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This post is the ninth in our 'Pitfalls of Christianity' Series. Based on quotes from Steps To Christ, it aims to look at the common misunderstandings that many can encounter in the Christian walk. I think you’ll be challenged by this one...—Editor
They were heading towards a new life in the United States of America. For many, it was the beginning of a journey to reach their desires of wealth, honour and ease. In 1912, 2,224 emigrants from Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe boarded the RMS Titanic. At 11:40pm on 14th April 1912, Titanic hit an iceberg and at 2:20am the ‘unsinkable’ RMS Titanic disappeared beneath the waves of the North Atlantic Ocean. More than 1500 passengers died, never to see the wealth, honour and ease they were hoping for. They were only halfway there!
The history of the Titanic stands as a reminder that no one is safe. Disaster can be but a moment away from the unsuspecting victim. I don't know how many people on the Titanic were consecrated to God. But one thing is for sure : many died and their hope of a resurrection can only be found in Christ.
Today, millions of individuals are planning for a career and aiming to make a secure future for both themselves and their families.
However we can only find true security in God’s Word and following Christ's footsteps.
In the book Steps to Christ, Ellen White says “Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honour are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others.” SC 44.
Wealth, reputation and selfish ease were all things I once aimed for. Indeed, they are often desired because of what we see others do and own. My father used to say to me “Don’t look at what others have because you never know what they did to get it.” It was one of those wise proverbs he repeated to me time and time again.
As I grew older and gained more life experience, I saw the unhappiness that getting everything brings, because without Christ you never really have anything.
If you spend your whole life with the goal of getting to the top of your mountain, have you ever asked yourself the question “What will I do when I get there?” or “What will I do after?”. Surely no one wants to go downhill. There is only One who can give you pure happiness even when you reach your goals in life, Jesus Christ.
That brings me to the thought of the mountain you may want to climb or the sea of life experience you may want to sail on. Will it bring glory and honour to your Maker and will it draw you closer to Him? If not, I would strongly urge you to reconsider. Jesus put it this way, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33. God desires that your heart, mind and works to be consecrated to Him. He wants your full service.
“We cannot be half the Lord's and half the world's. We are not God's children unless we are such entirely.” SC 44.1.
The struggle of many is that being assured of acceptance from God requires them to go by faith and to seek God with their whole heart. Ellen White said “The inquiry of many a proud heart is, “Why need I go in penitence and humiliation before I can have the assurance of my acceptance with God?” SC 46.
Jesus came as a man and left us an example to follow. I remember when we used to use tracing paper in primary school. The teacher would give us a perfect image to copy and then we would do our best to do just that. In a similar way, Jesus left us the perfect image to copy - His life and words. However, only through His strength can we follow God's will.
Several years ago, I was studying the Bible with a young man. He was successful in life but had goals that would separate him from God. I spent time showing him from the Word how much the Saviour loves him, but eventually he said that he no longer wanted to study the Bible. A few months after his decision, he came to my home church and began tirelessly walking up and down the pavement. I saw him and called out to him. He came to me with quivering lips and tears in his eyes and said, “I feel like I’m losing my mind”. I pleaded with him to come to God, but he wouldn’t. I have never seen him again. Just like the Titanic, many will sink under the waves of the cold seas this world brings in life experiences. But if Peter could be pulled up from sinking so can we.
Let us go all the way to the Lord with a consecrated heart, halfway there is not enough.
Craig Gooden is the current Director of the PEACE Centre of Evangelism and a Bible Worker for the North England Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Craig enjoys sharing the Gospel with others and most importantly spending time with his wife Farida and their son Izraël.