Sunday, June 3, 2012

Are We Prepared To Face The New Reality?

The world is changing, and so is our society. Things that were done privately, behind closed doors are now being done in the light of day, with no shame. Where once we had a standard in our society, it is now "everything goes". The rights of the individual far outweigh the benefit of society. As we look around we can hear Apostle Paul's response, ""'everything is permissible' but is everything beneficial"?

Yesterday my daughters had the final program for their dance. Normally my wife and I either walk, bike, or borrow a vehicle to get around but yesterday we took the public transport. On the bus I saw a poster that did not surprise me but gave me much concern. Translated from French it said "my sexuality is my business". Later, in the school where my girls were performing, I saw student artwork denouncing "homophobia" and encouraging the homosexual lifestyle. It is very easy to see what is being taught in the public school system. Quite a shift in a very short period of time.

So what are we, the Church, suppose to do? The tide has turned and people are once again disappearing into the dark, retreating from the brilliance of God's love. People are always swayed by the crowd and once public opinion has been changed it tends to swell with people who are carried along. Unfortunately this also includes believers who have not grounded themselves in what Jesus taught. The thing is, we cannot just stand-by and watch it happen because as we do we too will be indoctrinated by a society that has no belief or concern for Jesus. There are some things we need to understand.

God created us so that we have the freedom of choice. Adam and Eve exercised it as did every person we read about in the Bible. We each have a choice whether to face God or turn from him. We know the only one who can save us from our depravity is Jesus so there is no sense in trying to change someone's behaviour until they have met Jesus. The real danger is with those who claim they have accepted Jesus and yet conform to the pattern of this world. Our place in all of this is to be the light that Jesus said we are, to not fear being that light and to live our lives as an example of that light:

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deedsand praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

This will take determination, perseverance and a good dosage of the Holy Spirit to empower us to stand in the face of a society that will turn more and more against us. We represent something that society does not want to be reminded of: that there is a right and wrong and God has set boundaries. They want freedom which God has given but choices and decisions have consequences and we need to remind ourselves and others of that fact. We have to set ourselves before God and not stop seeking his face even as the crowds gather to stone us for the light we represent.

Do we have the guts? Seriously. As our faith begins to cost us, have we been building up the resilience to go the distance? What are our priorities? Are we willing to lose it all for Jesus? Are we willing to stand out, to be different, to teach our children God's definition of right and wrong? Our society is becoming more like what Paul had to face every day and yet he said he had one purpose:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)

We have a race to run and we have purpose in doing it. Lose sight of that and you may end up losing everything. What do we get if we gain the whole world and yet lose our soul? No, we have to make certain that we stay alive in Jesus every single day, understanding we are called as warriors in a mighty battle that is becoming more evident every day. In order to participate we need to make sure of one thing, that we are daily renewing ourselves in Jesus:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

Just because this world is going to hell doesn't mean we have to and it doesn't mean that we can't rescue as many as we can. We aren't here to condemn, we can't afford the time for such foolishness. Jesus said people condemn themselves by their actions and decisions. We need to be occupied with the light of God, helping people to step into the light of his love, mercy and grace. We need to be occupied by this work that we have been given and stop chasing after the things the pagans chase after. This world needs to see Jesus and they need to see him in you. So stand the ground you have been given, make sure you are wearing the full armour and continue to grow in Jesus, the light of this world.

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