My intentions today was to cover the history of the Day of the Dead (Dia del lost Muertos) or All Saints Day and All Souls Day. I started watching some videos on the history of these festivals until the Holy Spirit urged me, “You don’t want to go there.” In a nutshell, it’s all paganism. I already did the History of Halloween which started with All Saints Day, and I opted to take this in a different direction.
My reason for wanting to do a post on the Day of the Dead is that I live in Arizona. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican festival, though it’s origins go back to the Celts and Catholic adoptions of pagan rituals and beliefs. But then, God reminded me of a study I did in the YouVersion free Bible app called “The Secret Battle of Ideas about God” by Dr. Jeff Myers (Amazon Affiliate Link) and one of its sections.
Today’s church — Christian and Catholic — has been infiltrated by the culture. James said…
Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.James 4:4 NLT
And you don’t want to become an enemy of God.
Stopping Idea Viruses
Dr. Myers writes…
Thinking of bad ideas as viruses can help us see how ideas work. It also can help us stop bad ideas from attacking us and those we love. Let’s see if the four steps that stop viruses can help stop bad ideas from doing their miserable work.
Step 1: Identify
Doctors can identify viruses by the symptoms they cause: aches and pains, fever, and so forth. Among Christians, for example, a terrible “virus” is striking the young. They are walking away from their faith. One measure of the virus’s reach is how many drop out of church. Up to 75 percent of students who were significantly involved in church in high school are no longer even attending church at twenty-somethings, and only 35 percent return and attend regularly (defined as at least twice a month). Many think higher education is the problem. It’s not. Those who don’t attend college after high school are even more likely than college-goers to stop attending church.
What kinds of bad ideas produce such casualties? Having worked with hundreds of thousands of young adults, I’ve come to believe they fall prey to one of five worldviews:
- Secularism. Life is about control. We can use our intelligence to harness evolution and make life turn out the way we want. I’ll call this worldview secularism, from a Latin word meaning “life span.” Secularists don’t ask what God wants or what history requires of us, but instead what we think best serves us during our lifetimes.
- Marxism. Life is about capital. As we saw earlier, Karl Marx in the mid-1800’s proposed that the working class’s wretched condition was due to exploitation by the rich. Whereas the Bible directs believers to work hard and share with those in need, Marxism demands a forcible overthrow of all existing social structures: government, the economy, religion, and family.
- Postmodernism. Life is about context. According to this worldview, “Capital-T” truth cannot be known to exist; there are only “lowercase-t” truths that we create for ourselves. We need to be “post”-modern, this worldview argues, investing our time uncovering the ways religious and scientific people try to trick us into thinking they’re right. This is postmodernism.
- New spirituality. Life is about consciousness. With new spirituality, at the core of reality is a higher consciousness, a force some people call “god.” Spirituality isn’t just a thing; it is the only thing. Whereas King David in Psalm 119:48 wrote about meditating on God’s words, new spirituality recommends spiritual practices that make people feel at one with the universe.
- Islam. Life is about conquering. A sixth-century nomad named Muhammad claimed that an angel revealed humanity’s need to unite around sincere worship of one God: Allah, in Arabic. Considering itself to be the one true religion, Islam teaches that we all are born Muslim (“those who submit”). Disbelief must be conquered through jihad.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14
14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NLT
Now, if we replace the phrase “humble themselves” in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people will humble themselves (HUMILITY)..,” we can say:
… if My people will defeat pride;
… if My people will accept themselves for who I made them to be and pursue their full potential;
… if My people will train themselves to be meek and put their lives under My control;
… if My people will deny themselves and yield their rights;
… if My people will submit themselves to spiritual authority;
And as the verse continues, “…pray and seek my face (HUNGER FOR GOD), and turn from their wicked ways (HOLINESS), then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.”
If we want God to come and bring revival and transformation in our nation and across nations, we need to EXERCISE HUMILITY, among others, and as followers of Jesus, we must turn this vow into a lifestyle. God cannot use us to our fullest potential until we learn humility. So, if we truly want to change the world, we need to commit to intentionally walk in humility. We do not need another people power revolution of the proud. We need a spiritual, Jesus Revolution of the humble.
When you remove God from the public square, ethical conduct diminishes. Biblical principles are thrown out the window, and God’s laws are ignored and even ridiculed. Self-sacrifice is soon replaced by self-gain.
Today, our culture needs more than just preserving. It needs replenishing. Ideally, we as Christians should be known by the way we enrich the world by our presence.
A student once raised this objection: “You Christians are narrow-minded; you insist that Jesus is the only way”. I gently countered him asking: “Is it always wrong to be narrow-minded?”
He appeared a little perplexed and I illustrated for him that in a Math class, 2 + 2 is always 4 and there was no scope for broad-mindedness, and even if one insisted, the grades in the exam may not reflect an appreciation for the same.
Truth tends to be exclusive and narrow. It is like this little boy intensely praying after his geography exam, ‘God, please change the capital of India to Mumbai’, simply because he had written so. Clearly, one cannot afford to change the truth to suit one’s whims and fancies.
What transpires with most religious claims is that each of them, not just the Christian worldview, tends to be exclusive. Here is something that most wouldn’t have thought about. The so-called ‘pluralist’ is as exclusive as anybody else in the fray. This is because he / she is claiming that their view or way is the ‘only’ way!
In John 14, we read Jesus saying to Thomas and His disciples: “I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. He then died on a Roman cross thereby showing us that the only way to the Father’s mansions is through the death of Jesus Christ. Now, no other religion makes that claim. Right from the diagnosis of the human condition, to the destiny that is promised, each worldview makes fundamentally different claims. Theoretically, all of them may be wrong. One option that we do not have is that all of them could be right, because they say opposite things.
So, the unique message of the Bible is reasonable and more than that enjoys an experiential relevance, and an empirical adequacy that is unparalleled. No wonder, Jesus exclaimed looking at His opponents: “They hated me without cause”. (John 15:25)
While the salvation offered in Jesus Christ is unique – “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) – the Church is an organization that reaches out to people from every creed, color or background. In other words, while salvation is exclusive in Jesus, everyone is invited.
Battling the World
At the top is a picture is of a trail at Dreamy Draw park in Phoenix. It was a fork in the road. I had to make a choice of which path to take. These were my choices…
As Paul warned us…
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT
Do You Have the True Salvation of Jesus Christ?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
To go through Dr. Meyer’s full study on the “Secret Battle of Ideas”, download the free YouVersion Bible app and search for it under “plans”.