A Plea, to Christians in Despair
I am concerned, too, brethren. I see trends, one after another, pointing toward a moral decline in our population, an ethical decline in our government, and a political decline in the United States of America among the nations of the world. Surely no American Christian is indifferent to such developments.
But I must say, I am FAR more concerned about you.
Every day on Facebook I am subjected to the desperate, furious, and (most importantly) FEARFUL posts. Links to more bad news. Blogs about worst-case scenarios. Entreaties to sign up for this or boycott that. Share share share.
Put down the bullhorn, and step away from the ledge. Having a stroke or giving me one won't help the cause in the slightest.
Pray for our country, absolutely. Be the best example you can be, absolutely. Vote for people of character, absolutely. But don't let your concern about the affairs of life keep you from walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).
I humbly suggest you adopt the following principles, and use them to govern your behavior and conversation both on Facebook and in real life:
Quit obsessing over current events. If you feel yourself slipping into the morass, go on a two-week cleanse. No news. No Facebook. Believe me, you won't miss anything important. "That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, 'See this, it is new'? Already it has existed for ages which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier thing; and also of the later things which will occur, there will be for them no remembrance among those who will come later still" (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11). Read more history than news, more Bible than history.
Quit acting surprised when sinners don't act like Christians. News flash: Bad people do bad things. It's been going on since Cain and Abel. We are in a society that is running from God as fast as its jet engines can manage. Romans 1:18-32 describes the detrimental effect godlessness inevitably has on a culture's morality. People go back on their word. Politicians lie. Criminals commit crimes. Welcome to earth.
Quit looking forward to elections. We are all convinced of the power of democracy.
If we could just get the right people in place, things would be o so much better.
But then we don't get the right people in place. Or we get the right people
in place and they turn out to be the wrong people. Or the right people wind
up not being empowered enough to effect change. Does any of this sound familiar?
We've taken our eye off the ball. We are not trying to win elections; we are trying to win souls. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). The devil is the enemy. THE DEVIL. Quit focusing so much on attempts to overthrow his minions when we have every reason to believe they will only be replaced by more of the same.
Appreciate what you have; don't pine for what you don't. Read Ecclesiastes 5:18-20. Find joy in what you have. Work hard. Play hard. Honor God in all of it, and give Him thanks. Stressing out over the way things used to be or ought to be denies the sufficiency of God's work in your life right where you are. Sure, things could be better in this life. But then, we're not banking on this life anyway, are we?
Quit thinking of yourself as a victim. So the world is out to get you. So you
aren't getting a fair shake. So it doesn't make any sense why your way is so
difficult and others have it so easy. Boo. Hoo.
Take control of your life by not allowing anyone but God to shape it. Moses exhorted the people to choose life instead of death in Deuteronomy 30:19-20. If you're a Christian, you chose life. Most of your neighbors didn't. You chose the narrow way to glory instead of the broad way to destruction (Matthew 17:13-14). So tell me again, why exactly are you so miserable?
Finally, project an image of confidence. Your neighbors are suffering just
like you. They have concerns about the future just like you. Think what kind
of impact you would have if you actually PRACTICED what Philippians 4:6-7 teaches
instead of just nodding along with the preacher. Why would people outside of
Christ want to be like us if we have the same doubts and fears that they do?
But if they see "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension"
in our hearts and on our faces, they might just be interested in finding out
what your secret is.
Our hour of trial and hardship may wind up being the greatest opportunity for evangelism we have seen in this country's history. It would be a shame to waste it because we were too faithless to see it.
The very first category of people who have no place in "the holy city, New Jerusalem" is the cowardly (Revelation 21:8). The most frequently repeated command in the Bible is, "Do not fear." I do not think for a moment God would have given a pass to Joshua or Jacob or Moses or Abraham or Peter or any other recipient of that command just because they thought they might suffer a little more than they would have preferred. I don't think we should expect Him to give us one, either.
By Hal Hammons
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