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We can choose to rebel or comply

This was written on Thursday, Jan. 7, on the heels of the uproar in Washington, D.C. the previous day.

Our world is not evil. There is evil in the world. Our world is not good, but there is good in the world. Your neighbor or the stranger on the street is not wicked, but they engage in wicked acts.

Likewise, none of us are saints, but we all have the capability to do many wonderful things. How we act and react is a choice. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control ourselves. Rebellion and compliance are choices. It is part of the nature that God gave us when He gave us free will. Historically, from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to this very moment, our inclination is to rebel based on the sinful nature we were born into after the fall of the aforementioned.

Just like our choice of reaction to the world around us, we can choose to rebel against God or comply with God. Compliance with God through acceptance and obedience to Christ brings with it peace in the midst of turmoil, joy in the times of suffering and hope in the face of despair. It brings us assurance when nothing feels secure. Rebellion against God leads to turmoil, conflict, stress, anxiety, depression and anger within ourselves.

How you react to the world around you reflects how you have reacted to God. If you can be peaceful, hopeful, have joy and walk with confidence in the face of conflict, dissection, war, pain, disappointment and suffering, then it reveals to the world that you are in compliance with God. It shows the world around you that you have something more in your life that blesses you and serves you and protects you and provides for you in the best and worst of times.

However, when you act and react with anger, hatred and cursing or demeaning others, the world around you would have to conclude that either (a) you must not be in compliance with God — meaning not following Christ/no different than anybody else/probably unsaved or (b) you are a follower of Christ and this must be what Christians are like — meaning no different than anybody else.

If we have Christ as savior, then we are called to be different. We shouldn’t look the same as the “unsaved.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2 the following, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. 2. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Please remember, we have been set apart. In the world, but not of it or like it.

REV. BARRY VASSAR is pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist. He can be reached at fitzgeraldmemorial@gmail.com.