Understanding darkened and alienated from God
Ephesians 4:18 -
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness [hardness] of their heart:
These few days I have been holidaying in Managlore with my family. Mangalore has a lot of Christians predominately Catholics. The people here are very religious. Their houses have many idols and even their doors are engraved with images of people or things from the Bible, mainly of Mary and infant Jesus.
If you meet these people, they are very friendly and come out as good loving people, going out of their way for any person. Any person ignorant of scriptures would state most of these people will surely go to Heaven, but a spiritually mature person with discernment will have to search with a candle light to find for sure a person here living a life according to the Lord (even somewhat).
The goodness of these people are according to the worldly goodness, more of an external goodness. But when you dig deeper you will find their hearts hardened like granite. There are simple facts which expose the hardness within them like the most common pastime of the people here is gossip. The women here are deep into gossiping, but the men take the cake and defeat the women thumbs down. A person not drinking alcohol is considered having some serious illness. Also the relationships between members of many families here are like volcanoes, many do not see eye to eye with each other and if they do, one can feel the chillness of their cold looks. Some volcanoes erupted and brewing lava, while others dormant and waiting to erupt any time. The only things that hold the families together is the respect and status of the family in society. To grow in status all households compete to build large modern mansions with number of bedrooms and bathrooms with top of the line fittings likes of which one rarely finds even in the city.
When I entered this city I saw a lot of Muslims here. Their numbers multiplied many times over the years. I asked the driver of my vehicle if they had any Bible session or groups here and he was ignorant of any such. Even the numbers of Believers here are negligible such that they do not count in society. The driver was a Catholic and had statues mounted on the top of the dash board of his car. The height of my surprise through this trip was seeing a bungalow of a priest's family with the door having a carving of Jesus and the top of the house having a face of a Hindu demon to scare away evil spirits.
There was a relative of mine whom I was sharing about God and challenged her to do away with the idols in her house as according to scriptures which she was aware of. But she was scared to do so because she knew society will alienate her and her family.
How much they show externally as God loving, religious people that much more internally they hate God and the things holy to God. They live a life here on earth to enjoy the things of this world and are totally blank about the greater life ahead.
Today's message opens out the reason why people like them live such a life. The message says that things like traditions have darkened their sight and have alienated them from God and eternal life. They prefer being ignorant of the things of God out of fear of being alienated by the worldly man. This is what God says as hardening of the heart.
We should be aware of the nature of God as one who encourages those who walk towards Him by drawing them closer by the knowledge of Him and by His Spirit and drives to destruction those who harden their hearts by hardening them further, by making them believe in vanity and foolishness of man.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You are light and those who shut their eyes to You and resist the knowledge of the things of Heaven dwell in darkness. Lord, we pray for your mercy on specially those who dwell in Mangalore. We pray that You move things around and bring a change here. We your people intercede for them and open the doors of change into their lives. Even if You need to turn their lives upside down do so, but let your light shine bright in this place...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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