"For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:3)
You can't become something until you realize you are nothing. Man, without the Lord's restraining power, would descend into the depths of wickedness. You've heard people refer to a man as "good.” His sin might not be as obvious as others, but that does not make him good. You can see dirt but you can't see germs, but germs are more harmful to your health than dirt. You won't find gold dust in a pigsty and you won't find holiness in man.
It is true that not all men are equally bad, and many sinners have done noble things. But one transgression wipes out our good deeds and renders them all worthless.
When a person realizes they are worthless, God changes that worthless junk into a golden medal. Our worth is not found in ourselves, but in Christ. "The best of men have been always the readiest to confess their depravity. The holiest men, the most free from impurity, have always felt it most. He whose garments are the whitest, will best perceive the spots upon them." *
*C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume One (Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 235.
"As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away." (Psalms 90:10)
Before the flood, a hundred-year-old man was still considered young. Man's years competed with the oaks. But even then, life was short. You might live to be thousand and still not know everything. There would always be things to do, places to go, and dreams to live.
Some people wish they could live forever. But why would you want your life on this planet to be endless? There'd be no end to your labor, no stop to your pain, and new heartaches would arise each day. It would be an awful fate to live eternally on earth. Although there are many enjoyable things on earth, there is as much bad as good, and we all hope for a day when evil will cease.
If you are under twenty-five, you probably think you have your whole life ahead of you, but that might not be so. People can die at any age, whether they are one or ninety. Haven't you heard of an infant's death? If anyone had their whole life ahead of them, wouldn't it have been them? Yet they lie in a grave, not even reaching the prime of life. God has allotted each person a certain number of years. The doctor may say you will die in three weeks, but you will not die until God says so. I know an older gentleman who was supposed to be dead several years ago, according to the doctor. He's still ticking because God hasn't stopped his clock.
If you only had a few weeks to live, what would you do? Eat, drink, and be merry? Try to see the world? That would be pouring your seconds into the wastebasket. It is good to enjoy your life, and there's nothing sinful in fun, but spiritual matters are more important than enjoying yourself. "I would not choose to sit on a barrel of gunpowder and smoke a pipe, but that is what those do who are thoughtless about their souls while life is so uncertain." *
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 139.
"You shall not follow the masses in doing evil." (Exodus 23:2)
A mob is synonymous with trouble. When a lot of people are doing, accepting, or believing this or that, that's a strong indication it's wrong. This isn't always the case, and shouldn't be applied to everything. It's perfectly fine to join the masses in eating Nutella, or a similar harmless activity. But when it comes to spiritual or modern trends, it is generally a good idea to steer clear of the masses. How often do we see millions standing up for what is right? We are fortunate to see a few thousand, and sometimes not even that.
Sally, Tommy, Ethel, and the whole neighborhood might be doing it, but that doesn't make it right. The number of participants can never make an evil thing good any more than a group of squirrels can make a dandelion an acorn. Your pastor may say this, your friend may say that, but the only voice that matters is God's. Never follow popular opinion unless it lines up with God's Word.
Sometimes the masses follow a trend that is neither right nor wrong. Then it is up to your conscience whether you should follow or stay behind. But never do something you don't want to do, even if it isn't sinful. Everyone might be eating strawberries but you shouldn't eat them if they give you hives. It is sound advice to stick to one's opinions (unless they are sinful). "The way of pleasing men is hard, but blessed are they who please God. He is not a free man who is afraid to think for himself." *
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 185.
"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22)
Happiness is subjective to our attitude. Those who sprinkle too much salt in their life will never taste the sugar. Not that salt is bad; a little salt is pleasing to the tongue, but a bucketful will make you gag. Pessimists are often irritated by optimists. The optimists are a like an annoying song that gets stuck in their head. But the optimists are happy whereas the pessimists are not, and that says something right there. Why are they being chided for seeing a rainbow in the rain? If they are happy, let them stay happy, and don't mock them for being so.
Some people seem determined to see only the bad. Their situation isn't bad enough so they shove their burnt food back in the oven so they can eat ash. "Many people are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed; they chew the bitter pill which they would not even know to be bitter if they had the sense to swallow it whole in a cup of patience and water." *
Joy is the best antidote for the dumps. Christians should be the loudest to sing in the rain. Even when we've lost everything, we still have God, and He is everything. But too often we forget and trudge in the mud of despair. Then the world sees it and wonders what advantage the Christian has.
It is good to be joyful most of the time, but sorrow has its place. Can there be joy in our sins? Can we rejoice in the darkness of the world? Can we laugh at death? It would not only be wrong, but downright sinful. Jesus Himself was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). Yet this Man of sorrows was also a man of continual thanks (Matthew 15:36; 26:27, c.f. John 6:11). "There's a bright side to all things, and a good God everywhere. Somewhere or other in the worst flood of trouble, there always is a dry spot for contentment to get its foot on, and if there were not, it would learn to swim." **
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 40. **Ibid., 42.
"They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy." (Psalms 65:8)
Every day God paints beauty in the world. He chooses a different palette for each sunset, and it radiates His creative power. How can anyone gaze at the sunset and not see His divine signature (Romans 1:20)? Those who can't see it must be blind, stupid, or unappreciative of art. Look around you. You won't be able to find one thing that doesn't have His signature on it. His fingerprint is etched on you. Who would attempt to convince someone that a two-year-old sloshed some paint on a canvas and out came the Mona Lisa? But I'm not really surprised since I live in an age where a squiggle is considered a masterpiece.
I think if more people studied Genesis, we'd hear less people take God's name in vain. How dare we even think of treating the world's greatest Artist flippantly? We marvel at His art often enough, but rarely does He receive credit. Did a gorilla compose Swan Lake? Did an elephant invent electricity? I think it's more likely that a giraffe cooked a cake than the world was created with a boom. If that were the case, then my house should be stuffed with a bunch of mini worlds from our air conditioner's constant banging.
God is good. It's such a simple phase but it's packed with meaning beyond human comprehension. Nature testifies to His infinite goodness. "God seems to talk to me in every primrose and daisy, to smile upon me from every star, to whisper to me in every breath of morning air and call aloud to me in every storm."* Any ugliness in the world we put there by our own sin. Since God is good, every wicked thing He allows, no matter what we do, will in the end turn out for good.
"Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing." (Isaiah 40:26)
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 159.
Mariposa is a self-taught artist who captures the glories of God's creation on canvas. She has a Ph.D. in creativity and a masters degree in imagination.
Aberdeen is a book-eating, ink-drinking dinosaur from the createtus period. When he isn't falling into plot holes or taking cover from the volcano of ideas, he's hanging out with Dee-Dee the doodledactyl. Read full bio