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You are being electronically monitored nearly everywhere you go. And if you’re not actively being monitored, the technology is within viewing, hearing and implantation range, set up and ready to roll. All it requires is to be installed and activated. Communications grids that enable instantaneous global communication also serve as tracking systems. Yet these monitoring and tracking systems, however impressive, pervasive and invasive, are nothing compared to God’s surveillance state.
God, being God, designed and engineered the first and best of all possible surveillance, protection and alarm systems. This combined system (better described as a state) is perfect. And it works without unsightly wires, cameras, microphones or other cumbersome hardware that can easily be compromised or break down. Through his state, God knows exactly where you are at all times and exactly what you’re doing and saying and seeing. Plus, as an added bonus (and one that the world’s surveillance systems designers can only dream of) – GOD ALSO KNOWS ALL YOUR THOUGHTS. There’s nothing and nowhere you can hide from God.
But wait – there’s more! God not only knows everything about you in the here and now, he also knows exactly where you’ve been and exactly what you’ve done, said, seen, and thought THROUGHOUT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE thus far.
And if you’re not sold yet on how God’s surveillance state blows the world’s surveillance systems completely out of the water, this oughtta clinch it – as incredible as it sounds, God knows everything YOU HAVE YET TO DO, SAY, SEE AND THINK!
So there you have it: God knows everything about you, past, present and future.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Most born-agains don’t spend a lot of time thinking about God’s surveillance state. That’s part of the built-in mechanism, I guess, to keep us from being paranoid about it and to allow us to exercise our free will, well, freely. And when we do think about God’s surveillance state, it isn’t with fear or reproach. We love God as our Dad and appreciate that he watches over us as a good Dad would and should. We’re glad that he knows everything about us because his intimate knowledge of us, together with his perfect justice system and his unconditional love, helps to keep us on the straight and narrow road to heaven. We also appreciate and feel safe knowing that God is protecting us all the time.
Ultimately, God created his surveillance state for our benefit. It isn’t about spying on us in order to catch us so that he can punish us; it’s about teaching, guiding and protecting us, all for the sole purpose of helping us.
The world’s surveillance systems, on the other hand, are all about the opposite. Although sold to a gullible public as being the technological equivalent of sliced bread, these systems exist for the sole purpose of intimidating and punishing us. And what are we being punished for? Committing crimes, of course – ‘crimes’ like speaking openly about what the world’s powers (who are, not surprisingly, also the initiators and supporters of this technology) are doing behind the scenes politically, financially, scientifically, and so on. How ironic, that the same Earthly powers whose technology is trained on us night and day are the very same powers that are making it a crime to know and report on what they’re really up to.
Scripture tells us about these kinds of powers – the ones that operate in secrecy where they think their dark deeds will not be known. They’ve been operating “behind the scenes” since the beginning of human history. Intensely paranoid themselves (a guilty conscience will do that to you), they want us likewise to be paranoid: It’s their natural state of being. They don’t hide their electronic snooping but instead reframe it as a benign means to enable enhanced communication, target consumer products, and protect us from the latest contrived boogey-man (like, for instance, ‘terrorists’). And if we’re not aware that they’re potentially everywhere that a camera or microphone is (i.e., your smartphone, your laptop, etc.), they’ll send agent ‘messengers’ like ‘Edward Snowden’ and give him blanket mainstream media coverage for months and months, just to make sure that you are aware that you’re being watched and listened to, indoors and out, 24/7. After all – a paranoid populace is an easily controlled populace. We can see the truth of that in how easily controlled by Satan the ultra-paranoid powers-that-be are.
Jesus says the world is under Satan except for those who are in God’s kingdom. Jesus also tells us to shout the truth from the rooftops, and that we’re not to fear those who have power over our body and possessions but not over our will. If you live in fear of the world’s punishment, you’re fearing the wrong thing. Big Brother might be watching you through your computer, but God is watching Big Brother, and God’s got your back.
God’s surveillance state is perfect. It is based on love for us and respect for our free will, and it operates solely for our benefit.
In contrast, the world’s surveillance systems are deeply flawed. They are based on disdain for us and disrespect of our rights, and they operate solely to our detriment.
Yes, the world is under Satan, but thank God we don’t have to be. Never be paranoid and never be afraid to speak the truth, regardless of the Earthly consequences. We all have to die for something; it might as well be for the truth.
Just before I was born again, God did me the very great privilege of showing me my soul. Mind you, at the time, I had no idea it was my soul because I was an atheist. I won’t go into detail about what I saw, but let’s just say that it was enough to finally break me. And broken, I was shortly thereafter and very tenderly put back together again by God.
Oscar Wilde wrote a book about seeing the state of one’s soul. In it, a vain young man, exhilarated by the power and privilege that his youthful beauty conferred on him, makes a wish that he could keep his good looks for the rest of his life and that a newly painted portrait of him would instead bear the marks of aging. The young man’s wish comes true, but instead of only bearing the marks of aging, the portrait also shows the man’s sins. As the portrait starts to age and turn ugly, the young man covers it and hides it in the attic so that no-one will see his secret shame. I recommend reading the book. The 1945 film (you can see it on Youtube) is also worth watching.
We spend a lot of time worrying about our physical health, including our appearance. In fact, it becomes a source of pride for some of us. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of our body; it is, after all, the vessel of God’s spirit and we’re expected to look after it properly so that we can do the work we need to do. But when our physical health becomes more important to us than our spiritual health, then it’s a problem.
Whenever I hear the wail of an ambulance siren, I think: Imagine if a siren went off every time someone’s soul was in mortal danger? Imagine if, when someone was just about to make that final fatal choice condemning him or her to an eternity of pain, a siren went off, piercing and wailing, so that everyone within hearing range would rush in prayer to help?
Imagine, too, if well in advance of that siren going off, we were able to get people to think about their soul? Imagine, if instead of talking about the weather or physical aches and pains, we started off casual conversations with “How’s your soul?” Imagine if soul talk became as common a communication starter as weather talk or sports talk or money talk?
The health of our soul should be our clear priority, not our physical or financial health. As born-agains, we have the very great privilege of being able, at any time and any place, to know the exact state of our soul, and we should take advantage of that by making frequent spot-checks. We should be checking our soul’s health with the same diligence as the world is told to check blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI, tooth decay, bank balance, stock reports, engine oil, and so on. Some people are afraid to get check-ups for fear of what they might find. Don’t be that person.
As an atheist, I was never asked “How’s your soul?” Mind you, I didn’t believe I had a soul, so had someone actually asked me, a whole different conversation would have ensued, during which the exact health of my soul would have become glaringly and appallingly evident to anyone within viewing, hearing, and spitting range. Think “pea soup scene” in “The Exorcist”. Then you have an idea of how I would have responded to any inquiries about my soul.
Still, such an inquiry should have been made, regardless of the unpleasantness of the anticipated response. In the movie, the mother didn’t back away from her hideously afflicted child, and neither did the priests. As born-agains, we take on these fearless and caring roles, just like Jesus did. We are priests and mothers at large. We love and tend to needs, even as we’re cursed for it.
People need to hear the words “How’s your soul”. They may not want to hear those words, but they need to hear them. They need to be reminded that they have a soul and that the health of their soul should take priority over all other concerns.
So, how’s your soul?
I used to run a resume service. In general, I dealt with two types of job searchers – those who wanted a general resume that they could fire off “cold” to thousands of companies, and those who wanted a targeted resume that they could send to one employer in response to a job ad. The job searchers who sent out targeted resumes were almost always successful at getting at least an interview, whereas the job searchers who blanketed companies’ inboxes with their “To Whom It Concerns” resumes always, with very few exceptions, came up empty. Many job searchers were burnt out by the lack of response and lost interest in looking for work altogether.
Born-agains want to help people. It’s part of our spiritual DNA. We want others who don’t yet follow Jesus to experience how joyful life can be. The desire to help is so overwhelming sometimes that we feel we have to help everyone, every day, everywhere we go.
It should be no surprise to us that we end up helping no-one when we adopt the ‘shoot wide’ approach. People who don’t want to be helped cannot be helped. In job-search terms, they’re not currently hiring and they’re not open for our business.
God knows that. It’s how he operates. It’s also how Jesus operated during his ministry years, and it’s how we must operate, too, if we genuinely want to help someone.
Let’s take a look at scripture. In it, we can see examples of how Jesus and God can only help people who want their help. Certainly, God wants to help everyone all the time, but because of free will, only those who allow him to help them can be helped.
Jesus taught those who came to him, either in public places, in houses of worship, or at his home. During those teaching sessions, there were many who asked Jesus for specific help (e.g., more wine, healing physical ailments or deformities, casting out evil spirits, etc.), and, with God’s assistance, he was able to oblige. They sought him out, they wanted his help, and they believed he could help them. This is of particular importance – they believed he could help them. Many born-agains spend a lot of time trying to convince people they can help them. This is as backwards as making a decision about something you want to do, and then asking God to bless that decision and your subsequent efforts. From personal experience, I can tell you that this approach does not work very well. In fact, it doesn’t work at all.
The right approach is to wait for God to guide your decision, and then he will bless your efforts. Likewise, the right approach is to wait for people to seek out your help, and then you can help them because they’re open to what you can offer them. Metaphorically speaking, they’re open for business, they’re hiring, and you’re the favored candidate.
Jesus told us that those who make it into heaven are those how feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and so on. What distinguishes people in these situations from people in general is that they are in a position of need so they are open to getting help. That’s not to say that we can’t, like God, always be ready to help someone at the slightest indication that they want our help. When I was still an atheist, I chicken-sat in Australia. It was a 3-month house-sitting gig that involved looking after two pet chickens (Red and The White One) for a Christian woman named Mildred. Mildred had a Bible in her living room. Before she left, she didn’t tell me “Oh, by the way, there’s a Bible in the living room, if you want to learn about God and Jesus.” She knew that I, as an atheist, wouldn’t be open to that kind of pointed info, so she just left the Bible there, out in plain view where I could easily find it, in case I needed it.
And need it I did. Within a month and a half of being at her place, I was born again, and the first thing I did was make a bee-line for the Bible and read the New Testament from cover to cover. Thank God Mildred left the Bible out where I could easily find it, and thank God she didn’t try to bang me over the head with it.
You can waste your time and energy trying to help people who don’t want your help, or you can invest your time and energy wisely, like Jesus did, and target your help to those who ask for it. Always be ready and willing to help, but wait for the request. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to leave a Bible out where people who are clearly in need can easily find it.