You’re single, you’re walking with the Lord, you want to be married, and you start liking a guy or girl who also loves the Lord. The problem is, that person doesn’t seem to be showing the same interest.
When I was 19-years-old, a deep fear came over me that I might waste my life. I had just spent the last four years of high school goofing off, living wild, partying with friends, and basically ignoring God. In our senior class yearbook, I was voted with the best laugh. That was my legacy thus far. Thankfully, however, God was not laughing with me or ignoring me.
Spiritual self-examination is an obscure discipline that once was common among Christians. This is because Christians believed that examination of the heart or searching our innermost and hidden self was a way of maturing as the temple of the Spirit.
Whenever questions like “Is hell real?” or “What reasons are there for hell?” or “Does hell really exist since God is love?” are asked, emotional answers are often given.
If we’re being honest, in times of trial, to “rejoice always” as we are commanded seems utterly ridiculous.
Certainly the Lord does not mean we should pretend to be joyful when we are really not. Does he? It doesn’t seem authentic to even seek happiness when trials, temptations, and tragedies are present, let alone to actually be happy in times like these.
So what does Philippians 4:4-7 mean when we are told to “Rejoice in the Lord always”?
Everyone is unique, thus Jesus draws us to himself uniquely. While each of has an individual story of straying and thus God will reach out to us in individual ways, there are often many common themes all of us experience on the road to reunification with God. One such story that depicts the path nearly every conversion is that of Zacchaeus.
Imagine you woke up one morning and you were in the middle of the ocean on ship with other crew members. No one knows how you all got there. No one knows what you all are supposed to be doing. You are all just there . . . on ship . . . with no coordinates . . . no mission . . . in the middle of a the vast ocean.
To make matters worse, no one on the ship really knows anything about sailing, navigating, or fishing. All the equipment for survival and a successful mission are present on the ship, it’s just that no one really knows how to use any of this.
The Bible says a lot about judging others. For example, Christians should not judge people’s motives, they should not judge non-believers, but they should judge other believers’ external actions if that Christian is living in sin. (For more on what the Bible says about judging others, read this article.)
However, what about being on the other side of the judgement? What should Christians do when they feel judged by others?
If you listened to the world, you’d come to the conclusion that the earth was made through a big, random explosions and through the course of time, organisms slowly evolved into all that we see before us. Random, dumb luck is the reason you and me are breathing oxygen this very moment. And if everything happened by luck, then there can’t really be any true meaning to life – only subjective meaning created in each individual rather than objective, global meaning applied to every human by a higher power.