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Monday, 20 November 2017

Get back to the Maker's Manual!

This is the last of my wee series based on the writings of the Old Testament prophet, Malachi. We may consider ourselves to be indebted to him for underlining the importance of living in obedience to the commands, and principles, of Almighty God. There were those among his contemporaries - as, indeed there are many today - who attempted to achieve happiness and success by ignoring the moral laws that God has built into the universe. But such a way - then as now - was a way of failure and discontentment. 

That begs the question: "What is involved in living responsibly in an age in which moral issues are somewhat vague, and blurred? An age is which, to refer to the apostle Paul, the bugle is definitely giving an indistinct sound (see I Cor. 14:8). An age in which sexual deviants are deferred to at every turn - in spite of the statistical fact that they make up less than 5% of the population. An age in which so-called "foreign aid" goes from the UK to countries that have nuclear and space programmes, and a despicable record on even the most basic of human rights."

May I suggest that it means developing a set of values based on the written Word of God - and sticking to them even when it is difficult, and costly, to do so? In our 'modern' society, it is often easier to conform than to resist. But we are enjoined to "... not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Rom.12:2). We live at a time when it is more comfortable to compromise than to disagree - but the duty of those of us who make the claim to be disciples of Jesus, is to obey God, and follow His principles, regardless of the personal consequences. By the way, if that sounds even remotely hard, or legalistic, let it also be said that God not only raises the standard to great heights - He also provides, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the power by which we may attain it. 

The fourfold standard that Malachi raised, almost 2,500 years ago, surely needs to be raised again today. Until we learn to honour God as God; until we make up our minds to expound, and explain, in our congregations and fellowships the importance of walking in His ways; until we resist the pressures of today's society and view marriage as a solemn and binding relationship between one man and one woman; until we recognise that our material possessions are not ours to own, but ours to use; we will remain, and become increasingly, spiritually impoverished and indolent. The time has come - indeed, it may be said to be long past - for disciples of Jesus to have our vision refocused. This can happen, only when we get back to the Bible - the Maker's Manual.

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