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A Real Ideal

May 7, 2014 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

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Reflections |

One of the hidden snares that this world tempts us with is idealism. We are invited to believe that the ship is not sinking. Instead we are encouraged to sit, make ourselves comfortable, and listen to the beautiful chamber music being played as we sail on under the starlit sky. When all is said and done, we are in effect invited to, as some have said, “surrender realism for idealism.”

It is striking to me that people really are trying to make the serpent’s words, “You shall not surely die,” come true. Just think of all of the monetary resources being poured into cryogenic freezing. The problem, however, is not so much in the temptations that the world offers, but in our hearts, which are all too quickly inclined to hear the sales pitch to leave realism for idealism. Yes, what it offers is but a mirage, an image of a pool of water in the desert which upon further investigation gives way to a dry and parched land, but what else can the serpent offer? He can only make the fruit pleasing to the eye, but he cannot make it taste good. Sin indeed makes us miserable.

“But,” you may protest, “shouldn’t we as Christians be idealistic and hopeful?” Of course we should. We should be as idealistic as God is. We should be as hopeful as the Bible calls us to be. We should be content, and we should never be satisfied. Biblical realism isn’t at odds with this type of idealism at all. Rather, it is at odds with the idealism that this world offers – an idealism that says everything will be perfect if you just do, get, and enjoy these things. Just get this job, this much money, this house, this spouse, this car, this type of family, this amount of time with family, this kind of hobby, and maintain this type of body. The idealism that this world offers is a kind of idealism that is independent of God, and that, well, that just isn’t real.

If we’re searching, aiming, or laboring for a life where we are not in need, then we’re not looking for God’s ideal; we’re looking for our own. “God will crush your idols,” a friend once told me, and those were some of the kindest words ever spoken to me. God will not be second. He will be first, and he will make sure to righteously and lovingly crush everything that stands between your heart and his. He will win your heart by any means necessary, and we should all praise him for that. This is what he sets out to do when he sets his love upon his people, and he makes this ideal a reality.

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