by Paul K Varkey (St. Peter's Jacobite Church, Philadelphia)
There is a constant hue and cry for freedom. Everyone feel about unfairness and seeking for freedom of speech, religion, freedom of women and so on. The real problem is the sinful nature of humanity and knowing the truth. Inherent sinful nature in human being is often debated and disputed from some corners of thinking in this world. Real problem is how anyone can explain the inappropriate conduct and behavior seen in children in their very young age. It has to be concluded that this came from fallen nature we inherited at our birth. This is unchangeable not only at the time of apostle but even in our age and time.
We are living in a secular and materialistic world. Accordingly everything is limited to the age and time and reality is only what we can see, touch, and experience. We believers can see things which are beyond the realm of this world. Our Lord taught us that He is the way, truth and life. Undoubtedly we live in a world where evil is prevalent. People are looking for money, power, and pleasure. All our efforts and ambitions focus on temporary things. For achieving these temporary fulfillments, it is common nature knowingly or unknowingly suppresses others. Unfortunately even church and believers become part and victim of this struggle.
It is in this situation, St. James is writing, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)." It is unwise and inappropriate to resist the evil without submitting to God. Without submitting, resistance can become another evil. Believers often become passive and reluctant to resist evil. Godly consciousness should not divert anyone from the responsibility.
The same idea is seen through out the Bible especially in Paul's and Peter's writings. They are asking us to be vigilant and to submit to God. Let us be children of firm faith and commitment to go forward with our struggle on daily basis. We have to experience God's care and provision every day. Jesus said to him "I am the way the truth and the life. No one come to the father except through Me (John 14:6)." The truth can be known and learned through the word of God. There need to be a diligent approach to present ourselves approved to God. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)." An earnest desire to live out faith according to the word of God is strongly emphasized in this Bible passage. Strength to withstand and to be victorious in this warfare between the spiritual life and worldly life is the strength of the truth. That is Jesus himself.
It is our great privilege to become the disciple of Jesus Christ. The truth taught by Jesus Christ shall make you free (John 8:32); it free us from spiritual darkness and enemies of God. This frees us from injustice and worldly desires. The knowledge of truth brings us together to the cross despite our prejudices and differences. Being crucified with Christ, a person becomes renewed. We are no longer slaves to sin but children of God. This constant and ongoing warfare between the world and spirit is the reality in our life on earth. This struggle is inevitable. The real challenge is how to respond to it in a Godly manner.
May the Lord give us strength and vision to go forward in the days to come.
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