There are LOTS of stressors in the world right now!
I look at the headlines from the last week–Political turmoil (what else is new?), Weather turmoil (Hurricane Florence is coming ashore as I write, with 3 ‘named’ storms churning out at sea and Super Typhoon Mangkhut is heading toward China and the Philippines); Gunmen killing people in California and in Ohio; Iran is threatening Israel and America (again)…On a personal level, several friends are dealing with cancers, diseases and even suicides of loved ones; Racial tensions continue to simmer; and the places many turn to for ‘escape’–sports and media–are rife with turmoil…all this, and we just observed the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
All of this got me wondering the other day…
What Can We Do?
Is there anything you and I can do to ‘make it better’?
Even more specifically, I mean ‘What, if anything, does Christianity offer to this world?’ What can the Church–the people of God who believe in Jesus–do?
I remember on September 12th of 2001…and on September 16th, that Sunday…that churches across the nation were filled with people. They knew that we’d been made to feel vulnerable in a way that we were not accustomed to…and it shook them to their core. They knew that thousands of countrymen and women (and even children) had died–of all races and ethnicities. They knew that war was coming, but didn’t know what the result would be.
It was a nerve-wracking time…and many, many people had the sense to know that 1) their lives were out of their control, and 2) God was a good place to turn.
Then, over the weeks and months to come, the attacks stopped, our military struck back…hard…and the ‘crisis’ subsided. Most people went back to their previous ‘normal’ lives, and forgot their need for God again.
Now, September 13, 2018…with crises all around…are people turning to God?
Some are, but most aren’t.
Two reasons, I believe:
- Many more believe, today, that ‘man’ is the center of the universe, and that we can ‘figure it out’ ourselves. This ‘human spirit’ is very proud, very independent, and very self-sufficient…qualities that can be beneficial–but not when they inhibit us from humbling ourselves before our Creator, Redeemer, Savior and Lord.
- The Church of Jesus Christ…believers who have come to faith in Him…has not done a good job conveying the truth that Jesus Christ IS Lord, and that He IS Savior to all who call upon Him. In truth, we’ve acted as though He is ‘no big deal’, or ‘one option among many’. We’ve fit Him in to ‘the spirit of the age’ with our relativistic, humanistic mindset taking over our theology. Therefore, we convince ourselves that we have nothing ‘real’ to offer.
As a result, our world continues to teeter on the brink of catastrophe…not a circumstantial one, but a theological one. The catastrophe is this: We are being deceived by the enemy of our souls…and we are celebrating it as ‘liberation’.
“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.”
This world–and those who are buying in to it’s ‘man-centered’ philosophy…is on its own. You want meaning? Come up with it yourself!
You want hope? Out of luck!
You want peace? Find it within your own mind!
Some see this is good–the evolution of the spirit.
I see it–and all other Biblically-literate Christians see it–as a HUGE step backward, toward our own destruction.
We have bought the lies of ‘The Deceiver’ who “comes only to steal, kill, and destroy”, while rejecting Jesus, who came to give us “Life…to the Full”! (John 10:10)
This world is desperately in need of the Truth–not ‘my’ truth, but THE Truth!
Jesus said “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; No one comes to the Father, except by Me.” (John 14:6)
We–Believers in Jesus Christ–need to share that truth more fully, more boldly, and more lovingly than ever. We need to live that truth out–not simply in our morality and religious behavior, but in our love, service, and sacrifice. We need to invest everything into the eternal principles of the Kingdom of God–and reject the temporary promises of the ‘here and now’ mentality.
We need to shine–even more brightly as the world around us gets more ‘dark’. As the ‘Bride of Christ’, the Church is called to shine like ‘stars in the night sky’…a ‘light’ in the darkness!
As Paul wrote elsewhere, (Philippians 2:12–16): “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life…”
Our world NEEDS us to shine!
It needs us to point them, consistently and boldly, to Jesus Christ!
We do so in word, in deed, in attitude. We do it through love, grace, and truth.
The hope that He gives is definitely what this world needs!
Let’s do it!