Each of us lives in a world that considers devotion to God a low priority; that pursues pleasure, or materialism, or security, or success, or escapism as life’s purpose; that defines integrity differently from the man or woman serving Jesus Christ; and that subscribes to standards and values in genuine contrast to Christian standards and values.

Living daily among people and influences that do not regard God as life’s priority is hard! It always has been hard! In some societies it is hard because God is opposed with open hostility and physical danger. In our society, most Christians do not face open hostility and physical danger. Here the opposition is real but often subtle.

The fact that it is hard to follow God in a world that denies God as Creator, the Source of life, and the Eternal Destiny is not new. Two thousand years ago Paul wrote to Christians living in Thessalonica, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6). He wrote to Christians in Ephesus, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). To the Christians in the province of Galatia he wrote, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen” (Galatians 1:3-5).

How do we as Christians react to our godless pressures and influences? Some react by creating an artificial division between "real life" and "religious life." Some create a "going-to-church" habit. Some define personal faithfulness on the basis of physical presence at a place. Some wrestle with temptations and fail. Some struggle with guilt. Some seek to exist in isolation.

Regardless of personal reaction, we all need encouragement. Sunday evening in the auditorium will be devoted to supplying the encouragement to live. It will not be a duplication of Sunday morning. Sunday morning is primarily devoted to praising God. Sunday evening will primarily be devoted to challenging us to live for God. It will be devoted to providing us strength to live for Christ in our real worlds.

We will seek to make it uplifting. We will seek to make it helpful in a daily walk with God as we follow Christ. We will seek to make it “times of refreshing” coming “from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Come Sunday evenings to be encouraged and challenged!

[This is not an attempt to attract those who attend classes, life groups, Kids for Christ, etc., to the auditorium. We are not in competition with each other!]

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 30 December 2004

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