The book of Proverbs has a number of descriptions for a fool: mockers, simple, obstinate, troublemakers, and sluggards. What’s interesting about poetry, especially wisdom literature conveyed through poetry, is that the text paints a picture of its opposite simultaneously to the picture it paints by itself.
So in Proverbs 6 we read, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise…” The wisdom writer proceeds to talk about ants in order to rebuke a sluggard. But it’s simultaneously describing what a wise person looks like.
The sluggard is a fool, but a wise person is a self-starter (“…it has no commander.”). A sluggard makes excuses for small lapses of effort (“a little…a little…a little…"), but a wise person makes the most of each hour. A sluggard goes about his work haphazardly, but a wise person is committed to disciplined routine (“…stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest”). The result of foolishness is decay. The result of wisdom is flourishing.
Is there any part of your life that is in a state of decay because you’re not getting to work on it?
Biblical Christianity is the one true religion.
Some may react negatively to that statement, so let's all think together about a few objections to it and what might be said in response.
“All religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing.”
Are we really willing to agree religions requiring child sacrifice are equally valid to those that don’t? There are religions that have this horrific practice. There are also religions that teach child sacrifice is an abomination. They obviously don’t teach the same thing. Are we willing to agree they are equally valid? I don’t know many modern people who would say so.
Or take religions like: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity and compare them to Buddhism and Hinduism. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity believe there is only one God. Buddhism and Hinduism believe there are millions of gods. They can’t be all right at the same time. There’s either one God or there are millions of gods, but it can’t be “all of the above.” To believe it’s possible for there to be one God and millions of gods is like saying it’s possible for there to be such a thing as a married bachelor. Somebody is wrong. They can’t all be right.
“It is arrogant to insist your religion is right."
Why? If insisting my religion is right and the others are wrong makes me arrogant does that mean my religion is wrong? Does my arrogance make my religion wrong? I don’t see how the two are connected. Just because somebody is arrogant about what they believe doesn’t mean their belief is wrong. Just because you charge somebody with being arrogant about what they believe doesn’t mean their belief is wrong. The belief is going to be right or wrong independent of the person’s arrogance.
Imagine a medical scientist who finally discovers a cure for cancer. Suppose, that people think this scientist is really full of himself. Sure, on occasion he lets people know he has discovered the only cure for cancer. When asked about it, he always gives them a straight answer: “Yes, my cure is the only cure for cancer.” Maybe people think that this constitutes arrogance. But does that do anything to undermine the truth of his claim to have discovered the only cure for cancer? If you had cancer, would you refuse his treatment because you think he’s arrogant? This cure for cancer is going to be a cure for cancer independent of whether or not this guy is arrogant.
If somebody says to me, “Brian, you’re arrogant to believe your religion is the only true religion.” My response would be, “Well, that may be. But that doesn’t mean my religion is false.
“Belief is culturally conditioned and therefore one can’t be truer than another."
The argument goes like this, “If you were born in Pakistan, you’d be a Muslim. If you were born in India, you’d likely be a Hindu. If you were born in Myanmar, you’d likely be a Buddhist. If you were born in the U.S. you’d likely be a Christian, therefore no religion can be the one true religion."
How somebody comes to believe something has no bearing on whether or not the belief is true. If you were born in ancient Greece, you’d likely believe the sun orbits around the earth. So does that mean if you believe the earth orbits around the sun, you’re wrong? Obviously not! How you come to believe something has no bearing on whether or not the belief is true. The belief is going to be true or false independently of how someone comes to believe it.
Additionally, would you believe no religion can be the one true religion if you were born in Pakistan? Most likely not. You’d believe Islam is the only true religion. The reason you believe “no religion can be the true religion,” is that you were born in the US or some other developed western nation. The belief that says, “no religion can be the right religion” is as culturally conditioned as the Muslim born in Pakistan believing Islam is the one true religion.
How somebody comes to believe something doesn’t make the belief right or wrong. The belief is going to be right or wrong independent of how they come to believe that thing.
That's a lot to digest!
Satan operates under a premise: you will be loyal to God only if He blesses you. Read it...
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 1:9-11).
You see what he’s saying? Satan thinks you praise God only when there are benefits attached to it. He thinks you live for God only when you’re going to get something out of it. So Satan views suffering as a way to strip away all those perks and expose you as a fraud.
Satan says, “The only reason you love God and live for him are for the blessings you get from him. Take those blessings away and I bet your praises will turn into curses.”
He sees suffering as a way to expose Christians as frauds... and you know as well as I, his tactic has been successful at times.
There's a sobering reality that surrounds Satan and his use of suffering: it's only in suffering what you really think and feel about God is revealed. Take away all the perks in life: a home to live in, a car to drive, fairly good health to sustain me, food, family, friends. Take it all away and all you have left is God. Is that enough? The only way to truly know what you think and feel about God is to strip away every possible ulterior motive you may have for loving him. That’s called suffering. That’s the only way to find out.