“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for [Moses] had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
Brainwashed people don’t know they are brainwashed; that’s the very nature of being brainwashed! When we think of the plethora of non-Christian cults in the world, and we consider their distinctive doctrines, we are sometimes amazed that otherwise rational and intelligent people could hold such beliefs. What’s more, we are amazed that their beliefs color the Bible the way they do. Lest we become arrogant in our own saving knowledge of Christ, let us remember that none of us—saved or unsaved—are necessarily immune to all forms of deception and wrong thinking. The Bible is replete with instructions to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and to be on the lookout for frauds and charlatans (Mark 13:5-6; Luke 21:8; 2 Timothy 3:13). Even though we know and affirm these things, we too are often led astray in our thought by the spirit of our age. Nowhere is this deception more subtle, or more widespread, than in the area of common social values. Secular movies and TV shows, sports athletes and celebrities and those popular on the various social media platforms determine, to a large extent, what the rest of us interpret as important, valuable, fashionable, profound, or “cool.” This is a problem because God’s economy is so very different than that of the unregenerate trend-setters. While the world values and pursues amusement and entertainment, the Bible sees wisdom and knowledge as treasures above that of rubies (Job 28:18). While the loud and vainglorious typically gain the world’s attention and respect, it is a meek and quiet spirit that is of great price in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:4). While our shallow world is enamored of those with hard bodies, God delights in those with soft hearts (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26; 1 Peter 3:8). The world’s “wisdom” is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 1:20). The devalued, the underestimated and the overlooked are His beloved; they are His chosen champions to accomplish His great purposes on the earth (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). St. Lawrence of Rome (225-258) understood this well. Moved with compassion, he began to sell the church’s treasures and use the money to help the poor. The Roman prefect demanded that he regain what he had sold and turn it over to the government. Three days later, Lawrence assembled the city’s poor, sick, and outcasts and presented them as the “Church’s treasures.” Outraged, the Prefect ordered Lawrence’s execution. Though we in the western world have not yet resisted evil men and their wicked systems to bloodshed (Hebrews 12:4) as Lawrence did, we can certainly expect the world to reject and ridicule our God-given Christian values and priorities. May we persist in ordering our thinking and conduct in accordance with God’s word anyway, regardless of opposition, for God’s glory and the good of others.
God bless you,