Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ultimate Respect For God

Without an authoritative god who sets an absolute standard of good and evil, any moral code is just a standard set by a society for their own convenience, and good or evil are subjective concepts depending on who is in charge at the moment.  Actions such as murder or fraud are considered good or bad only in light of whether they further one’s cause of impede it.  Ultimately, a society’s moral behavior is guided by what they worship.  Unfortunately that is not always their religion. 

As a result of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, mankind developed a sense of right and wrong we call a conscience.  Because of that conscience we feel guilt when we hurt other people or go against God.  Drugs and alcohol contain poisons that can kill if too much is taken.  Drug addicts and alcoholics begin with small doses and gradually their bodies develop a tolerance to the poisons so that they can use amounts that would be instantly fatal to other people, even feeling that something is wrong when the poisons are not present.  The poisons produce physical damage and addicts develop behaviors to alleviate or ameliorate the discomfort of the damage while continuing to use the drugs or alcohol because they like the sensation it produces.   In much the same way, the conscience can become tolerant of sinful activities, and when the side effects become too serious they try to ameliorate the guilt, while continuing to do what causes the guilt.  This is often some kind of religious or moral code,

Though a person may claim to worship any of various religious deities as god, their real god is the thing or things that are most important to them. Their god may be wealth, power, prestige or fame, sex, family, alcohol, or some religion.  Anything that interferes with those things becomes an obstacle to be overcome.  The religious and moral codes are adapted to ameliorate the guilt without interfering with the pleasure their particular god gives them. Just as the drugs or alcohol continue to harm the addict’s body despite his efforts to alleviate the discomfort, the worship of other things as one’s god continues to produce guilt, despite the efforts to cover it up. 

Some people decide the pleasure drugs or alcohol provide isn’t worth the damage it does to their body, and stop using them, to stop the damage.  Instead of trying to ameliorate or alleviate the problems caused by their following other gods, people can choose to make God the most important thing in their life and giving him their full respect.  When they do, they will develop a respect for all of his creation, both the natural world and humanity, because he created it, and that respect will change the way they treat them. 

There are definite benefits for Making God our God.  John 14:21 tells us, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”  When we respect and love God enough to learn what he commands and obey him, we get to know him in  away others don’t, just as a child who loves his dad gets to know him in a way other people do not.  One result of that relationship is peace, according to John 14:27.  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you…”   

Our children follow the example we set before them when they are small.  As they mature, they begin to analyze the results of the example we have set, and decide whether to follow it or not.  If they see the peace of God in our lives, they will not be fooled by the apparent pleasures the world offers, but we cannot train them to follow God when our own focus is divided between him and something else.   If we are going to train them to worship God, we are going to have to put away our other Gods and focus strictly on obeying him so that they can see that he is the most important thing to us, and that our obeying him has been worthwhile. If we try to serve God and follow some other goal such as wealth, they don’t know what to think because as James 1:8 tells us, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”  They may decide to follow something else because it seems more stable.   This is the main reason so many children who were raised in church turn away when they become adults.  

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