There is an interesting statement in 1 Timothy 5:6 concerning certain Christian widows, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth."  Oh how we Americans have drifted from our roots!  Thomas Jefferson, while the ambassador to France, warned his contemporaries against the custom of sending their young people to France for their advanced education.  This was because of the immoral climate that prevailed in France at the time.  He understood that the influence of their leisure class would corrupt the character of American youth.  

Hollywood and the left have been rightly blamed for corrupting American mores.  The stars were often working on their fourth of fifth marriage.  The teaching of Christ and practice of Christians in the first century, as outlined in Matthew 19:9 are winked at in the 21st century.  After all, the cry is heard, God wants me to be happy.  Does God want us to be happy in sin? Those that worship at the altar of pleasure are truly, in God's sight, dead while still alive.  Even the sunset generation is advised to "live in sin," if it can increase their Social Security benefits. 
Physical exercise is another idol worshiped by most Americans.  Spiritual exercise is usually ignored, or to be kind,  neglected. If Americans were to make as much effort to get their lives in shape as they do their bodies, our spiritual health would be in great shape.  Paul points out the difference between the two: "Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

The standard proverb today seems to be, "He who dies with the most toys wins!"  Wins what?  Now the wisdom of Ecclesiastes admonishes, "I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works" (Ecclesiastes 3:22).  However, after pointing out that almost all in life is vanity, he admonishes us, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: 
     (1) Fear God, and (2) keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

The Gospel is God's means of saving mankind.  It (i.e., the New Testament) reveals what the righteousness of God is.  It reveals the wrath of God is against all ungodliness and the unrighteousness  of men in the judgment (Romans 1:16ff).  God has spoken, will we listen? 
Dale I. Royal,
Elk City, OK