Message for October 2018 – 11
I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and ask that His blessings, love, and guidance be upon you in abundance.
A sad reality
Today’s meditation is passed on the passage from Revelation: “… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10.
It’s hard for you to be faithful. I understand, I know it’s not easy. As a matter of fact, some great men of the Bible, whom God honored, had their lapse of infidelity. It does not mean that this must be the case, because God gives everyone enough power and grace to remain faithful to His commandments. Then you will say, “why do we give in to temptation?” “Why is it so hard for me to be faithful to the Lord?” “I want to remain obedient but sometimes I feel so weak…” You are not the only person who experiences this. You would be surprised to know that there are many people in the world who repeat this experience.
If you are a baptized member, about to be baptized, or interested in this message, you will surely know that human nature is sinful. This means that every cell of our being pushes us towards evil. Unfortunately, this is the consequence of sin.
From the first pages of the Bible, almost immediately after human history began, the Lord said in relation to our nature: “… for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” Genesis 8:21. The apostle Paul conquered: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. Given this, how strange is it that a person is extremely weak in the face of temptation? However, there is good news: it does not always have to be that way.
In the Bible there are hundreds of promises that help us understand that a person can change and overcome their tendencies towards evil. There are two kinds of tendencies: inherited and cultivated. Let’s test this with the Bible and reinforce it with the Testimonies: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Matthew 15:19.
With these words and others found in: Jeremiah 13:23; 17:9, Psalms 51:5, James 1:13; 4:1, Galatians 5:19-21; 6:8, Ephesians 2:3, Romans 7:5; 13:14, etc., it can be understood that every human being is born with a sinful nature; it is an inheritance we carry in our genes. The curious thing is that science itself confirms it. Years ago, it was not believed to be so, in fact the famous Jean-Jacques Rousseau stated that “man is good by nature (Wikiversity).” Other philosophers such as John Locke and David Hume argued that every human being comes to this world as a blank slate that will be filled by the individual according to education and environment (ABC).
But time and modern research seem to show something else. At the University of Virginia (USA), they created a foundation to investigate these issues, the Genetics Human Agency. Its director, Eric Turkheimer, said: “Like all other animals, humans inherit the DNA of their parents, and that genetic inheritance influences everything around us, including our behavior, character and values. However, unlike other animals, humans establish goals and aspirations, and strive to inculcate virtuous behavior in their children (Infobae).” “The results have been strong, the character is partly determined by genetic inheritance, the influence of education, and the environment surrounding the child (Bebesymas).”
Humans, then, receive half of the genes of the father and the other half of the mother, thus inheriting physical similarities, diseases, and tendencies, both genetic and cultivated. The inspired pen says: “As a rule, children inherit the dispositions and tendencies of their parents and imitate their example so that the sins of the parents are practiced by the children from generation to generation.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. pg. 142.
We see that what science is discovering coincides with what the Bible and the Testimonies teach: we are the result of those things transmitted to us by our parents and what we ourselves have decided to cultivate. This last part has to do with the environmental and educational influence. Thus, it is easy to understand that most humans come from dysfunctional homes and we carry our luggage full of trauma, internal struggles, fears, manias, wrong thoughts and ideas, etc. The goal of the devil is to destroy marriages and the families that derive from them, aa well as everything that has to do with God or reflect it, such as his holy Sabbath and his church.
The devil is fighting to change the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday and has already succeeded in much of the Christian churches. He has introduced doctrinal errors that many churches defend but cannot justify with the Bible. He has also done a continuous and effective work in relation to marriage, to the point of almost bringing it to extinction. He has introduced divorce in the Christian world, polygamy, homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, masochism, and all kind of sexual perversions. The dysfunctionality in families causes their members to suffer, making it more difficult for them to resist temptation; each generation is weaker morally and physically.
There have always been dysfunctional families. Adam and Eve had a family like that. It suffices to remember that Cain, his son, killed Abel, his brother. The children of Cain were evil and forgot God, and until the flood those families showed serious dysfunction; so much evil was on earth (Genesis 6:5). Noah—the sole survivor of the flood with his family—became inebriated and one of his sons (Shem) scoffed him. His other two children displayed respect and compassion. The descendants of Shem were always hostile to the offspring of Ham and Japheth. Were not these families dysfunctional? We can also mention Sara and Abraham who committed their own serious mistakes. The patriarch slept with his wife’s servant on her behest, thus committing adultery. The result, two races in opposition to this day. The Arabs (descendants of Hagar) and the Jews (descendants of Sara). Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, also had a dysfunctional family, because he had several wives, and from there the people of Israel were born, where there were thousands of conflicts.
The promise of restoration
The great evils of this world must be sought out in the bosom of all families, which have always been the backbone of societies. There, is the breeding ground where the most lethal human viruses are born, due to the particularities mentioned. By receiving specific genetics from our parents, which are of sinful nature, and an influence by the education received from them, as well as the environment in which we grow, you can imagine that it is not easy for the person to resist in his humanity all the temptations that Satan offers us.
Speaking of temptations, temptation is not a sin, it is an invitation to sin; if you decide not to sin you have passed the test. Jesus was tempted in everything, but he decided not to sin (Hebrews 4:15), and here lies the good news that I spoke to you before. No matter how dysfunctional your home or your childhood was, it does not matter what path of life you have wondered through, because God can change your story. You can decide to break the chain of slavery of sin and take a position with fidelity. Not alone, but with the help of our Lord Jesus. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Here is a wonderful promise that should encourage you to be faithful. Humility, prayer, and a sincere desire not to offend God again, move the hand of the Omnipotent in your favor. In the same book emphasis is placed on divine attributes that should bring hope to all human beings: “… for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” 2 Chronicles 30:9. God is compassionate and merciful. This is remarkable! It means that he has patience with us; he looks at us compassionately, that is, he shows His goodness towards us, especially when we find ourselves in problems and difficulties that make us suffer, even when we fall into sin. He does not dismiss us or look at us contemptuously, on the contrary: “’For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord God. ‘Therefore turn and live!’” Ezequiel 18:32.
In Jesus Christ you will find everything you need to stay faithful. The Lord forgave sinners but invited them to cease sinning. This means that He calls us to be faithful, but it does not end there, for He “equips” us to be it; He gives us the necessary resources that we may comply with His mandate: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” Acts 1:8. The power spoken of here is the work of the Holy Spirit that transforms the heart; converts us. Faithfulness, then, is generated by the Spirit of God in us: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.
You will come to understand how transcendental it is to ask God to grant you his Spirit; that He transform you and make you faithful. When the conversion of the heart occurs, then our tendencies are controlled and redirected. I do not know how that happens, because genetics and education are there, but that’s the promise: “A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. pg. 145. Dear young youth, faithfulness is not something spontaneous of the heart, it requires dedication, sacrifice, decision. It depends on you. You have the resources. God loves you in such a way that he gave Jesus to help you change your story and your destiny. Decide to remain faithful and by the grace of Christ He will effect faithfulness in you. God bless you.
José Vicente Giner
Pastor and Director of the Youth Department