Or, we have the choice to harden our hearts, to reject the Holy Spirit, and to reject Jesus. God does not use force when it comes to the decision for salvation (Revelation 3:20). He may use compassion to entice us or fear to push us (Jude 22-23), but He will not force us to choose Him. We always have free will with God to accept or reject. This is the way God wants it to be since there is more glory to Him if we willingly choose Him rather than being forced, which is a favorite tactic of Satan. Of course, God can use force in the "macro." He does use force sometimes to shape human history or move nations and leaders toward His ends and His glory or even for the betterment of mankind (Job 12:19 and Proverbs 21:1), but He uses gentle, loving kindness for individuals.
Besides the rejection of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, there are other reasons why people do not live up to their potential or reasons why these God-ordained institutions do not help people live up to their potential. I do not need to tell you that many governments do not further the rights and freedoms of their people as they should. Many governments turn despotic and murderous or, at the very least, work against the best interests of their people. In this fallen world, with governments filled with sinful people, it is easy for the interests of the people to be diverted to the selfish interests of bad people. I’ve learned this lesson in an all-too personal way in my own fight with the government. I’ve learned first-hand how corrupt our own government is. In my fight with the government as a whistleblower, I learned a very disheartening lesson about corruption every step of the way. I have begun to wonder whether there is any part of our government that works the way it is supposed to and does the right thing. But I guess this should not come as a surprise. Not only is our government filled with sinful and selfish people, but these people are also subject to manipulation by Satan and his demon followers. The powers and principalities of Ephesians 6:12 are the authorities of this sinful world who control the governmental powers of this world.
Not only do our governments often fall short of their responsibilities and their moral obligations, but our churches and families often fall short as well. Many churches have fallen away from sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3), choosing worldly doctrine and pleasing lies instead of the truth of God, Jesus, and the Bible. For instance, many liberal churches have chosen social issues for their focus instead of the power of the gospel. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with some works, attempting to fulfill the responsibilities of Matthew 25:31-46 and Isaiah 58:6-12. However, these responsibilities should be fulfilled while preaching and teaching the Gospel. If we only fulfill our ministry to the physical needs of people but neglect the salvation of people’s souls through the work of Jesus Christ, then we have done very little for these people. Remember what Jesus warned in Matthew 16:26: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” This verse applies equally here. If we meet the physical needs of people and fight to win their freedom from bondage, temporal matters in our very short lives, yet we never see to their spiritual needs which are eternal, then we have gained the world for these people but have lost their souls.
More on this tomorrow. Tomorrow’s subject: families.
I pray that God will watch over you and keep you in perfect peace, meeting all your needs physical, emotional, and spiritual.