Thank God for His goodness! Yes, He loves us unconditionally and unceasingly. His grace ever covers our mistakes. His mercy is limitless. His forgiveness is never ending. His judgments are fair. So, what about our responsibility?
It is true that we can always run into arms that are loving and tender, but God cannot honor those things that we do which are contrary to His character. God cannot be a just God and honor our actions which run crosswise of His Word; nor should we expect Him to do so. Remember, God is bound by His Word, and so are we.
In order to live pleasing to Him, we must apply the Word to our everyday circumstances. We all must be actively engaged in investigating God’s Word and using it to critically evaluate the things we choose to do or not do, the activities in which we participate, the thoughts we entertain, and the words we speak. Often, we seem to simply accept the traditions of men, the social norms, cultural practices and worldviews without viewing them in light of the purifying Word of God. By our own apathetic responses, our traditions make the Word of God of no effect (Mk. 7:6-23). In other words, by engaging in activities not consistent with the character of God, we nullify the power of the Word in our lives. Thank God His Word says that if we return to Him, He is ever-faithful to forgive and restore! His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-24)!
Practically speaking, what does it look like to apply God’s Word to our daily lives? Well, Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Consequently, when we are deciding to participate in anything, these qualities serve as a great standard or benchmark. So, if we are choosing or guiding our children to choose what to read, or listen to, or watch, we can easily see if it fits this description. Where would horror movies or any media creating fear fit in, or the occult or anything promoting magic arts, or violence, or activities promoting strife or anger or deception? When we use those types of labels, we all would agree that these are emotions of the flesh and not of the Spirit of God, and it would be inadvisable to participate in or promote activities encouraging or honoring such, but do we put our money where our mouth is and where our God-guided spirit should be? Do we choose to stand alone, and stand upon God-honoring, Word-based convictions? Do we even take the time to consider whether the popular movies or books or video games of the day engage in such dark devices? Where do the Star Wars movies, the Harry Potter books, the superhero movies, the Hunger Games movies, the sexually explicit media, the violent video games, and the politicians who promote anger and division or fail to uphold Biblical principles fit in?
For one example, read Acts 16:16-40. God delivered Paul and Silas from prison in a miraculous event. They had been thrown in prison for exposing fortune telling (associated with witchcraft/sorcery/divination) and casting an evil spirit of such out of a woman. Obviously, God honored Paul and Silas because they stood for righteousness and in line with God’s character. God honored His children according to His Word, as Scripture clearly warns us against any association with magic arts and other forms of darkness. See Rev. 22:14-15.
I am not telling anyone how to judge, but I am suggesting we need to proactively determine if the content of those things which take our time is God-honoring and consistent with the Word. I see things every day in my own life where I need to be strong and diligent to do this. We want to determine to follow Jesus’ example and do only what our Father does and say only what our Father says (Jn. 14:9-12). Jesus tells us that if we love the Father, we will obey His commands (Jn. 14:15, 21, 23, 24). His commands are not burdensome; in fact, they produce blessing in our lives (1 Jn. 5:2-4). The Word also states that light has nothing to do with darkness, but instead, the light overcomes the darkness. (See Jn. 1:5; 8:12; 12:46; Lk. 1:79; Ps. 18:28). Let each of us evaluate whether those things with which we engage are producing or spreading light or darkness and vow to have nothing to do with the darkness. In doing so, we become a witness of Jesus to the world suffering in darkness.
Shun the darkness and engage in the Light,
If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.