The passion to know and obey God

Published 8:13 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: It is disturbing to watch the plummeting of the culture as it rages one against the other, defying tradition, religion, and basic manners. Is it just me, or do people seem much more self-indulgent than ever before? Has society invented this strange environment or is “me-centered” self-inflicted? Where does all of this come from? – S.I.

Dear S.I.: The modern philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency has caused many to believe that man can make the grade without God. “Religion,” they argue, “may be all right for certain emotional people, but you can’t beat a man who believes in himself.”
Perhaps because of technology, we know more about societies than ever before. The wise King Solomon wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. Many recall the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Dr. Sigmund Freud, who said that religion is the universal obsessional neurosis. Such a self-confident generation produces more alcoholics, more drug addicts, more criminals, more wars, more broken homes, more assaults, more embezzlement, more murders, and more suicides. The time has come to turn ourselves around and place less confidence in ourselves and more trust and faith in God.
The Bible story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus was so filled with his piety, his riches, and his greed that he revolted when Jesus informed him that the price of eternal life was to “sell out” and come and follow Him. He went away sorrowfully, the Bible says, because he could not detach himself from himself. He found it impossible to become “poor in spirit” because he had such a lofty estimate of his own importance. All around us are arrogance, pride, and selfishness; these are the results of sin.
What is the antidote? There is only one passion that can help us control the many other passions that plague us: the passion to know and obey God.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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