Life is about priorities. A priority is a value-ordering of one’s life. Values dictate institutional structures, as well as, family life-styles. Learning how to order one’s personal and family life-style in terms of “intellectually” knowing, and spiritually understanding where to place one’s ultimate trust is of primary importance. Vanity is spiritually dangerous, because vanity creates debt. And, debt is form of slavery. This is precisely why the Bible declares: “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13: 8). LOVE fulfills God’s requirements. “Drinking the vanity of the world and not thinking is a bad combination, because life is ultimately about making “mistakes”. Every individual makes mistakes, but it is not the mistakes that individuals make, but it is the inability of individuals to change that is to learn to live in spite of their mistakes. “Doing the same thing over, and over is the classic definition of insanity according to the world”. Real change comes from having societal-knowledge, spiritual knowledge, and a personal relationship with God. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1: 6-7). Let’s be clear about this particular scripture, because this scripture does not mean entitlement to salvation and being born again. It is only the first step in the process of salvation. For every individual must experience sanctification: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17: 17-19). Every individual must understand the “process” of receiving spiritual salvation, and therefore, understand this scripture, because all of us sin either through omission or commission: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3: 18). Therefore, every individual must acknowledge this scriptural reference-step: “Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3: 5). “Get off the premises and get on the promise”.
Above all, spiritually understanding what are the most important things about living a “spiritually-meaningful-fulfilling-life” is the key to having a successful life rather than merely having material success in life. This is why Jesus always “spiritually” confronted individuals with this question: Where do you place your ultimate trust that is whom do you love the most the Creator of the creation? Counting the spiritual cost is a very important element in living a spiritually meaningful life. This is why Jesus always urged individuals to count the cost, because: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15).
Living life from the outside to the inside does not afford an individual the possibility of developing an internal values system which is based upon intellectual integrity, moral character and spiritual understanding. Unfortunately, Christian leadership mentality has encouraged the valuing of tangibles (things) rather than intangibles (moral character, intellectual integrity, and spiritual understanding). On Sunday, October 23, 2016 in Sumter, South Carolina in St. Paul AME church one parishioner violently stabbed another parishioner during worship services. In the twenty-first century, individuals cannot attend church and worship God in Spirit and Truth without being subject to potentially losing one’s life. Question: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him……..” (Hebrews 2: 3). For we all know that: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10: 10).
The challenges of creative living in a “spiritually-dying-sin-sick-culture” of having or not having the “material-creature-comforts” of the “American Dream” are much easier to face when individuals have their spiritual life-styles in order. The “Missing Moral Links” in the family structure and Christian leadership mentalities are the sources of the problems destroying American culture. Culture is not GOD. Even though, religion and culture can invariably become one: Culture Christianity-Monument Building.
Society begins and ends in family-structure, and when the family structure deteriorates society spiritually and morally declines. To be sure, in twenty-first century, America families are recycling dysfunctional spiritual “curses” from generation to generation. Family life relationships are the foundation for moral character development. Life is about character development. The David and King Saul saga was about moral character development (Samuel chapter 24). King Saul had been hunting David to kill him. David could have killed King Saul, but he rose above the code of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. When Saul finally met David face to face, he saw himself for what he really was and he broke down, lifted-up his voice and wept, “Thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.” (Samuel 24:17). Great is the individual that rules his own Spirit (mind), because greater is he that rules his own spirit than he who takes a city.
Character development is about spiritual and internal values, and the valuing of people rather than valuing “things and the pleasure-principle”. American society is in dire need of the spiritual-moral-integration of flesh and SPIRIT. But, just like Pilate, too many Americans have washed their hands in despair, called it quits, and said let the record stand. Yes, we may always have “institutional” racism, sexism, classism and socio-economic-injustice, because there will always be those who are not willing to set positive moral examples of character and intellectual integrity for others to imitate. It is primarily for this reason that America has a 2016 Presidential election of moral confusion. It is unfortunate that a few rich/powerful individuals or able to morally influence the many into going in the “WRONG” direction spiritually, morally, and culturally. The classic example of this problem is the way Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who has so easily misled millions of Americans into the false hope of acquiring something for nothing. America, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed:” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9). Selah!
Bobby E. Mills is an accomplished college professor and public sector administrator. He earned a B.D. degree in Theology from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York and a Ph.D. degree in Sociology from Syracuse University, New York. He has written and published numerous professional articles concerning the pressing social ills confronting American society.