The great controversy. The great controversy! The great controversy? Really? For those of us who have grown up in the church we know the stories and the background all too well. Starting at a young age we learned all about how Satan became jealous, was cast out of heaven and has ever since been wreaking havoc here on earth. I for one have heard the story so many times that it seems to lose its significance; like a song that plays continuously and blends in with other noises to be ever present in the background, but with little bearing on the actual conversation.
I for one often find it difficult to make sense of these stories, not because I underestimate their value or meaning, but because they describe absolutes, while in my life I have to deal with so many shades of gray. And what is so controversial about the color gray?
I often find it very difficult to, even in very innocuous circumstances, to draw the line and say, this is enough. For example, I have a friend who continually asks favors of me. I really don’t mind helping him out, but he keeps asking, until, bit by bit, I am stretched beyond the limits. The reason why I use such an innocent example is because those shades of gray that we have too live with on a daily basis that make up the events surrounding the great controversy, also often seem innocent and benign, without obvious negative consequences. So I’m really tired and neglect to read the Bible for a day. Well, days can quickly turn into weeks, and before we know it the shades of gray have turned darker. Somewhere, there was a line. And that line is never obvious, but you know it once you cross it.
What we often fail to realize is, that these daily shades of gray, are all part of the background noise—that is, the great controversy. The pitched battles which were fought when Satan was expelled from heaven have turned into stealth warfare. Fortunately, we are on the technologically advanced side. God provides us weapons, namely his word and the holy spirit, to guide us through our daily shades of gray, so that when we finally arrive at an absolute – whether we will accept Jesus Christ as our savior and confess our sins – no more battles need to be fought, because the shades of gray have vanished, and we stand victorious next to our heavenly father.
Might not seem controversial now, but it sure is crucial!
1. What are some of the recurring issues you have to deal with on a daily basis, and how can you handle them better?
2. Which of your past decisions have led you – slowly – away from Jesus? At what point did this become obvious?
Jonathan Gerber, Singapore