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Getting Together--or-- Getting Your Act TogetherPeople are lonely. People want to get together. People long to find someone to relate to, to share with, to just be there--for the good times and the rough times.
Here is a sample of the mail we receive:My wife died and I am terribly lonesome. I desire to marry as soon as possible, God willing, but I do not even have a girl friend. Texas I am a single Christian parent and so eager to meet a Christian man with whom I would be compatible. California Can you help me over this loneliness? Kentucky I am a Christian church man 49 years old; good worker, good man. Don't like the bar life and flakes you meet. Looking for a good Christian woman. I am separated from my wife. She is not Christian. Illinois I am a widow of 14 years. I am 60 years old. I need someone for companionship. Florida I'm 39 years old and was transferred down here from Norwalk. I do not know anyone around here. Ohio I'm a man 86 years old. I live by myself. I get lonesome for good Christian fellowship to talk about our Lord and Savior. Indiana I have been dating a girl for a few months and is looks like she is losing interest in me. I thought sure she was the one for me. I still think so. I am in hopes that I can work things out with her. Pennsylvania I'm 30 years old and haven't found that special lady yet. I need a lady friend to talk to, share, help, and be happy. Tennessee And finally, I'd be willing to go to the ends of the earth for "Miss Right"--after some qualifying calls--even Harrison, Ohio. Ohio
These letters all came in the past week. And they're just samples. We get hundreds! They're from all over, both sexes, all ages. They each say it a little differently, but they're all lonely. And there are millions more. (Maybe you, too?)
Why do we have such a problem? Why the massive disintegration of society that seems to be going on all around us? Today's moral breakdown was foretold by Paul almost 2000 years ago.
In his second letter to Timothy, 3:1-7 Paul said, "In the last days perilous times shall come. For people shall be lovers of their own selves...unthankful, unholy, without natural affection.. .despisers of those that are good...lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away by various lusts. Ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth."
The times today are certainly perilous. "lovers of their own selves." Think of the proliferation of books extolling the virtues of 'self'. Titles like, "Self Love, the Dynamic Force of Success", "How to Get Whatever You Want", and best-sellers like "Looking Out for Number One". Whatever happened to the commandments to love God and love your neighbor? What happened to self sacrifice? Jesus said, "Whosoever tries to save his life, shall lose it; but whosoever shall be willing to lose his life for My sake, and the gospel, the same shall find it." Mark 8:37,38.
"Untruthful, unholy." People are ungrateful and unappreciative of the blessings God has given. The United States founding fathers declared that we have an inalienable right to "the pursuit of happiness". That right to pursue happiness has been perverted to "we have a right to be happy". Or we have a right to a minimum income. Or a right to housing. Or a right to _____ . We don't have any such rights. If you think you do, who gave them to you? God didn't. Part of today's decay is because we don't appreciate what we have; but ever demand more, more, more--because it is our 'right'.
"Without natural affection" To find out about natural affection, read Ephesians 5 and I Peter 3. That kind of affection is rare today. But we have all sorts of un-natural affection. We have sowed the wind of promiscuity and homosexuality and we now reap the whirlwind of AIDS and other STD's.
"Despisers of those that are good." The media, particularly television, is being used by Satan to confuse us with disinformation, , slanted information, and outright lies. Just one example: A few years ago Barbara Walters and Tom Snyder hosted a three hour special on women. Their stated purpose was to evaluate the world of women. The result, however, was a powerful propaganda piece for the women's liberation movement. The role of homemaker was not mentioned once, except to refer indirectly to this outmoded responsibility in vaguely derogatory terms. How did that make 35 million women feel? The women who are trying to live the traditional, biblical role of being a good wife and mother?
Are we ever mixed up! Virtues are vices and vices are virtues. It is supposedly a virtue to show pornography in schools and call it "sex education" and teach children in the early grades how to put a condom on a banana. However, it is evil to allow a child to pray in school!
Look at the rest of the phrases from Timothy. Each one accurately defines part of our problem. "Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away by various lusts. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." That's our education system and our value system right now. We are ever more sophisticated in our learning; but we never seem to be able to comprehend the simple truths of God.
People want to "get together" to solve their loneliness problem. But very few are willing to do the work to "get their act together". People want to eat, but aren't willing to work for the food. Remember the children's story about the little red hen? All the other barnyard characters when asked to help said, "Not I." So the little red hen did all the work. But when it came to time to eat the result of her efforts, everyone wanted to share. People want the satisfaction, joy, and happiness that comes from sharing in a good marriage. But very few are willing to exercise the discipline in their own lives to prepare themselves for that ideal relationship.
Long before Christ, Haggai described the situation. Chapter 1, verses 5-7, "Thus says the Lord of Hosts; Consider your ways. You have planted much, but harvest little; you eat, but are not satisfied; you drink, bur are not filled; you clothe yourselves, but are not warm; and your income disappears, as though you were putting it into pockets filled with holes. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, consider your ways."
Does this describe your situation? It describes too many of us, unfortunately. Think it over. Consider how you have acted--and what has happened as a result. We say we want one thing. But when we analyze our actions, it is frequently the case that we are acting as if we wanted the opposite of what we say we want.
None of us can do anything about what was done yesterday. However, we can live today so that tomorrow turns out better than yesterday.
Paul addresses our "perilous times" in Timothy. But YOU don't have to participate. You have a choice. You do have to go through perilous times; but you can live differently than everyone else is living. Although Paul defined the problem; Paul also points the way to the solution.
In Colossians 3:2,4,5,8, "Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth. Your real life is in Christ. You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed. But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips."
The beginning to the solution of your loneliness problem is to "set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth." A statement that has been used so much that it has become trite is, "Christ is the answer." But it's still true. Your real life really is in Christ. If you will make you first goal to have a closer walk with Jesus, one good thing will happen for sure--and another good thing might happen. As you draw closer to God, you will become more content with your life whatever your circumstances. You will have the "peace of mind that passes understanding".
And don't tell me how hard it is to do that. I know how hard it is because I know how hard it was for me and how long it took me to get over missing my wife when she left. The good news is how good all of life is after I did finally get over her!
No matter how hard your struggle may seem, you need to do the same. You need to go on for the sake of your own mental health.
The second good thing that might happen (no guarantee, but possible) is this: As you make your own walk closer and closer to God, He just might have a person that is right for you walking on the same path. Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Prepare yourself first.
Paul states the solution in a different way in Romans 6:11-13, "Reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, don't let sin rule in your mortal body, that you should obey it in lusts. Neither yield to sin, but yield to God."
The times are perilous. They're deathly--deadly. But YOU can be alive. You can be alive by eradicating all sin from your life and yielding to the will of God in all things.
Want to "get together" for an ideal relationship? Get your act together. If you will, Paul tells what can happen in three verses in Philippians: 2:13, "For it is God which works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure." 3:14, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
God's promise to you if you will walk with Him is stated very simply in I John 2:25, "and this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life." The promise is worth the price!
May you get together with God. May you find the contentment and peace He has waiting for you. This is my prayer for you, today.