Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)
TITLE: Outbreak of Crises
By Edmond Ng
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- While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you." (Job 1:16 NAS)
The Bible tells of one who was also suddenly faced with a number of crises in his life (Job 1:13-20). Job first lost his sons and daughters, and then he lost his servants and livestock. Yet, through it all, Job did not sin nor did he blame God (Job 1:21-22). Satan then smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, yet Job held fast to his integrity (Job 2:4-10). Some days later, Job spoke out and said of his anxiety, “… my cries pour out like water. For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am not at rest, but turmoil comes” (Job 3:24-26 NAS).
All of us know the negative and lethal effects illnesses and diseases can have on us or our loved ones. Some diseases, such as cancer, have even branched into variations. A number of cancer patients shared that once they have been diagnosed with the illness, they deem themselves as good as dead. Anxiety followed and in their minds they can only think of the doctors as just counting their days.
Like the outbreak of boils and diseases, there is a type of outbreak today that is also spreading around the world. This is the outbreak of worldliness and self-centeredness. Just as a cancerous outbreak can have lethal effects and variants, worldliness and self-centeredness can also result in fatality and the domino effect of continuing sin, leading to the eventual death of people around us.
In his epistle to the twelve tribes (James 1:1), James described the outbreak of worldliness and self-centeredness as the source of quarrels and conflicts that wage war among fellow believers (James 4:1). The root cause of the war is the pleasures, lust, envy, pride, wrong motives, impure heart and double-mindedness of man (James 4:1-10). Sometimes we may fight and quarrel with others out of envy or lust, and sometimes we may even backstab others—knowingly or unknowingly—just to get what we want. We may at times want the right things for the wrong reasons, and we do not receive them because our motives are impure and self-seeking, desiring only to satisfy our own pleasures.
The Bible states clearly if our involvement with the world becomes too intimate that we participate in its adulterous ways, we make ourselves an enemy of God (James 4:4). We should therefore not be double-minded to think we can serve two masters, for either we will hate one and love the other or we will be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13).
We should therefore be cautious not to be infected or become carriers of worldliness and self-centeredness. Instead, we should be on the alert to quickly detect the symptoms and avoid falling prey or succumbing to the outbreak. We should submit and draw near to God, resist temptation and the devil, purify our hearts and come humbly into the presence of the Lord, and He will draw near to us and exalt us (James 4:7-10).
Dear Lord, forgive us for sometimes tending to sway from trusting You, especially when in times of crises. Do not let us succumb to the outbreak of calamity in our lives Lord, but instead strengthen us that we may hold fast to Your faithfulness. Help us not to be double-minded Lord, that we may not attempt to serve two masters, but be devoted to You whole-heartedly.
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