Reality Check

There is a tremendous amount of so called “knowledge” that is destructive to our emotional and spiritual well being simply because its deceptive masquerade creates within us a totally unrealistic perception of reality. It is imperative to our spiritual and emotional health to put what we “know” into proper perspective.


The world around us paints a picture of great happiness and peace as being attainable in this life, and that it can even be reached while living in a total moral and ethical vacuum. We cannot afford to ever lose sight of the fact that the “reality” the world portrays to us is filled with lies. Just consider so much of the nonsense on TV and movies. We know those people are actors, but we forget that they, after all, are acting. As Christians we know this to be true, but I don’t think we realize how much our attitudes and expectations have been influenced by secular culture. For our entire lives, every person is locked in a great spiritual conflict. How we react to that conflict determines not just our temporal joy but also our eternal peace.


We are constantly in danger of viewing our difficulties and challenges with vision blurred by the lies, and then comparing our situations to those lies. Then we decide that we “know” things would be better if only………… Whenever those thoughts are completed in a manner that is not consistent with the truth of scripture, we become victims of the lies.


How much grief do we cause ourselves because we make the mistake of expecting to find an end to difficulties, and consequent complete peace and satisfaction in this life? The reality is that the true peace that our hearts yearn for is unattainable in this life. We are living in a fallen world separated from, yet longing for, perfect communion with God. The kind of “arriving” that we hope for will not happen because it cannot be achieved in this world. It is reserved for Heaven, and everything that lies between here and there is insufficient to truly satisfy the great longing of our souls for something more.


From Peggy Noonan, former speech writer for Ronald Reagan in Forbes magazine

“I think we have lost the old knowledge that happiness is overrated – that, in a way, life is overrated. We have lost, somehow, a sense of mystery – about us, our purpose, our meaning, our role. Our ancestors believed in two worlds, and understood this to be the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short one. We are the first generation of man that actually expected to find happiness here on earth, and our search for it has caused such – unhappiness. The reason: if you do not believe in another, higher world, if you believe only in the flat material world around you, if you believe that this is your only chance at happiness – if that is what you believe, then you are disappointed when the world does not give you a good measure of it’s riches, you are despairing.”


Going no further back than the times of the founding and early development of our country we are able to see the wide gulf between our modern attitudes and those of our fathers. In the early days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men conceived the world to be a battleground. Our fathers believed in sin and the devil and hell as constituting one force; and they believed in God and righteousness and heaven as the other. These were opposed to each other in the nature of them forever in deep, grave, irreconcilable hostility. Man, so our fathers held, had to choose sides; he could not be neutral. For him it must be life or death, heaven or hell, and if he chose to come out on God’s side he could expect open war with God’s enemies. The fight would be real and deadly and would last as long as life continued here below. Men looked forward to heaven as a return from the wars, a laying down of the sword to enjoy in peace the home prepared for them.


It still is a solid Bible doctrine that tremendous spiritual forces are present in the world. And man, because of his spiritual nature, is caught in the middle. The evil powers are bent on destroying him, while Christ is present to save him through the power of the Gospel. To obtain deliverance he must come out on God’s side in faith and obedience.

How different today: the fact remains the same but the interpretation has changed completely. Men think of the world not as a battleground but as a playground. We are not here to fight, we are here to frolic. We are not in a foreign land, we are at home. We are not getting ready to live, we are already living,…


That this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of Evangelical Christians. They might hedge around the question if they were asked bluntly to declare their position, but their conduct gives them away. They are facing both ways, enjoying Christ and the world too,…

This whole thing has grown to be so serious of late that it now becomes the bounden duty of every Christian to reexamine his spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible, and having discovered the scriptural way to follow it,…

A right view of God and the world to come requires that we have also a right view of the world in which we live and our relation to it. So much depends upon this that we cannot afford to be careless about it.”


From The Lies We Believe by Dr Chris Thurman

“Life is not easy, no matter how many gold cards and garage door openers and microwave ovens we have. The very first words of the best-selling book The Road Less Traveled are golden on this matter: “Life is difficult.” That is one of life’s all-time great truths. But most of us can’t stand the fact that this happens to be true, so we keep looking for a life free from difficulty and bitterly resenting it when one doesn’t come.


If we want anything to be easy, we have to work hard. If we want a quiz to be easy, we have to study hard. If we want a couple of hours on the tennis court to be easy, we have to train hard. If we want our marriages to be easy, we have to work diligently on them. If we want life to be easy, we have to put our all into it, painfully so.”


Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”



C S Lewis

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”


Ovid (poet)

“Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.”


Imagine if you will that life on planet earth is like a perilous trek through and over the most inhospitable terrain imaginable. Huge immovable boulders block your way. Horribly sharp, jagged mountain peaks must be climbed. Frightening deep chasms open up unexpectedly before you.


A group of mountain climbers can scale the most challenging mountain peaks, but it is a serious and dangerous undertaking. They must be prepared, equipped and willing to work together. They choose a guide who has more experience than they, and if at all possible one who has been through the same type of terrain – if not on the same mountain. From a map they calculate the route that will get them safely to their goal. With strong ropes they tie themselves together and to the mountain. By constantly helping and encouraging each other they can conquer difficulties none could even consider alone.
Similarly, if we expect to conquer the challenges of life, we as Christians likewise must be prepared (through prayer), equipped (trusting the Holy Spirit for strength) and willing to work together with an army of fellow travelers (other Christians). We have guides (pastors and teachers), a perfect map (The Bible), and if we stay on course and work together we will triumph!


Yet sometimes when we look at the struggles we are facing, it seems impossible and we become discouraged. The obstacles seem too formidable. If we aren’t careful we may listen to the world’s lies and think we “know” an easier way; like a climber who during the most difficult ascent decides it looks too hard to go on so he unhooks, expecting a soft landing.


This formidable and treacherous mountain range is life for every person. To try to make this journey without Christ is to be painfully locked in a sad, futile search for peace in a scorched, unforgiving and barren wasteland. The successful Christian life is a demanding but exhilarating adventure filled with challenging obstacles requiring great effort but yielding great temporal and eternal rewards.


Know that you were designed for this quest by God Himself. Embrace the struggles confidently knowing that you never have to face them alone because the power of the Holy Spirit is within you. Through each victory you are growing stronger, and closer to your true eternal goal. Enjoy the journey; the views are incredible. Stay tied to your group, study the map and follow your guides. Don’t be deceived by false shortcuts and temporary complications; remain focused on the only goal that is dependable, true and eternal.


And remember-


If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.

M H Alderson


But know this –


Jesus – John 16:33

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”