Lesson 12 -- fourth quarter 1999
November 21, 1999
Human convention and opinion do not bind God. He does things His way. His people do well to follow along without regard to what others think. Do His methods strike you as unconventional? That's just what you think! (Marching around a city in silence is just not the way conquest is done, right?) Do others ridicule His methods . . . and you for following them? So be it! (The Israelites may have looked ridiculous going around Jericho but that was before the end of the story. Then the ones who ridiculed were also the ones who were defeated.)
Will you follow God's ways even if it means being misunderstood and ridiculed? I can guarantee you that choosing this approach to living means taking the long range view. Focus on the joy set before you, just like Jesus did. Also critical to successfully living this way (first, in fact) is keeping your eyes on Jesus. Care more about the final victory than about the present trials. Care more about the Master than about the mockers.
Choosing God's ways in our day opens us to increasing amounts of ridicule. Even from other Christians. Our spirit should still be one of humility and love, despite the mockery and misunderstanding, despite the source.
In the current context, let's look a bit at an issue that is very much alive a year before you read this. I expect discussion of this issue will be even more alive by the time you read this. At this point, opinions on this issue vary widely. Likely that will continue to be the case till the new millennium. Because it has to do with the new millennium. The issue? Something we call Y2K.
You are less than two months from knowing if the gloom and doom many associate with Y2K was little more than a bunch of hype and hysteria. For the sake of this lesson's discussion, though, assume Y2K will bring civilization to its knees.
How will God's people deal with this scenario's results? Just last week I read of a famous preacher who is even now preparing for Y2K by stockpiling food, water, batteries and other such essential supplies . . . including ammunition. Shall that be our attitude as well? No, I don't mean ammunition; I mean other ways of protecting our supplies from those who would deprive us of them.
Perhaps we should just admit to the real question: Shall we trust God enough and love our fellow man enough to choose God's ways?
Remember, choosing God's ways often means others will take advantage of you. Also remember that choosing God's ways often means other Christians (real and alleged) will misunderstand, judge, mock and ridicule you. But as you remember those facts life, be sure you remember this as well, even first: God always wins. So choose Him!