Home> The Lower Lights>November 2004

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  Alan Jones, Editor

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"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48186     

Volume 4                                                                   November 2004                                                                                    No5 

 

REALITY CHECK

 

Television is filled with “reality” shows that are not reality.  In reality, you and I will not be stranded on a desert island and be forced to survive.  We will not pick a spouse from gorgeous candidates competing to marry us.  We will not be hired or fired by “the Donald”.  We will not eat worms or walk across the top of a moving semi-truck for a million dollars.  We will not have our houses extremely made over in a week.   Nor will anyone transform our bodies into “swans”.  Perhaps these shows would be better labeled as “escape” from reality.

  God has given us the book of Ecclesiastes for a reality check.  His words about life apply to our lives just as much as they did to the lives of men 3000 years ago when the book was written:

Reality is that life is full of heartache.  “Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many.” (11:8)

Reality is that many live in tears daily because of those who mistreat them.  “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun.  And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them …” (4:1)

Reality is that life is not fair.  “Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.” (3:16)

Reality is that we cannot find true satisfaction in money and what it will buy.  “He who loves

 

money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income.” (5:10)

Reality is we will die and we are not guaranteed to live to old age.  “Moreover, man does not know his time:  like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are snared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.” (9:12)

Reality is that, if we live to old age, our body will wear out and life’s joy will be replaced by pain.  “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.” (12:1)

Reality is that “he who dies with the most toys” leaves them behind to others who may squander all he has worked for.  “This also is a grievous evil- exactly as a man is born, thus will he die.  So what is the advantage who toils for the wind?… Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.  And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?…” (5:16; 2:18-19)

Reality is that TV and movies may give us an “escape” from reality, but do not take away the problems of life, nor do they give us any lasting happiness.  “I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure.  So enjoy yourself.’  And behold, it too was futility.  I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’” (2:1-2)

 

DEALING WITH REALITY

No matter how hard we try to escape reality, we just can’t.    We dream that every day will be pleasant, but reality is that we have many dark days.  We dream that people will always treat each other with kindness and fairness, but, in reality, many times we ourselves have felt the sting of mistreatment and injustice.  We dream that we will be happy if we just have a little more of what money can buy, but, in reality, we’re like the child who thinks if they got the toy in the catalog, they’d have all they ever wanted- who then gets the toy- but soon after is eyeing the catalog for still another toy. We dream we will live to be old, ignoring the reality that it may not happen, illustrated right in front of our eyes by the early passing of family and friends.  We dream that we can preserve our youth, but reality is wrinkle cream and hair dye may hide the aging of the body, but they cannot stop it.  We dream that we will always be able to enjoy what we have worked so hard for, blind to the reality that it soon will belong to someone else when we leave this world with what we brought into it- nothing!

We are fortunate that God had Solomon to “tell it like it is” about life and, in the end, to tell us what life must be all about, if we are to live it to its fullest, despite its dark realities.  His closing words were, “The conclusion when all has been heard is:  fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.  For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (12:13-14)

 

God’s wisdom tells us that the way to deal with reality is to live our lives in the fear of God.  We will find true fulfillment in knowing we are living in accordance with the purpose we have been created. We will find joy in pleasing our Creator.  We will find happiness in staying within His moral law instead of going our own way and experiencing the sorrows of sin.  And we will have the satisfaction of doing something that lasts beyond the grave and brings eternal reward.

Realities found elsewhere in Scripture complete the story.  The reality is that all of us have sinned and we can expect wrath, not reward, when every act is brought to judgment (Rom 3:23; Eph 2:1-3).  But, another reality is that God so loved the world that He gave His Son, so that we may not perish, but have eternal life (Jn 3:16).  God, in reality, will forgive us of our sins because of Jesus’ blood, if we believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and confess Him with our mouth (Rom 10:9-10) and repent of our sins and be baptized (Acts 2:38).  After living for Jesus, fighting the good fight, finishing the course, and keeping the faith, the reality is that we will be rewarded with the crown of righteousness on the Day of Judgment (2 Tim 4:6-8).

  Are you dealing with reality or just trying to escape it?  If we can help you deal with the realities of life, death, sin, judgment, and salvation, please write, call, or e-mail us.


 



 

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