I recently finished reading the book of Judges again. If you’re familiar with Old Testament history, then you know that in this time period the Israelites had settled in the Promised Land after Moses led them out of slavery in Egypt. God told the Israelites to drive out all the nations that inhabited the land He’d given them. But, for various reasons, they didn’t. God knew these nations would be a stumbling block between the Israelites and Himself… And, as always, He was right.
In the book of Judges, we read of Israelites who had no strong leader like Moses or Joshua had been. We read of a people mixing their beliefs with the beliefs of the nations around them. We read of a people who had been set apart for worship of the only true God who instead had added in bits of this belief and that practice and even idol worship to create a syncretistic religion. Not good.
These words appear over and over in the book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
Matter of fact, the very last verse in the book is those words exactly. (Judges 21:25) Do you think that’s a coincidence? I think not. I think God wants to hammer in an idea… doing what’s right in your own eyes can be very dangerous.
The problem with doing what’s right in our own eyes lies within our eyes. Make sense? Our view isn’t always right—even if it seems right. Without a good foundation of knowing truth, we humans tend to base our views off of what we think or feel. Sometimes, that works out ok. Sometimes it’s disastrous. So, how do we know if our view is right? We measure it against God’s view. If it doesn’t measure up, it isn’t right. No matter how it seems or feels. No matter what the cultures around us say. Unfortunately, sometimes what we think is right is what God says is evil. Ouch.
God’s word is given to us to give us life, to protect us, to guide us, and to teach us. With that concept in mind, the book of Judges has much to teach us today.
As a culture, are we following God or the non-Christian viewpoints around us? As individuals, do we keep our eyes on truth and follow hard after it, or do we allow even our “Christian” views to be tainted by bits of this belief and that practice and even idol worship? Hmmmmm That’s a scary, humbling thought.
Again, we can know God’s views by reading His word. He wants us to have a good foundation and know truth. He’s also blessed us with the Spirit to guide us.
Example – What Bruce Jenner Reminded Me Of
Bruce Jenner has been in the news much lately. Over the past few weeks I started noticing comments on social media about him. First, let me say that I have not kept up with this story. I really know very little about it or about him. This post won’t go into a deep analysis of his decisions. (If that bothers you, you’re welcome to stop reading.) And I definitely know nothing about what he professes to be his spiritual state. But what I noticed was the reaction that people had to his decisions.
It seems like many people are happy for him to finally “live for himself.” To finally be free. To stop living a lie and pursue whatever it is that will make him happy.
That sounds so encouraging and loving, doesn’t it? It’s a feel good message.
But if we examine that viewpoint in light of Scripture, I think we see a different story. And we see a love that isn’t defined by our terms, but the Creator’s. A love that wants more for us than just feeling good, but rather wants our eternal best.
Viewpoint and Dying to Self
Jesus taught us to serve and pour out our lives, emulating His example. For a Christian, there is immense joy and freedom in serving, not living for ourselves, but living for Christ and serving in whatever role He’s placed us. Christ taught us to die to self.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, ESV)
We need no longer be a slave to ourselves, chasing after the next thing that might offer us happiness. All that is needed it to follow Jesus. We need search no more! …After all, what makes us happy today might change tomorrow. True joy is unchanging and is found in Christ alone.
At one time Bruce Jenner must have thought a marriage commitment would make him happy. He committed to being a husband of a woman, but later changed his mind and decided that he just couldn’t be happy as a man anymore. So, he did what was right in his own eyes. He became a slave to self, and the world watched and said, “Go for it! Finally, you’ll be happy!”
But, when Christ fills us with the joy of freedom from self, that’s when we’re truly full indeed!
“I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”” (Psa 16:2, ESV)
Without Him as our solid anchor, we shift, drift, and sway.
But God never changes. He fulfills us today, and He will tomorrow. (See James 1:17 and Heb 13:8)
Those words might seem trite and an oversimplification to life’s major dilemmas. I understand that. But honestly, that doesn’t change the truth of them. Sometimes, the most complicated problems have the easiest answers.
Seek That Godly View
I’m not here to solve Bruce Jenner’s dilemmas, or anyone else’s. (And I do hope he finds true happiness– the deep seated joy of Christ.) But I’m here to encourage you to seek God, seek His viewpoint… to remind you to look at the world from the lens of His Life-Giving Truths found right inside the pages of your Bible. After all, this is an essential part of that dying to self we just talked about. Don’t be tainted by your own view, our culture’s views, the world’s views, or even your best friend’s view.
Let’s heed the warning from Judges so no one can say of us, “each man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
How has knowing the truth of God’s word given you a different view of the world around you? How can you read the Bible for truth and let that change your view?
Click to Tweet (and share this post): A Godly Viewpoint, Dying to Self, and What Bruce Jenner Reminded Me Of