In a Time of Unbelief

Anyone can live like this unbelieving age.

The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery...

  - 1 Peter 4.3, 4

Let their hearts be pure and holy; in time of unbelief let them remain steadfast. Let them be faithful in their speech, and unstinting with their help.

  - The Rule of Ailbe, Irish, 7th century

It’s not that we can’t or shouldn’t have friends among unbelievers.

It’s simply that we shouldn’t live the way they do.

The Apostle Paul explained that we cannot simply not exist in the world; thus, we cannot avoid associating with worldly people (1 Cor. 5.9, 10).

But that doesn’t mean we have to be like them in their worldliness.

Everything about us – our outlook, demeanor, habits of work and dress, cultural interests, conversation, the way we relate to others – should declare that we have rebelled against the vulgarity, materialism, self-centeredness, and insipidity of the age, together with its immorality, whether overt or implied. We are new creatures, people who hope in the glory of God, and everything about us should be surprising to those who do not know the Lord.

Sadly, what would be surprising in this age of unbelief is to find many Christians who live this way.

Every time some new poll or report comes out indicating that Christians aren’t all that different from everyone else, I groan and wonder who’s teaching these believers that they shouldn’t expect all things in their lives to be made new in Jesus.

It’s just too easy to fit in comfortably with our unbelieving age. And when ministers suggest that our comfortable, materialistic, self-centered way of living is, you know, out of step with the Gospel, the people of God get restive and resentful.

Each of us needs to examine his own heart: Is it pure and holy, so that I am faithful in seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, bold in speaking the things of Christ, and unstinting in my service to others?

Anyone can live like this unbelieving age-in-flight from God.

It takes real believers to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15.58).

Psalm 1.1, 2 (St. Thomas: “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”)
How blessed are they that shun sin’s vain and wicked ways.
For them has Christ salvation won; He loves them all their days.

God’s Word is their delight; they prosper in its truth.
In it they dwell both day and night to flourish and bear fruit.

Help me, Lord, to be free of the constraints of an unbelieving age! Teach me to live in the glorious light of Your Truth.

In a rut in your spiritual life? Need a new direction or focus? Some new resources? Our lives are a journey toward maturity in Christ, and our free online course, Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival, can give you the perspectives, tools, and disciplines essential for a daily, ongoing experience of the reviving and renewing grace of our Lord. Visit the website to read about this course. You can study on your own or we can provide a Mentor to take you through the 7 lessons.

We're still offering a pre-release copy of The Landscape of Unseen Things, 24 lessons in seeing with the eye of faith into that glorious realm of spiritual life and hope. Your contribution of any amount will find a copy speeding to you right away. You can donate here or at the website, using the donate button, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Dr., Essex Junction, VT 5452.

As always, your questions or responses are welcome by email. I love hearing from you.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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