Reading through the Bible together

Saturday, May 3, 2014

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When I decided at the age of 23 to go my way without God, I had no intention of becoming a wicked person.  In fact, I believed the opposite would happen. Life would be wonderful.

You see, after a childhood and youth in the Adventist church, I felt that I had seen some very bad aspects of humanity wherever in the world my parents served.  We saw immorality, greed, self-righteousness and, worst of all, hypocrisy.  I determined not to be like some who said one thing and did another.  I would never make a pretense of being good while covering up my sins.  But at the same time, I thought, I would be a kinder and more loving.

For a few years my plan went very well.  I was able to get an entry-level job at an English-language newspaper in Russia and started a swift climb to the top.  After five years I felt like I had achieved it all, including the No. 2 position at the newspaper and a larger apartment than anyone else I knew, and it had all the modern conveniences a person could want.

But my job and possessions became idols.  Perhaps I set out to be a kind, loving person.  But after a decade without God, the only person I treated with loving kindness was myself.  Other people might have thought that I was a good person, but all of my actions sought to benefit only me.
Jeremiah rightly said, “They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves” (verse 2:5 NIV).

Prayer: “Dear God, it’s easy to look at things such as a nice place to live with many conveniences, a good job, a special friend because they seem to offer joy and comfort.  But I understand that without You, every worldly thing is a worthless idol that will make me worthless, too.  I recognize You today as my Creator and Redeemer.  Fill me with Your Spirit and help me to realize that my worth comes from You. Amen.”

Andrew McChesney
Journalist in Russia