One of the greatest tragedies I see in this world is an obsession with leaving true reality in favor of seeking to dwell in a virtual reality…
This may seem like an over-exaggerated statement, but “virtual reality” takes a lot more forms than simply the wearing of a special set of goggles connected to one’s phone.
Some people choose to linger in virtual reality merely by diving into the realm of TV programming instead of engaging in thoughtful conversations with their family.
Some people come into virtual reality by means of drugs or other psychedelic or mind-altering substances, unwilling to face the harsh, cold reality of the depression, anger, and emptiness they find themselves in.
Some people are addicted to the virtual reality presented to them on their phones and cannot even come to a restaurant or a gathering of friends without having their gaze diverted every other moment by the notifications their phone presents.
Yet other people linger on past memories or hopeful wishes for the future, hoping that this virtual reality can somehow manifest itself in the real world.
And while there are certainly other ways in which people often desire to escape the confines of true reality in favor of an alternate, virtual reality — a reality that seems more pleasant to them than the true reality all around them — the consequences of all of these various escapes tend to be alike: they take us away from what is right in front of our faces — this world, its Creator, our sinfulness, our need for redemption, and the love we ought to give to our brothers and sisters on this earth.
People, we need wake up.
Our thoughts have oftentimes been morphed and crafted more by the media and our culture than by the Bible or our families or respected elders.
Now, I know not everyone respects what the Bible has to say, but if you are someone like me who believes that God literally speaks /through/ the Bible, we really ought to read it and listen to what He has to say. It’s a tragedy when we choose instead to listen to our “cool” friends, or all the latest “news,” or all the spectacular things we read on the internet…
We’re deceiving ourselves. None of these things amount to even an ounce of what constitutes “true reality.”
As the Word of God tells us, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
It is the Word of God — the Bible — that is the truth which ought to shape our reality — not culture; not escape-ism; not our peers; not media; not drugs; not TV; not the internet…
It is certainly tempting to come to the side of the unorthodox and unusual, the mystical, the dark… I’ve had some voyages there myself, and in the end, I’ve found them terribly lacking.
I had been seeking to create a reality for myself steeped in dark, poetic, unusual, electronic, eccentric ideals, ignoring in many ways the God who was only a simple thought or prayer away.
It was just like the apostle Paul’s concern: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)
Simplicity… See, following God is simple. It’s not /easy/, but it is simple. And it requires getting our heads straight — that is, leaving the false, virtual reality often presented to us, and coming to embrace the realness of true reality; coming to find out who we really are, who God really is, and what the eternal fate of our souls will be.
All these things we find in God’s Word.
May we forsake the virtual reality of our culture and come instead to be grounded in the true reality found in God’s inerrant Word.
Oh, the darkness, where all sorts of evil is wrought…
“There are those who rebel against the light,
who do not know its ways or stay in its paths.
“When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
kills the poor and needy,
and in the night steals forth like a thief.
“The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
and he keeps his face concealed.
“In the dark, thieves break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.
“For all of them, midnight is their morning;
they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
“…But God drags away the mighty by his power;
though they may become established, they have no assurance of life.
He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
“For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.”
And, I don’t read books like the following very often (since it’s generally considered in Protestant circles to be an /addition/ to the Bible), but nonetheless this quote is very fitting, tying right into the above:
“For he which is Lord over all shall fear no man’s person, neither shall he stand in awe of any man’s greatness: for he hath made the small and great, and careth for all alike.”
Wisdom of Solomon 6:7
God doesn’t care who you are – He doesn’t show favoritism (Romans 2:11); He is going to judge you for what /you’ve/ done (Matt 16:27, Jeremiah 17:10, Romans 2:6), and if you are one who loves the darkness and continues in evil, there will come a day when you will stand before your Maker and will perish (Revelation 20:12-15, Galatians 6:7-8). You will be thrown into unquenchable fire in which you will be tormented forever (Revelation 21:8, Matthew 13:49-50).
Don’t choose to die. Turn from your evil ways and live. (Ezekiel 33:11)
Even if you consider yourself a Christian, examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). What does your life /really/ look like? Are you following Jesus, or have you forsaken Him to go your own way (Luke 9:23-26, Revelation 2:4-5)?
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
Jesus is the light. Turn away from your sinful ways and come to Him:
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”
I am so thankful for where God has continued to bring me in life. I was just reading over some of my journal entries from years past, and as I think back and remember, I am so glad I’m not where I was. I’m so glad that God let my path be shaped the way it’s been shaped; so glad at the failed relationships, the roads that came to nothing, the dreams that died; so glad at the worthless, sinful crap that’s been pruned right off of my life; so glad that He cared enough to have /His/ way in my life instead of my own.
And I’m glad I listened. I’m glad I listened to His gentle (and sometimes rebuking) voice as He told me I was on the wrong path, headed for destruction.
Man, I did some really dumb things. And I’ve been very selfish… Sensual, controlling, angry, petty… But God gets the glory for redeeming my life from the pit! I thank the Lord for really being my Lord, not just in name but in reality. I thank Him for getting my attention and steering me where I did not want to go, because He knew it would lead me to life – true, satisfying, eternal life.
Can I just say… Living for yourself is not worth it.
It’s not worth it to get upset when others don’t “meet your needs;” it’s not worth it to complain and talk about all the things that are going /wrong/ in life; it’s not worth it to hold bitterness in your heart or let life get you mad.
All those things can be dropped off at Jesus’ feet. As Todd White is fond of saying (paraphrasing), “When I became a Christian, God cancelled my lifetime subscription to Issues.” Or, as the apostle Paul says, in talking to believers who were literally suing each other, “Why not rather be wronged?” In other words, let people do as they will – people will do hurtful things – but you don’t need to /be/ hurt by them, and you certainly don’t need to retaliate.
All this to say, God is good. And we would really do ourselves some good to listen to Him. He really does know best. I am thankful that in spite of my shortcomings over the years, God has used me and helped me to grow, and I pray that we would all become more and more His servants and less and less of our own masters.
By His Spirit we can.