I'm sitting here in the Tampa airport and contemplating my next post and I realized that I didn't get something into the last post on perserving in resisting evil and repenting and returning to God.
The question of evil is a very difficlut one. We often think of Evil as a force opposed to God. Often we think that there are those who are out to serve "evil." (whatever that is.)
As I said earlier, evil is twisted good. it is a good twisted out of proper proportion. It is something created by God as "good" but put to ends that do not serve God, but serve the creation (generally ourselves) instead.
We've all heard the phrase "perception is reality." To that I say "Wrong!!!!!" Perception is not reality. Reality is reality. God (the author of reality) alone determines what is real and what is not. We participate in reality when we are in union with God. The problem with evil or sin (and sin and evil can be strong synonymns) is that it is an action or thought based in unreality. It is based on the lie that we know ourselves better than God and that we know better for ourselves than God does. So, sin and evil is unreal living. It living in a lie. Perception is not reality. Reality is Reality and the difference between our perception and Reality is commonly called "sin."
On the other hand, we can only know reality through our perception. If our perception is sufficiently twisted by sin, we end up worshipping a false God - that is idolatry. And here is the worse news. Left to ourselves, we all worship a false God - and that God looks and sounds and thinks very much like we do.
One of my "guilty pleasure" movies is a 1980s movie called "Yellowbeard." It stared Cheech and Chong as well as Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Marty Feldman, and Madeline Khan. In the movie, Tommy Chong is a Spanish Conquistadore Captain who plunders a rather rich treasure. His ship's chaplain says that the King of Spain will be very proud of the Captain when he receives the booty. Tommy Chong replies that such a treasure is to great for the King of Spain. It is meant for God along. After all, "who is more important? The King of Spain (pointing away) or God (pointing first to himself and after a moment, pointing upwards)?"
We all ask that same question and point to ourselves when speaking of God.
We are trapped in our perception. We need to be broken free from our perception so we can get a clearer glimpse of Reality. This what repentance does for us. Repentance is begun by God acting in our hearts and minds to let us see that our perception is hurtful to ourselves and to others. Our perception is twisted and sick and needs to be put right - to be justified.
Repentance is not possible without God's spirit working in us.
So, the question for this weekend is "how is your perception twisted? How is the reality that you perceive different from God's Reality?" And, after you have asked God to help you answer that question, the next question is what are you going to do about it?