Life has changed drastically since my childhood. Perhaps you, like me, recall walking to school alone or riding your bike all over town without fear of being nabbed by a pedophile, and leaving your house unlocked without a second thought.
Times have changed. Suddenly it seems the world is going haywire. Consider the international concerns seen daily on television:
- Ebola rages out of control.
- ISIS commits unspeakable atrocities and threatens to attack all countries waging war against its forces.
- The civil war in Syria continues to claim lives and displace its citizens.
- Russia invades Ukraine but denies wrongdoing.
- Hong Kong’s growing pro-democracy protests eerily resemble China’s Tiananmen Square. This one, in particular, strikes home because I stood on Tiananmen Square a week ago.
Yesterday a new church opened in Toronto. It’s a gathering of do-gooders where God is not welcome, the latest such congregation in a growing atheistic movement around the world. One broadcaster said, “I wonder how far this will go. If these churches become a majority in our country, does it mean we’ll become a country without God?” Her words chilled me to the core.
What’s happening? I believe Satan is ramping up his evil forces in a desperate attempt to gain ground and followers before Christ returns and sends him to eternal doom. Ephesians 6:12 is true: “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
So how ought we to respond? Here are my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth:
- Pray for revival in the North American church. Seriously—it’s easy for NA believers to “play” church. We sing rousing songs for 30 minutes, pass the offering plate, listen to the preacher for another 30 minutes, and leave unchanged. Guess what? The atheist congregations fashion their services after the same pattern. The only difference between their church and ours is that we say we worship the living God. But do we actually allow this living God to occupy every cell and fiber of our being? If we sing songs that declare full surrender to God, then let’s mean what we sing and allow Him complete control over our time, finances, relationships, thought life, and yes, even our dreams about retirement. That’s what revival’s about.
It’s time for believers across North America to rise up, connect the dots between faith and real life, and truly allow the Holy Spirit to infiltrate every part of our lives so that He can use us for His highest purpose. There’s no time left for “playing” church.
- Develop relationships with unbelievers. Cocooning with people of like mind is comfortable, but doing so doesn’t move the Great Commission forward. As believers, we’re ambassadors of the Gospel. Let’s get out there and do our job with love and excellence.
Let’s share the love of Jesus in word and deed with both those who have never heard about Him and with those who have developed misperceptions about Him due to negative associations with Christians. This might be a next-door neighbor, the receptionist at our doctor’s office, our kids’ school teachers, our hair stylist, or a coworker. It’s whoever God puts in our path.
People are searching for peace. When we’re living in a vibrant relationship with the Prince of Peace, then our lives will reflect this quality they desire. Let’s be there for them.
- Realize that life is not about us. A Romanian proverb says, “You’re not the belly button of the world.” How true! God placed us on this planet for a higher purpose than to see our daily needs met or to live a treadmill existence. We’re here to live in vibrant relationship with Him and to thereby be salt and light in a society and world that desperately needs hope.
Reality is, fulfilling God’s purpose for us may require sacrificing our conveniences and creature comforts. While that thought might go against our grain, let’s keep things in perspective and remember that Christ sacrificed His life.
Satan’s on a war path, and the world rages in a spiritual battle. Let’s not lie down and play dead or wring our hands in despair. Let’s do our part and fight back.
Question: What one action can you take today to engage in this spiritual battle?