Of Two Evils, Choose Neither

On the horizon lay perilous times. Jesus Himself said of this time, “There will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again.” In this, He was quoting the prophet Daniel. In Daniel 12:1 we read, “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is written in the book – will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” The close of this age is resurrection. That final time of great distress, unequalled to any other time in history, consummates via the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

I’ve been reading some of my old material, things I’ve written anywhere from a year to 3 years ago. As I’ve been reading, I’ve been stirred to share again some of what was on my heart. Of two evils, choose neither.

You see, there are some who are prepping for the end times. They buy guns, they stockpile, they search for ways to lock up their homes to hunker down, and they hope to be able to ride out the storm when it gets bad. Others choose to believe that we’ll be “raptured” out, and therefore will not endure such hardship. Here is what stirred me: the two trees in the Garden of Eden. There is the tree of life, which would have caused Adam to live forever, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We can see in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 that the tree of life would have brought about Adam’s resurrection. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought about his death.

Here lies the symbology of the two trees. The tree of life is a selfless tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a selfish tree. The tree of life is represented in a cross, that we deny self and lose life in order to find self and obtain life. We take of its fruit, knowing it is death, in hopes that the seeds will grow and blossom into eternal life – resurrection. The other tree, the selfish tree, looks out for number one. It hopes upon hope for self-preservation. Everything is centered around not losing life, not sacrificing, being promoted, and ultimately around gratification.

When I look at the various models of how people react to the end times, I am left with a sour taste in my brain. Whether it is escapism of the rapture folk, or whether it is self-preservation of the bunker people, of two evils, choose neither. From where do we determine our understanding? And from where do we determine our lifestyle? What we believe of the end affects our present lifestyle. It will either affect it negatively or positively.

Beyond the end times, we find debates of Calvinism or Arminianism. We find debates of evolution or creation. We find debates over homosexuality. We find debates over the millennials leaving church. There are all these things that people focus upon, but they never seem to bring fruitful change. Even when people aren’t debating, I still find the writings of many to be rather shallow. In one sense we are all at various places in our walks. In another sense when everything that is being written about and communicated revolves around self, even your relationship with God, how beneficial is it? When all of the worship songs revolve around how much God loves you, how “worshipful” is it? Who exactly are you talking about, and who exactly are you worshiping?

Out of two evils, choose neither. Stop worshiping yourself, and stop worshiping the debate. You’ve got to serve somebody. Either you will serve the devil, or you will serve the Lord. To have everything in life revolve around self is to worship Satan, the one who has been prideful from the beginning. Examine yourself. As I read some of my old material, I realize that I need to examine myself as well. The truth is that I find myself thinking often about myself rather than the beauty of Christ. I often find myself staggered at the psalmist’s words. They are so captivated with God, and here I am struggling to put two sentences together in adoration of my Father.

To those who are co-laborers and strugglers, I hope this is exhortation. To those who are not struggling with these things, but find that you are able to focus upon Christ, and to know only Christ and Him crucified, I truly desire that you might give me some advice. What is it that has helped you to be crucified to self, so that it is no longer you that live but Christ that lives in you?

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7 thoughts on “Of Two Evils, Choose Neither

  1. Tommy, I think we do daily struggle to live from a life that is other than us and for one who is other than us yet is at the same time intimately in union with us. As the Holy Spirit works in us to be conformed to the image of Christ we will experience the tension of the old self daily being put off even though once and for all we have, the tension of the world’s system pulling us in various directions and behind it is the prince of the power of the air. But God gains ground and usually more so when we feel it to be less so. As we respond to the hunger and deite of the Spirit in us for more of Christ we do die daily and as time goes on we are in new struggles ones that we never knew before looking back at ones that have been overcome that we weren’t sure when we would stop struggling with.

    Concerning the two extremes escapists and preppers I do think that needs to be confronted since much of it is based in fear and reaction. But I do know of some saints realizing we are not just gonna get taken out of here and seeing that things will become difficult both persecution and otherwise are preparing not for themselves only but with an eye to be in a position to help and feed others thus doing so out of love and sacrifice. I know not many are in the position to do so but for the those the Lord leads to do so may it be out of obedience and sacrificial love so that they can be in a position to serve and love and thereby expand the kingdom of Christ.

    Your thoughts?

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    1. I think that the words of Paul are ever on my lips, “Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” I partially have compassion toward the idea that we are all sinners, and that on this side of eternity we shall always struggle. Yet, I also have the problem of reading my New Testament and seeing the incredible statements of freedom within. Much of my old self still yet remains. I have a terribly difficult time being poetic or romantic, but I also seem to get stuck thinking about various debates or my failures. I cannot say with Paul, “I desired to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.”
      Concerning the two extremes, I can give you more than just two 😉 I’m not sure how to sound the alarm loud enough. The end of the age seems to be more and more all that I talk about, and I can’t understand how some people could be so filled with fear. The end is full of the glory of God and the beauty of the cross of Christ. Yet, maybe that’s exactly it? “For our light and momentary affliction is working for us an eternal weight of glory… So we fix our eyes on what is unseen… for what is unseen is eternal.”

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      1. I think that all though we feel the struggle and sometimes it isn’t within at all but trials we are facing and in those both it is only His life lived through us that overcomes. That is the power of choice He gives us. We are constantly being renewed in the spirit of our minds so that we do put on that new self created after the likeness of God in true holiness and righteousness.
        I am also being reminded of Eph. 5:18-21 which carries a response to God from our hearts even within the context of community of saints even starting with just one another and as God gives more as well. If we are alone we realize we are in Christ and do have fellowship with His body. It may be a spouse or fellow holy one or a group, and at times alone yet not alone.
        I do think there is a clear answer but the apprehension and appropriation of it is what we work out each day as we respond to His working in us and it shows that we need one another as well.
        Sometimes it’s difficult to put a lot into a comment especially when seeking to understand at the same time. Appreciating the dialogue on this.

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  2. I struggle daily with finding life in Him, in taking up my cross and following. I start each day with Him, seeking His face and as the day passes, despite my best intentions, I find myself forgetting, drifting so that each morning I repent and start again.
    Currently I am meditating on Col 3:3 ‘For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.’ I think if I could grasp that truth better that the life I live is His life not mine, it is empowered by His Spirit. Concentrate on letting myself be found in Him I would have more success. But then that is still putting the onus on me and I need to let Him live not me cos I no longer live but Christ lives in me.
    So I echo your plea for anyone with the answer to reveal it – but you know, I think we will all have this struggle until the day we join Him through death or Rapture ( 😉 ) and the huge secret is to start afresh each time we fail.

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  3. I think we all will struggle while we are still on this earth but I think there are three things here.
    1. Look up and live (numbers 21:8). Even constant self-analysis, seeing where we’ve messed up and gone wrong, is self centered and can become idolatry or a form of self-improvement. We need to look to Jesus rather than at ourselves and how we are doing. The blood of Jesus is more powerful than we realize.
    2. We are WAY too comfortable in the west. It is only because we are at ease that we can even have these conversations. If we were part of the underground church in China or Iran the absolute necessity of depending on Christ daily for our life would be a reality. The victorious life there is authentic because they have no other option. As it is in the west because we have it pretty easy we rely on ourselves and tend to have way too much time on our hands.
    3. Praise. No matter what, despite our feelings, despite our failings praise the Lord. Put on worship music and sing your heart out to Him. He is worthy of all praise. King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
    That’s my 2-bobs worth anyhow.
    God bless, Belinda

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