For a while there it seemed like religion was dying, at least if you believed the headlines. The secular world claimed victory as technology and “world citizenship” seemed to be working. Then the bottom fell out. It was all smoke and mirrors anyway.
The mess of regional conflicts, power mafias, and the clash of ideologies showed us that we can’t innovate or code our way out of our selfish nature. The poor stayed poor while the wealthy became obscenely rich. And the war racket continued to rake in more cash dripping with blood.
Now, in the waning hours of the Covid-19 disaster, the beast of extremism rises from the ashes. Each side points a finger calling the other side unhinged, corrupt, and dangerous. And so they are. Politically driven interest groups ramp up the rhetoric to higher levels of aggression that contaminate the mainstream and government. And mob mentality spreads faster than the coronavirus.
How we might react to it all
Make no mistake, it’s not about right and wrong anymore. Many compromise their core convictions and sell their souls to the devil. It’s about power and the lust for victory—but it’s always been like this. Now, it’s just more explicit, and many embrace this “win at all costs” attitude thinking it’s the only way out of this mess. Meanwhile, the common person gets caught in the crossfire and confusion.
Some of us seek insulation. We continue to work, live, enjoy our cookouts, and even prosper. But as we appreciate the simple comforts of life, we can’t shake our uneasiness. Some eventually get sucked into the mob, others watch in horror, while many others just try to ignore it all.
Then we gather around the table and debate about lockdowns, conspiracies, vaccines, riots, and bailouts. And we still worry about things we always worry about—our families, paying the bills, the leaky faucet, and the everyday family crisis that pierces your heart.
Do we really want to follow the Way, the Truth & the Life?
What’s does Jesus tell us is the way out? Where does he say we can find purpose and meaning?
He said if you want to follow him, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.
The cross of Christ is not just facing the tough challenges specific to your life. It’s giving more. Much more. And our times call for it.
As the world aggression increases, the intensity of our commitment to the Messiah must be equally as intense. Or better yet, our trust in God must grow in proportion to the challenge. So let’s stop making compromises with the devil and come clean. An election isn’t going to fix things. Neither will our adherence to any conspiracy theory, even if it is true.
We must return to God’s Word to find our way home. We must bring his eternal principles to life in these troubled, modern times.
This means putting our personal efforts and resources to the task. Our hands, feet, minds, and hearts must do the work. What you can see, touch, and feel will make a real difference. Serve, as Jesus did, from the ground up. It means helping a person, someone you know by name. It means helping families, directly as individuals and as a church.
It means kneeling in prayer and crying out in earnest to God for the forgiveness and deliverance of this wounded world.
Our Captain calls us to the task
Do not isolate yourself from this troubled world. Lean into it as Christ did. He waded into the struggle fully armored with the Spirit of God. Follow him.
This is taking up the cross. This is dying to oneself. You give time, effort, and money until it hurts. Blood, sweat, and tears. If we seek the Kingdom of God like this, we will see God’s glory.
You can join the mob. You can watch helplessly. You can ignore the need. Or you can rise up with the Resurrected Lord. If the Body of Christ isn’t called to rise up now, then when?
For some mysterious reason, giving must hurt to be fully transformative. The uber wealthy may donate lots of money to charities, but it doesn’t hurt the donor. If anything, it helps them as giving improves their image. Even giving half their riches wouldn’t affect their lives, but they can’t do this. Money is their god. They believe they can buy security and heaven on earth. Even religious leaders living in opulence are included here. Don’t promise me material abundance & prosperity for all since it’s a lie.
Our religion is not dead. Instead it’s being called to return to its origins—an innocent man who cried out that justice meant coming down to the level of the most needy—and lifting them up to heaven.
Today’s reality gives us a chance to know what the faithful have always known—we live in a fallen world. God is our only hope. He will manifest himself on earth as he chooses, but at the end of the day, faith is what matters most. Today, it’s scarier than ever for me to rest on this. But I believe if we do, we become part of an irresistible force that works miracles and wonders in this world.
There will be no glorious headlines or accolades, but our souls will rest well. We will know we are doing more than we realized was possible. The Spirit of God will give us clarity and strength to work together in the Master’s vineyard.
Do not be afraid of the beast rising up. The Son of Man has already risen from the dead to defeat evil forever. This world will see tribulation, but the final victory goes to Christ. He has already overcome the world.
And the people who hurt in need, suffering in our shadows… will we stoop down to help them? Will we follow the way of the Servant Master? Will we get down on our knees to serve as Jesus did, washing the feet of us sinners?
Too many suffer in the shadow of prosperity, in the corners of society, and even in our own homes… and the tender heart can’t bear to see this. But the hardened heart feels nothing.
Soften our hearts, O Lord. Send us forth with strong hearts of flesh that feel and bleed for others. Give us the strength to carry our cross and give more. Lead us home to your Kingdom. In Jesus name, Amen.
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