[ On Not Loving the World ] Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.1 John 2:15-16 NIV
In a world surrounded by 24-hour news and reminders on social media of tragedy and heartache, it’s easy to fall into the abyss of discouragement and anxiety. Even Jesus followers struggle to hold on to hope. What is the hopeful guidance from God’s Word for times when you feel overwhelmed, defeated, and worthless? How can the Bible help you conquer despair when the past paralyzes, today disappoints, and the future is frightening?
Critics ask, “Why would anyone become a Christian when there’s so much hypocrisy in the church?” With de-conversion stories being reported, why is it that the church inadvertently produces atheists despite its life-giving message? Does atheism explain the human experience better than Christianity? How can the truth of Christianity matter when the behaviors of some Christians are reprehensible?
Do you have good intentions of reading the Bible but find it confusing, boring, and irrelevant? What do you do if your experience with the Bible gets in the way of building a personal relationship with God? What small steps could you take to sustain a vibrant spiritual life where the Word of God is alive and active for you?
When you read the New Testament, do you intentionally try to think like a first-century Jesus follower to capture the visceral excitement of the early Christians? What was the first-century understanding of the kingdom of God? What is the real meaning of the resurrection in its original context? As 21st-century people, how do we recover the adventure of what it was like to live as Christians in the first or second centuries in the world of Second Temple Judaism amidst Greco-Roman politics?