As a child, I remember when E.T. lit up his finger, pointed at Elliot’s heart and told my generation to “Be good.”
“Good” meant to obey trusted adults, to keep out of trouble, to keep from breaking things, myself and other kids.
A few years later, the band Poison was telling my generation we didn’t need “Nothin’ But a Good Time” while Marky Mark Wahlberg rapped about “Good Vibrations”.
Good seemed to have a new meaning for teenagers.
After that, we’d hear from rapper Ice Cube that on a certain good day, he didn’t have to use his assault rifle.
We should all have good days like that.
Obviously culture provides a variation on the definition of good and it is up for grabs.
I believe modern Christianity has provided a variation as well.
Does good mean to go to church on Sunday? Does good mean to serve those in need? Does good mean to give regularly?
It can be dangerous when Christian culture defines a “good Christian” separate from the source of its goodness. The danger comes in self-reliance.
This is a guest post by Alan Sivakumaran who is “a sinner saved by the grace and love of Jesus. Son, Brother, Friend, Counselor, Runner, DFW Sports Fan, Karaoke Legend in China, and an Adventure-seeker.” You can contact him on Twitter
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One of the biggest movies of the summer was the latest Pixar movie Inside Out. The movie focuses on the five core emotions in the mind of a preteen named Riley. The Five Core Emotions in the movie are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Throughout the movie, these emotions would work together to help Riley live a productive life. The emotion Joy is the primary leader of the emotions. Joy does everything in her power to keep Riley happy. Joy seems to work well with all the emotions except for Sadness.
Joy doesn’t understand Sadness’ purpose in Riley’s life. Joy does not want Riley to feel sad because she believes it causes her to be unhappy. Throughout the movie, Joy will limit Sadness’ role in Riley’s life. I believe that a lot of us can relate towards this belief that we should never be sad. We fail to understand the purpose and the power of sadness in our life.
Sadness is a tough emotion to embrace and handle in our lives. When we feel sad, then it causes discomfort and pain in our lives. We may feel that there is something wrong with us. It can be tough to admit or share our sadness with others and ourselves. We don’t want others to view us as weak or not having it all together.
God Bless our friends and family, but they will do everything in their power to help eliminate sadness (which is mostly a positive thing). Sometimes we need to accept and feel sadness in our life. Not only is sadness inevitable, also there is a reason why God allows us to experience and feel sadness.
A song came out in the early 60’s called “The Last Kiss” by Wilson and the Cavaliers. It’s about a couple out on a date who get in a car accident. The girl dies in her boyfriend’s arms. He mourns her death singing, “Oh where, oh where, can my baby be? The Lord took her away from me. She’s gone to heaven so I got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world.”
This song can sum up the attitude of a lot of people. We have a tendency to think if we live a good life, if the good works we do outweigh the bad, then we will have earned our way to heaven.
Unfortunately, the Bible does not allow anyone to earn their way to heaven. Scripture teaches that good works have nothing to do with one entering into a right relationship with God. This relationship is nothing we can earn, because God has already done everything for us.
Whether we’re talking about being Gospel centered, or reminding ourselves of Jesus, or coming before the cross, one thing is for sure…in the life of the follower of Christ, it is crucial for Jesus to be at the center of all things. Not “just to be in the center,” but because there is actual power in the name of Jesus and as soon as we take our eyes off of Him, we’re in trouble.
I’m guilty of this more than anyone else I know and I know the moment I take my eyes off of Christ, my eyes immediately go to myself. My selfishness, my priorities, my rights, my life. I become the center of everything and my decisions ultimately are rooted in what benefits me the most. While all that is taking place, I just respond reactively to whatever the culture is doing around me instead of being proactive as a disciple of Christ.
We must come before the cross to remind ourselves of what Jesus has done for us.
The Cross Reminds Us Of Forgiveness
Jesus suffered for us. He took the penalty of sin for us. He was literally beaten, bruised, ripped apart, and crucified on our behalf. And while he hung on the cross, the wrath of God was poured out on Him to atone for the sins of the world, and He died. And as we know, it didn’t end there…He rose from the dead defeating death and sin in victory!
Forgiveness is available to all people and those that are actually forgiven are those who choose to believe and follow Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives. We need the cross as a reminder that we are forgiven for ALL eternity – our past, present, and future sins. Not as an excuse to continue sinning, but as a reminder that the war is already won, and we have incredible freedom through Jesus.
Everyone seems to be on a search to find their purpose or meaning in life. I’ve spoken with many people that sometimes don’t see the point to why we are here or believe they don’t have a purpose. It crushes them and drives them ultimately to seek out whatever it is they think will bring satisfaction to their lives, only to discover they can’t find life or their purpose.
God’s Word has much to say about what our purpose is and why we are here in the first place. Not only does He show us what our purpose is, but ultimately, what His purpose is and what He will accomplish through us.
It’s hard not to read the Bible as a believer and see just how much Jesus has done for us and how big of a mission He has put us on in regards to making disciples. Just reading the Bible alone can prove the point that we have a purpose in this life…in fact…we have an amazing opportunity to make disciples through the power of God Himself.
Sometimes we don’t believe we have a purpose because we have forgotten about what Jesus has done for us. Let’s remember Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and let’s start there. If we begin from that starting point, we’ll remember that our identity is found in Christ and that He will lead us on our amazing purpose to glorify Him in everything we do.
Here is what the Bible has to say with scripture on purpose:
Kind is a four-letter word among men. Literally. You don’t hear us saying it much.
If you toss a man a Gatorade after the both of you have finished boxing grizzly bears it’s not likely to hear, “Thanks, man. That was kind.”
We like to be called “tough”, “disciplined”, “ambitious”, “driven”.
We’ll even go for being called generous, anything other than kind and its pansy cousins “compassionate”, “meek” and . . . yikes . . . “tenderhearted”.
Our current culture shines a light on unkindness from every race and creed and gender.
As patience erodes, kindness dissipates.
Like a biscuit at a gluten-free party, kindness doesn’t seem to fit in well with where culture is headed.