Sunday, January 17, 2016
Those who are PROUD of their Lives
[the world's advice above, if you know how F. Scott Fitzgerald ended up you can see where it took him]
1 John 2:16King James Version (KJV)
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Pride in life is growing.
The bible says the pride of life is not of the Father.
When I read this verse it blew me away. I had been hammered by those who were proud of their lives and telling me I had nothing to be "proud" of. Pride of life was everything to them.
I have noticed that showing one self as having a "good life" has become a contest too, with the bucket list and acquisitions and more. Pride in life has grown IMMENSE.
Are you PROUD of your life?
What if you have a life you cannot brag about? What if you are homeless? What if you are a sick person or childless or life is a wreck and you barely are staying afloat? One pain that can come to people is feeling like they do not "measure" up. Years ago I had someone very wicked I later departed from tell me, that I had "nothing to show for my life". I had no trophies, or special awards or vacations or possessions to brag about. Into late middle-age I had not "made a name" for myself, I was a "nobody" in my new community. They actually said to me, "You own nothing.".
Today a family member called, it's one of the few I am in contact with and bragged about how they were going on this trip and another trip and another family member was going to go to London, with 6 members of their family in tow for Spring Break. They brag about this present and that one, and this activity. They know I am poor, my contact with them is very limited but it feels like Chinese water torture. I want to talk to two nephews, so I am friendly on the phone, but it's painful. Even this last connection may ebb away.
I'm one of those people who has gotten called "loser" too much in the land of competition. And trust me it's tough out there. In my case, I did get through college and had semi-professional jobs, for a time so how is it for someone who due to certain circumstances never made it through high school? Many people suffer from the proud hammering them with the "measure up or else's standards.
One burden the church Pharisee's are laying today is the false moral paradigm of USA materialism. What you own or "do" is what you are worth. The Pride of Life.
Satan holds out the "lure" of now "You will be SOMEBODY" tm and in competitive American society it doesn't let up. The lure of riches is a big one. The desire to have things, to fill an empty hole inside keep many running. Even if it's not about money, its about other forms of success, travel and popularity.
So much of the Christian world sees God in a certain way. Some point to the ATM machine but some seem to see God, as their "magic genie" at their beck and call. Recently I have been dealing with many unanswered prayers and illness, some definitely have seen some of those themes expressed on this blog. It's a challenging time but perhaps one of learning.
In the churches, I noticed a developing theme and yes I have talked about this with the BEST LIFE NOW articles, that there seemed to be a theme taught even in non-prosperity gospel churches, that if you were a good person and did "everything right" that you would be "blessed". This was touched upon in the poor in church article. If you were tormented or sick, or life was crumbling, it was your fault and God had deemed you "unworthy".You did not have the favor of God. If someone faced poverty or illness, many taught indirectly that it was a result of "sin" or they had lost the favor of God.
This belief influenced me, as I thought by becoming a Christian, that God would solve many of my problems and while I never believed in the prosperity garbage, I believed in some small way that blessings would flow and not just in the next world. I held out for healing and change, and a new vista, which we know in American society, they push this dream of always striving ,that influences us all. The focus on self-improvement can be itself a trap.
All my churches told me if I had enough faith , God would cure me of my severe health problems. While God gave me longer to live then I expected there was that nugget of a dream inside. I believed one day God would solve my household's financial problems or at least stabilize them. In the churches, many a pastor would preach that if you obeyed God, that you would be blessed in this world too. Inside, I had this thought that one day, I would be deemed a "worthy" person too, and would see some of these blessings, not just financial, but this idea of an "easier" stable life. These were all things that ended up being challenges to my faith and not supportive of it.
Of course the question came to my mind, what about those martyred apostles and those who lost their lives in the Inquisition who refused to do idolatry or succumb to Rome? What about innocent children killed in war or camps? By all ways they weren't "measuring" up to the system either. See how they have set this up to deceive?
The churches all support the American dream in the USA. Very few question the premises of it. The ideal is that you are to have the nice suburban house and consumerism rules. Even the church system's clinging to Christmas or "presents" and "shop until we drop" day shows this. The pride of life is what has many showing off their lavish homes, children, hobbies, vacations and more online and elsewhere. Look at me! Look at what a great life I have! The pride of life, is leading many church people to support wars and more that supposedly will prop up the American way of life.
Some Christians get stuck in a GIMMME approach to God. All the Santa Claus garbage influences in a bad way. God is supposed to answer our prayers and give us a "good" life. What if this does not happen? What does scripture say about these things? Scripture warns of mourning in this life. It does not promise riches.
Historically these things have been a long time in coming. False teacher Calvin even taught a vision of earthly success which impacted the history of Capitalism. Success and money became intertwined with a "pride of life" where material success in this world became equated with a sign of God's blessings. The Bible teaches the complete opposite:
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, andinto many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
You see the people now where "pride of life" has become everything, where they desire, attention, fame, and adulation. The churches teach a "pride of life" to their members and some even demand this "pride of life" for one to be acceptable in their pews.