Today’s scripture: Gal 5:16-21 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Jeff Cope):

As Christians, living in the United States is a huge contrast of ideas. Our Christian doctrine places emphasis on humility, forgiveness, and self-control that directly counters what we strive for in the U.S. In this country, we want unchecked success, revenge on our enemies, overindulgence of every whim, and instant gratification to that end.

We have an overabundance of goods and services available to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week: restaurant platter sizes that are enough for two people, TV commercials showing how alcohol can make you the life of the party, and reality shows displaying the glamorous lives of the rich and famous. We even have a city named “Sin City” to provide all of the “pleasures” of this life. The emptiness is within arms’ reach if you have enough cash.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is all bad, and I believe this is a great country (I even enjoy Las Vegas). These ideas have allowed us to be progressive and make great strides towards equality. The fact that I’m able to write about my religion and call out some of the negatives of this country speaks volumes.

I think as a Christian it’s about finding balance. We were put here, in the land of plenty, as a test. Nothing is by accident. Will we walk the walk and be kind to others, be servants where needed, and live a balanced existence in honor to God? Or will we walk the fine line between living for our temporary physical bodies instead of our eternal souls?

Thought for the day: It’s normal to want more and to be attracted to a wealthy lifestyle. But those temptations can come with a price. Christ’s message urges us to find riches in serving God and others rather than luxuries. What luxuries could you give up to serve God better?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.

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