PAGANISM IS ALIVE AND WELL
Any religion that focuses on the acquisition of things and the meeting of personal needs is a religion of pagans. Look again at what Jesus said:
So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:31-34).
According to Jesus, always running after and being preoccupied with the acquisition of things and the satisfying of basic necessities is the activity of pagans. Based on that definition, I would have to say that paganism is alive and well in our world today. As a matter of fact, one of the largest gatherings of pagans takes places every Sunday (or Saturday, in the case of Seventh-Day Adventist churches) when the communities known as the church of Jesus Christ gather for worship. We claim to believe God and trust Him, but our daily lives and the concerns that fill our thoughts reveal that most of us do not. We give lip service to God’s provision, yet we work for food, drink, clothing, shelter, and other things as if it all depends on us. And working for those things becomes the center of our existence and the top priority of our lives. We work hard but we don’t spend time with God. A couple of hours a week pretending to worship, and that’s it. Our preoccupation with material things, satisfying basic needs and getting ahead in the world is nothing other than pagan behavior. Those who truly know the God of Heaven as their Source and Supplier do not have these concerns because they are confident that He has taken care of them.
It is important at this point to understand what we mean by the word pagan. Contrary to what many people may assume, most pagans are not atheists; nor are they, usually, evil people. On the contrary, pagans are highly religious. The word pagan, in fact, refers to worshipers. It refers to people who worship a god other than the one true and living God as revealed in the Bible. An equivalent word to pagan is idolater. Pagans, then, are religious devotees, often highly zealous adherents to a specific system of beliefs and rigidly faithful to a strict set of customs and rituals. The concept of a personal, loving God who cares deeply about them is completely alien to pagans. God, however they conceive him (or her) to be, is a distant, often harsh deity who must be appeased and persuaded to help them. The thought of loving such a god is incomprehensible.
Jesus said that only religious people—pagans—run after the basic needs of life. So if food, drink, clothing, money, car, house and other material things are your priorities, then you are thinking and acting like a pagan, no matter what you claim to believe.
We need a complete change of focus. It is time for us to stop living according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and start living by the principles and priorities of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus turned Maslow upside down and then gave us the correct perspective: “But seek first His [God’s] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33, emphasis added). They will be given. That means that we do not have to work for them or worry about them; God will supply them freely if we give priority to His Kingdom and righteousness.
This does not mean that we should quit our jobs and sit around waiting for God to drop all of these things in our laps. It does mean that even as we work from day to day in our jobs and professions, we are living for other priorities—God’s priorities—supremely and serenely confident that He has us covered. There is no surer antidote to stress, anxiety, and worry.
It is time to set aside the pagan mind-set with its priority of things and take up instead the divine priority, the priority of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Isaiah 26:3 provides this precious promise: “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed [steadfast] on You, Because he trusts in You” (NKJV).
Sent from Prophet Timothy v Shockley Sr