[This blog post is part of a series. Read the previous post here and the next post here.]
Last week I began a series, using the hacker imagery of “gray hats.” Be sure to go back and read last week's post by clicking here.
Even if we want to be a white hat, we have a problem, don’t we? The world doesn’t play by God’s rules. How can we be that focused? How can we live that seriously focused and dedicated to God? I mean, there has to be some compromise, right?
Early followers of Jesus sacrificed a lot to be God-focused in their culture. In their world, they could not participate in the marketplace, or in politics, or in social events, if they would not honor the god(s) of their city. Usually, they would be asked to burn incense as they entered, or perform some simple ceremony to honor the god(s) of the city before being allowed to enter or participate in these places. But they didn't believe in those gods, and they had pledged their lives to the one true God. How could they impact their culture with God's way of living, how could they even survive, if they could participate in the simplest aspects of society?
For the early church, the question of livelihood, comfort, political power, fame, or even being seen as ‘normal’ was not worth stepping onto the path of the wicked. Not even for a second. Not even to just burn the incense to a false god. Nothing, not even their lives, was worth a moment of compromise. Their life did not come from Zeus, or the culture, or the market, or the government. They knew it came from God.
Read Psalm 1. When God inspired the writer of this psalm, notice His promise for provision, and endurance, protection, and productivity. He uses a vivid picture of a tree to describe how He will sustain those who devote themselves to Him. The tree is rooted, established, producing fruit continuously, enduring hard times and pressure, and thriving in His presence.
Then, He has an equally vivid and much shorter description of the wicked. No matter how well prepared their argument or justification, even the most deeply dug in mocker is like chaff… pheeeww… which the wind blows away because there is no real substance, no eternal value, and no life giving value for anything they say or do. They are empty shells that the wind blows away. It is interesting to note here that the Hebrew word for “wind” is 'ruach' which also means “spirit.” It is the same word used when describing God's Holy Spirit (‘Ruach ha Kodesh’). I am sure it is no coincidence that the writer chose the image of the “wind” blowing the chaff - as if to say, “When God moves for good, the Spirit of God blows away the empty and worthless efforts of the wicked.”
Do you define your existence as SURVIVING, more than THRIVING?
Perhaps it is time to take a look at where you stand, and what hat you are wearing. If there is no guiding purpose for your life and your talents, or if that purpose is only selfish or for a principle that God has taught against, take caution - your path is a house of cards. One stiff wind, one move of God toward what He has shown is good, and you could be wrecked. (Many who follow Jesus Christ today, can describe the moment in our life when all our plans, and all our 'mocking' - in doing things our own way - came crashing down because God revealed Himself to us.)
What about you? Are the principles you are building your life on ones that God has shown are timeless and ones that He will bless? Is your life thriving even in difficult circumstances? If not, which hat might you be wearing?
by Nathan Buck
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