It’s been a tough week for the faith. Aside from the obvious heartbreaking tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Texas, disturbing news about one of our largest church denominations was also disclosed to the world. Even more, a couple of you in the study group shared some personal struggles you are facing with family and with finances. The unceasing pounding waves of this world can leave us all questioning, “Where is this good good life?” Where is the hope for a better future? What does this future hold not only for me but for my family and my children’s children?
Our study group this coming Thursday night focuses on The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). This is the fifth Spiritual Skill for us to develop. In our closing prayer in our last study group, Mike prayed that “our nudges be amplified!” I felt a nudge this week from the Holy Spirit to share some thoughts and observations as we prepare to meet again this coming week. Specifically, this nudge focused on Ephesians 6:12 which says, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Given the week we’ve seen in this country, combined with the hate rhetoric we continually hear, the war in Ukraine, and all the other discord in the world, this verse should strike all of us at our core.
I keep hearing people ask where is God in all of this? Why does God allow all of this hate and madness? God gave you and me and everyone the ability to choose. We have free will. We may not have had a choice as to the parents or the environment or the time we came into this world, but we all have a choice in how we respond to it. Tragically, too many make a choice to live in darkness and evil. That choice is what I want to share with you now.
I keep hearing people reference these are the end days. I don’t know, and based on the words of Jesus in Matthew 24 (link above), He doesn’t know either. What I do know is that evil has permeated into the depths of our culture. What I clearly see is darkness; a darkness that is lacking the light of Christ (John 1:4-5). The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians that the god of this age has blinded unbelievers so that they cannot see [that light] the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). Do we recognize the god of this age? Do we see the false idols we have allowed to replace God in our life? Do we see how we wrestle to find contentment with those gods?
A Spiritual Solution
There is a solution to the current madness we see in the world. It is a simple solution but it is difficult to execute. This solution goes way beyond locking down schools or banning guns. It goes beyond us as a society deciding to just do good and stop the abuse and the hatred and the division. You see the Apostle Paul wrestled with this as well. Paul wrestled with sin in his own life (Romans 7:14-25) and came to the revelation that he could not change himself or guide others in their faith in his own power. He recognized the divine power of the Holy Spirit to overcome this dark world and that individually we make a choice to either live our lives in the flesh (darkness) or live our lives in the Spirit (light).
Christian author John Piper describes Romans chapter 8 as “the greatest chapter in the Bible.” That’s a strong statement. I can’t disagree with him either. If we claim our faith as Christians then we need to embrace what that truly means at its core – we are born again; born into the Spirit of Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17). You may be saying, “That may have been true for the Apostle Paul or true for John Piper, but I don’t feel like a new creation.” Well, that is where the journey begins from our head to our heart. You see we have allowed the evil one to deceive us into believing we are unworthy of God’s love, we are unworthy of forgiveness, we are unworthy of His promises for our life and for our family, and for our future. But that is a deception because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:1). Make a choice. Make a decision right now that if you have accepted Christ, you are a child of God (Romans 8:14-17).
When you make that choice and burn those bridges of the flesh behind you, so that spiritually you will not go back, your light, the light of the Spirit of Christ in you, will cast upon the darkness and the darkness will retreat. If we will embrace the light of the Spirit and walk each day living in the Spirit, God will shape and mold us into the image of Christ and in turn, begin changing the lives of our family our friends, and our co-workers. They may not all accept this light, but in time, relationships will be restored and renewed. And as we transform through this renewal of the mind (Romans 12:2), we will begin seeing that others will be transformed – our children and ultimately their children.
There is no microwave, quick fix to what is going on in the world today, but if we choose to change ourselves and commit to discipling others to live life in the Spirit then over time the darkness of this world will subside. We may not live long enough to see it but we can rest in the fact that we did our part through the power of God’s Spirit to change our lives and leave a legacy to those who follow.