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The challenge of the great “what if” is a challenge that we will all face at least once in our lifetime.
For some, it is a lament of a lost opportunity. For some, it may be the great “what if” I had only worked harder in a certain sport or made the winning touchdown or scored the winning goal or not had a career ending injury. For some, it may be the great “what if” I had asked a certain girl to the dance or out on a date. For some, it may be the great “what if” I had chosen a different career path.
So many “what ifs.”
As a parent, the greatest “what if” challenge we face is: What if my child grew up to model their life as a husband, wife, or parent after me? What would that look like?
It is a scary thought when we look at a society that is filled with drug abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, workplace bullying, and an increase in crime.
But before we even get there. A question to all the teenagers, especially those in high school: “Would I be happy or disappointed if my future child or children grew up modelling the values and examples that are reflected in my life?”
I often hear people talk about their hopes and dreams for their children. Some are quite disappointed by the lifestyles that their children are adopting. While others are more optimistic.
Men and women of faith! Examine your lifestyle before you answer the great “what if” question. Are you the real deal when it comes to your faith and day to day living?
Many of you are guilty of the sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Many of you practice adultery; indulge pornography; get drunk; bully people at work for your benefit; fight with your wife both physically and psychologically; berate the ones you have committed before God that you would love. You live secret lives of sin while publicly putting on a persona of righteous living. You harbour anger, bitterness and even curse those you are supposed to love.
And when you are caught – you always claim that it is never your fault.
Men and women who claim to be Christians. If you could look into the future, what would the fruit of your life look like? Would your children be adulterers, spousal abusers, pornography addicts, workplace bullies, people who could not sustain a healthy marriage, users of drugs or alcohol to cope with life or something totally different?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [Galatians 5:22-23]
Far too many young people today are growing up with a distorted view of God and they come to this conclusion from watching those who go to church. In our desperation to put on a church program at Christmas, we accept those who misuse the name of the Lord the rest of the year to fill a role in our pageant. Do we show the true value of women as Jesus did or do we assign them to a second-class status? Do we choose to value those who openly contribute large sums of money to the church over those who cannot?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes a person. If the Scriptures are true and they are, then what we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 is true: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!”
God’s grace is real. God’s grace changes a person, not just for an hour on Sunday but Monday through Sunday 24/7/365. God’s ability to forgive your sins, heal your hurts, and give you a new purpose in life needs to be lived out in your life 24/7/365.
“What if?” we actually did live out the belief we profess on a Sunday morning the rest of the week? What would the church or the world begin to look like?
We need to ask God for the courage to stop the hypocrisy of a good living works-based gospel and actually live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.