God's Reality Check

Over the past several years, television has been filled with “reality” shows that are not reality. In reality, you and I will not be stranded on a desert island and be forced to survive. We will not pick a spouse from gorgeous candidates competing to marry us.  We will not have our business idea fully financed nor will we be richly rewarded for our conscientious work by an undercover boss.   We will not have our houses ex-tremely made over in a week. Perhaps these shows would be better labeled as “escape from reality”.

God has given us the book of Ecclesiastes for a reality check. His words about life apply to our lives now just as much as when they were written 3,000 years ago.  God tells us –

Reality is that life is full of heartache. “Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many” (11:8).

Reality is that many live in tears daily because of those who mistreat them. “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them…” (4:1).

Reality is that life is not fair. “Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness” (3:16)

Reality is that we cannot find true satisfaction in money and what it will buy. “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income” (5:10).

Reality is that we will die and that we are not guaranteed to live to old age. “Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are snared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them” (9:12).

Reality is that, if we live to old age, our body will wear out and life’s joy will be replaced by pain. “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” (12:1).

Reality is that “he who dies with the most toys” leaves them behind to others who may squander all he has worked for. “This also is a grievous evil-  exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind?…Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? (5:16; 2:18-19).

Reality is that TV and movies may give us an “escape” from reality, but do not take away the problems of life, nor do they give us any lasting happiness. “I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.’ And, behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, ‘It is madness’, and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’” (2:1-2).

Dreams vs. Reality

We dream that every day will be pleasant, but reality is that we have many dark days.

We dream that people will always treat each other with kindness and fairness, but, in reality, many times we ourselves have felt the sting of mistreatment and injustice.

We dream that we will be happy if we just have a little more of what money can buy. But, in reality, we’re like the child who thinks if he got the toy in the advertisement, he would have all he ever wanted. He gets the toy, but soon after-ward is eyeing yet another “gotta have it” treasure.

We dream that we will live to be old, ignoring the reality that it may not happen, illustrated right in front of our eyes by the “early” passing of our family and friends.

We dream that we can preserve our youth, but reality is that wrinkle cream and hair dye may hide the aging of the body, but they cannot stop it.

We dream that we will always be able to enjoy what we have worked so hard for, blind to the reality that it soon will belong to someone else- when we leave this world with what we brought into it -nothing!

Dealing Properly With Reality

We are fortunate that God had Solomon to “tell it like it is” about life and, in the end, to tell us what our life must be all about, if we are to live it to its fullest, despite its dark realities. His closing words were, “The conclusion when all has been heard is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (12:13-14).

God’s wisdom tells us that the way to deal with reality is to live our lives in the fear of God. We will find true fulfillment in knowing we are living in accordance with the purpose we have been created. We will find joy in pleasing our Creator. We will find happiness in staying within His moral law instead of going our own way and experiencing the sorrows of sin.

Rest of the Reality Story

Realities found elsewhere in the Scripture help to fill out and complete the story. The reality is that all of us have sinned- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).

Therefore, the reality is that we could not look forward to the hour that our every act will be brought to judgment because we would expect His wrath, not His reward- “Among them we, too, all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Eph 2:3).

But, fortunately another reality is that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Rom 5:8-9)

God, in reality, will forgive us of our sins because of Jesus’ blood, when our belief in Jesus motivates us to confess Him as Lord, repent of our sins and be baptized (Rom 10:9-10; Acts 2:38).

After that, the reality is “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). And, if we fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith, the ultimate reality is that we will be rewarded with the crown of righteousness on the Judgment Day (2 Tim 4:6-8).

Do You Need A Reality Check?

Are you dealing with reality or just ignoring it or trying to “escape” it? If we can help you deal with the realities of life, death, sin, judgment, and salvation, please write, call, or email. We would love to study with you through the mail or online, and better yet, with open Bibles in your own home. Contact us!