The other day I saw the second season of the original Star Trek series on sale. I had watched Star Trek as a teenager and remembered it as being my all-time favorite TV series. I always found the series overpriced in the stores, but promised myself if I ever saw it on sale I would buy it so I scooped up the bargain. When Amazon.fr delivered my order, I eagerly inserted a DVD and found it--well, cheesy. Corny even. Alien soldiers who seemed to walk straight out of high-school plays escorted our heroes to prison. Kirk made these corny speeches all the time and some of the acting probably embarrasses the original cast when they see it now.
I suppose it had been 40 years since I saw much of the original Star Trek as their reruns don't seem to hold much fascination for the people in Luxembourg or France where we've mostly worked since 1981. I noticed things that I hadn't paid much attention to when I was a teenager. The show preached a humanistic, God-excluding worldview that made me uneasy. I finally got used to the characters again but was this really the original Star Trek series? Something was different.
It's not just Star Trek. I watched some old television series featuring my childhood cowboy hero, Roy Rogers. When I was a kid, I figured life would be best if I grew up to be second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals or a Roy Rogers clone. (For my younger readers, Roy Rogers was King of the Cowboys back in the Stone Ages, i.e. the 1950s, about the time when Mickey Mantle roamed center field for the Yankees. You remember Mickey don't you? Ah, just forget it.)
But watching those old films today, something is different. I think it's me. An almost 60-year old sees things through different eyes than a boy of 10 or a teenager. Technology has advanced and even acting methods have changed. Compare the fight scene between Obi Wan and Darth Vader in the first of the original Star Wars series and the fight between the same two in the prequel where they are doing flips on blobs in a lava flow, etc. It's a different world. (Hollywood has taken a huge step backwards in morals, though. I recently read an article in the New York Times dealing with the explosion of vulgarity on television. If the New York Times thinks you're getting too vulgar, it was probably time to ask yourself some questions a long time ago). Change. I counseled with a young wife once who wailed through her tears, 'He's not the man I married!” She was right. She wasn't the woman he married either. I suppose the 'essence” of what we are remains but our lives evolve constantly. The question is: Are we getting more like the Lord or less like Him? How do you know, you may ask? I think there are at least four tests that can be applied.
'The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45-46 NIV)
We all 'run off at the mouth.” Your mouth is a gauge. What it says when you're not paying attention measures what is in your heart. Do this. Listen to yourself two whole days. Does that mouth reveal a heart like the Lord's? Are you changing in the right direction.
'Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Prov. 27:5, 6 NIV).
You want to know your heart? Ask an honest friend who cares about you. Or your spouse. Maybe even your kids or your pastor. Ask if you're growing.
'For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”( James 3:16-18, KJV)
That's peace in your soul and peace around you and it's closely related in some aspects to the last test.
'Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.” (Luke 6:44, KJV)
We're not saved by works but they can reveal what's really in our lives. If our mouths are fooling us our fruits (or lack of them) can wake us up. 'By their fruits you'll know them.” If you're having trouble with your husband (or wife) but it's his fault, and if you're having trouble with the boss but it's his fault, and if you're having a dispute with someone at the church but it's their fault and your pastor is really not a good pastor and, etc. In that case you might think that the fruit of your life is not what God expects, huh? If you flunked the tests, might a bit of repentance be in order? I'll leave you to talk to the Lord about it. ___________________________________
Hmmm ... 'I cared not if it had been ten (miles): the more I walk, the sounder I sleep.” John Wesley