In the comments on my previous post, DashHouse, says the BibleZines seem like a bait and switch. Jesus calls on us to “take up your cross and follow Me.” Paul talks about dying to daily. And the BibleZines talk about making your life better. What are we missing here?
We are missing the big picture. The Bible is about both sacrifice and reward. There are many Christians that focus only on the promises in the Bible totally missing what is required in order to enjoy those blessings. They are often unwilling to sacrifice in the present to in order to receive the reward in the future.
But, other Christians forget about the prize. Why should anyone give up their old friends, their old habits, and the good time they think they are having? For eternal life? That is certainly part of it, but the Bible has a lot more to offer. Also, remember salvation is a free gift not of works lest anyone should boast. Heaven is a big enough reason, but many sinners plan to “get right” on their death bed. Why should someone accept Christ now and start living the life of the cross “before they have to”? The answer, for a Christian, is obvious. Life with Christ, is more enjoyable, more successful, and more rewarding. Even sex is better God’s way (or so I have read – I have no intention of comparing). But is that even a fair question?
Should we approach the Bible with an attitude of “What am I going to get out of this?” Or should we “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” While the Bible requires us to give up everything, die daily, forget about ourselves, and take up the cross, we are not told to do this unselfishly for no reason. The beatitudes promise blessing, Philippians 3:14 talks about the prize, and many other verses talk about blessings in heaven, and here on earth. God has apparently created us with a natural concern for own well-being. It is this concern that motivates us to do what He wants, because it is good for us.
The selfishness condemned in the Bible is not merely self-interest. It is a short-term focus on immediate self-interest with little consideration for long-term self-interest. When you think about all the people and things around you and the long term impact of your actions, God’s way is the best way. It is the only way to experience true success, sexcess, prosperity, and the good life in general.
So, do the BibleZines adequately present this balanced view? Probably not… at least on the cover. There is no question that the goal of the cover was to get people to pick-up and read the Bible, but did the covers go too far? I have typed a lot. I will leave the answer to that, up to you.