How To Obey God Honorably in a world full of corruption and dishonesty

By Dennis Petersen

compass over mapToday’s world is filled with all sorts of deception.  Sharp discernment is required for those who really want to discover the things that are true.  If we don’t want truth we won’t search for it.  That’s why we need to be discerning. That takes a special level of heart and acuity to be able to do that in an honest way.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…”

How far does that spread?  It’s in every sector of society, isn’t it?  It’s in education.  It’s in religion.  It’s in the business world.  It’s in politics.  They will find teachers according to their own desires.  It’s natural to the human condition, isn’t it?  We want to hear what we want to hear and we don’t want to hear anything that we don’t want to hear.  So Paul goes on to forecast in the letter to Timothy what to expect: “…and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

You may wonder: “Why would people believe in a myth?”  Yet, it is so common today that many people will treat you as sort of an outcast if you don’t believe in their popular myths.

What are some myths that dominate the landscape of our world today?

Evolution, Universalism, Socialism…

What could be more of a myth than the idea of evolutionism – that everything ultimately came from nothing with no designer?  Yet people believe it.  It’s a commonly held myth.  And, of course, very intellectual scientists get behind it, those whose hearts are darkened.  They do not desire to have discernment to know what is true.

I make no apology about this.  Think. It goes for other areas of human thinking and understanding.

Think about universalism.  That’s the idea that everyone will eventually get to heaven no matter how evil and hateful to God they are. They wrongly think that God certainly can’t be unforgiving to everyone so all must be acceptable to God.  Think.  God is forgiving to those who humbly acknowledge their utter lost condition and their need for His mercy.  God does forgive them.  He’s just not going to force them to turn to Him in their need.

Socialism – there’s another myth – the idea that we can all have everything, even if none of us do anything.  Let’s face it.  That doesn’t work, does it?

So here we have these dominant myths in our society today. 

First is Mother Nature – that’s the primary icon for evolution.  It just happened by itself.

Next is Universalism – God is too loving to send good people to hell.

And the inevitable outcome of the first two is the promotion of socialism.  The socialistic state will take care of you.

They are all frauds.

The basic Biblical Principle Needing our attention?

God created man to thrive in the world that God made by working to make it into something – using his God-given creativity, ingenuity and initiative to make it more than it started out.

God is the one who orchestrates the entire universe from the very beginning.  He is the one who created it all.  He is the one who created man.  He is the One who gave man initiative, creativity, abilities and skills.  God is the awesome genius Who gives us all that is needed to achieve the purpose He has designed.  And we do it by work.

Work isn’t a curse. God gave man work to do in the garden before the curse.

When people come into our Bible-believing churches with compromised views, how should we encourage them to evaluate the truths of the Bible?

Do you really believe that we should prove all things?  That’s a good way to start a conversation with anyone.  It’s a simple way to get them thinking about God and His purposes for all of us.  And use the basic qualifying question if you find they are open.

The Basic Qualifying Question

What is the basic qualifying question to help people you encounter to open their minds and discover what’s true?  It’s simply this: “If I could… would you?”

“If I could show you something…” “…give you some insight that I’ve learned…” “…help you in some of those areas…” “If I could give you some new ways of understanding… Would you?”

Would you be open to have a discussion to talk about it with me some more?  Would you entertain reading a book about it?   Would you look at some new ideas that I discovered personally?

You might want to ask: “Would it be meaningful to you if…?”  If what?  If I could show you some things that give you a new slant that you didn’t know before.

You don’t know what you don’t know

One of the most basic principles of education is this idea that none of us knows what we don’t know.  Would you agree?

So, asking questions, like I just did, is a good way to open the door to one’s reason, right?  It’s the basic qualifying question.

Do you want to order your life by the truth?  How do you establish what is true?

Is it true that the truth shall set you free? 

Watch out here.  You’ll want to look at John 8:31-32.  Does the truth set you free?  You may know many people with access to libraries full of books that contain the truth.  They may have stacks of Bibles in their home.  They may have even memorized a lot of scripture.  Does that mean they are free?  Are they necessarily free just because they know the truth?  Be sure you get the context of Jesus’ words here.  Jesus said it plainly in the opening statement here when He said, “If you abide in my word, then you are truly my disciples.”  Two things are happening here: abiding in my word and being true disciples of Jesus.  Then, the result is that you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.  Freedom, because of the truth that it brings, is a direct result of living in – abiding in – the words of Jesus by following and being a disciple of Jesus.  It’s all about Him and letting Him exercise His dominion in our life.. His wisdom in our life.. His insight.. His discernment… in our life.

Regardless of the anxiety about the economic future of America, compared to all the rest of the world, it’s clear that 90% of American citizens are wealthy.  Here is an area we need to delve into regarding common myths.  Unfortunately, many don’t seem to realize that we are wealthy.  We can capitalize on it even for our own sakes, let alone for God’s sake and the sake of others.  God has blessed our land in amazing ways unlike anything that has ever happened in history.  So what else are we faced to understand?

With riches come more opportunity and more responsibility.

The myth is that we achieved all this abundance because of our own goodness or skill.  Really?  Some believe in the myth that we were just lucky, and if it happens to go away we have no solution.  Just panic and hope for a new stroke of good luck.

Who is the Owner of this world anyway?

God owns all the cattle on a thousand hills.  He owns all the silver and all the gold.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Psalm 24:1

It all belongs to God.  Do you think He’s short of any resources?

Paul wrote to Timothy to “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches (that would be practically all of us in America today), but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”  God wants us to focus on Him – not on the riches – but on Him.  He’s the One Who supplies all the things we enjoy and we are indeed ‘rich’ in this country no matter how little or how much we make, earn or create.  He goes on to say: “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Politicians and the media seem determined to incite us about economic downturns on a national or even a global level, but what about your own economy?  The average annual income for many people in nations of the world is about $300.  Would you say that we are all doing a lot better than that?  So what are we doing with our own economy? Are we looking to God to instruct us, to guide us, and to trust Him every step of the way?

What many people seem to miss is that financial security (what we regard as true economic prosperity) is more than a fat bank account. Money seems to ‘take wings.’  But prosperity is more about opportunity.  It’s about diligence and practicing good principles of personal relationship development.  It’s about bringing value to others who reward you for what you do. These are things that put you in position to have the security of ongoing income, ongoing earnings, ongoing financial security.

So what are some practical things we can do to face the challenges of economic lack?

If you are facing serious economic struggles, consider a few things that can make a huge difference.

  • Determine to be persistent at moving forward – that’s initiative.
  • List your goals. Write down what you want.  Talk with your close relations about what you want.
  • List your assets, skills, things you’re passionate about, things that you feel are a mission on your heart and life, training, aptitudes. What do others say you’re good at?  What new course could help you discover how to better use those assets?
  • Find a work that you love. Pursue it, even if you have to volunteer on your off hours to do it.
  • Find a way to help other people get what they want. This develops amazingly into opportunities and connections with other people who can open doors that you never dreamed of.  Volunteering with like-minded people can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
  • Find a way to monetize both (what you love and what others want).
  • Find a sideline home business you can believe in and a training coach you can trust to tell you the truth. Find someone who can mentor you.  Be sure you’ve checked out the success factors that avoid unnecessary risk and disappointment.  Often we get blown off course because we lack a trustworthy mentor.  But there are people out there who are waiting for you to ask them for guidance, for insight, for consultation.  Seek out those people.  And if you’re not hanging out where you can meet the kinds of people you want to mentor you, then maybe you need to change where you hang out.
  • Get good at doing something that people respect you for and generate fulfillment in you. If you are feeling that you’re making a genuine contribution into the lives of others, their appreciation will keep you motivated to keep working on improving your skills and your performance. Hang out with others with similar aptitudes and goals.  Attend events they attend.  Get engaged with seminars to learn more about the business you’re considering or you’ve decided to pursue.  Whether it’s your primary career or something you want to develop on the side, give it your best effort.
  • In today’s world, it’s imperative to diversify your skills. For most people it’s now evident that your primary career is not going to be your only source for all the needs of your life and your retirement in the future.  You have multiple interests.  Give several of them your time.  Maybe you like music, or writing, or broadcasting. So be willing to re-educate yourself as times and technologies change.
  • Never stop learning. Be open minded to new ideas.  One of the leading factors that sets highly successful people apart from the rest of the herd in society is that they are always eager to learn.  They are curious about the world around them and how to apply their efforts to make that world better, even when it involves information outside their primary career.
  • Invest in your self-improvement. Spend money on practical education as well as academic schooling.  Learn the Success Principles in the book by Jack Canfield.  It’s a classic everyone will enjoy.
  • Change your social environment if you’re not with the people who are going where you want to go. Invest effort in making new friends. Attend conferences where you can grow your skills.
  • Consider carefully the values of the pursuits you take up. Be true to yourself and your values.
  • Decide to make money your servant and develop your business in such a way to prosper others as a result of your activities. Money is just a tool to help others.
  • Determine to find allies who are as passionate as you are to reach goals together and work with them.

In today’s changing world, we all need to find the opportunities and the people who are serious about working together to reach worthwhile goals.  We have ambitious goals to help people reclaim their legacy through the discovery of truths that help them establish the five important pillars of ‘legacy’ that we’ve talked about repeatedly on this program.

If you would like to find out reliable ways to turn your economy around, you have to start with an open heart and an open mind.  Forget about negativity and cynicism.  They get you nowhere.  Reach out to learn more about how to accomplish any of the things we’ve been talking about today.  I invite you to contact me on the phone or on our website.  I’ll be glad to point you toward some solutions that could make a life-changing difference for you.  And if you’re serious about making some changes in your own future, I’ll direct you to some websites that will help you even more.

Like a lot of things in life, the teacher appears when the student is ready.

Just make sure that you know your own values and goals so that the choices you make are in harmony with them.

Be encouraged by Ephesians 2:10 that tells us that we are “created for good works.”  Let’s be sure to walk in them.

In Ephesians 4:15, as we “grow up in all things,” let’s be sure to speak the truth in love, not walking in the futility of our mind, but laying aside falsehoods (myths) while laboring with our own abilities to do what is good so we can have resources to share with those in need.

Opportunity abounds no matter how bad the economy looks. You’ve got your own economy.  Decide to use it your abilities to develop it.

Remind yourself of Philippians 2:13: “God is at work in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

Philippians 1:9-10 “in love, develop real knowledge and discernment, so you can approve the things that are excellent.”

What you’ve heard today is worth learning well.  I trust it will be an investment to return an exceptional reward.