you walking closer with God? Are you sinning less frequently? When we can take a big picture look at our lives, we gain better perspective and when we see we are making steady progress in our pursuit of holiness, we can rebuke the lies of the enemy that seek to drag us back under his control.
We also need to take a big picture look at where Christianity in this nation is headed. On the whole, does American Christianity look more or less like secular culture than it did ten or twenty years ago? Is each succeeding generation more or less knowledgeable of God’s Word and teachings? Well, by any objective measurement, it is obvious that American Christianity is sliding away from the truth of God’s Word and falling into deeper apostasy as a whole. Hundreds of churches simultaneously preaching from the Bible and the Koran; a growing number of Christians and Christian leaders accepting homosexuality as normal; and a slow but steady slide into “personalized morality”, where man determines what is right instead of God.
The trends are not good—in fact they are deeply disturbing. When Muslims, who worship a false god, care more about morality than people claiming to be born-again Christians, just what does that say for the condition of Christianity in this nation? I think it says we are in deep trouble and if we do not repent individually and corporately, we face the wrath and judgment of an angry God. Oh, I’m sorry—I forgot we don’t teach that about God anymore. The talk of fearing God and standing before a God who will judge every thought, word and action one day, is so passé. What was I thinking?
The truth, right in God’s Word, is that each of us will stand before Him one day and we will be judged. Jesus warned us that the path to salvation is narrow and many who call Him “lord” will be sent away.
When you look at some recent companies that collapsed—Enron, AIG and others—you see how deceitful people and CEOs manipulated data and presented these companies as rock solid—and many investors fell for the lies, losing all their life savings. Are we being fooled by Satan and people claiming all is well in the American Church, only to wake up one day and realize everything we invested in is a façade? Are we investing in the ways of man or are we storing up our retirement treasures in heaven? Are we investing in God’s portfolio—His Word—or investing in man’s portfolio, thinking our retirement investment is safe when it is ready to collapse?
A wise man carefully reviews his investment portfolio often and sees the trends in the market. As Christians it is sound advice to do the same.