Friday, October 17, 2014
Dark Times and Yet...
It is undeniable. We live in dangerous times. They are dangerous in many ways. It seems to be common anymore to turn on the news and hear of various local issues including: drive by shootings, suicides, hit and runs, assaults, and frauds by the dozen. On an international scale, there are many hotbeds where war is brewing, political and religious groups imposing their will on those weaker than themselves using violence and intimidation, and genocides being carried out by people who are behaving in ways that betray almost a complete lack of conscience.
I hear frequently anymore, the voices of friends and acquaintances espousing their views on human relationships and how the interactions we have should be conducted. It is frightening to me to hear how very far away we sometimes stray from the truth.
Please understand that I am primarily writing this piece to speak to my friends and acquaintances who like me, say they follow Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Christ calls us to something far bigger than the narrow minded and selfish ways of this world. Unlike much of the world today, we are called to be self-sacrificing, looking to others needs, putting those needs ahead of our own. We are to be aware that the things we do, though they may not be sin (i.e. drinking alcohol), may cause others to stumble and fall.
I have been greatly disappointed in the last few years to see that many of us whether young or old, new to faith in Christ, or maturing in the faith, have begun taking or leaving various pieces of scripture to justify ignoring our responsibilities to those around us whose faith is less mature and yes, weaker. We must reverse this trend. If we say we follow Christ, then we must be far more than just hearers of the word, but also doers. It is not our right to take on the parts of scripture that feel comfortable to us and throw out that which is not so easy to put into practice or live out day to day.
I am not advocating a world where we do not pursue our own personal good mental and spiritual health as one goal. However, I am asking each of you who read this to perform a soul-search where you ensure that you have more than just a self-centered interest in nobody’s well-being but your own. That sort of thinking is not from God. It is that simple. In Christ we are called to live in community. In Christ we are called to love each other. In Christ we are called to sacrifice ourselves and carry the cross daily.
And, I confess that I often fail at this self-sacrifice too. However, I am not asking anyone to do that which I am not striving to do as well. But, I don’t want to just be a “Sunday Christian” either. When we are self-aware and focused on the image of Christ that we not only bear, but need to be reflecting, then our need to always feed our ravenous self will diminish and Christ will be glorified. I know this is easier said than done, but if we try and live with an eternal view towards our actions, then with Christ’s help we can keep moving towards the person that God has created us to be.
Yes, these are dangerous times, but if we know the truth in Jesus, then we can go through dark times and continue to shine His light to those around us who are desperate to fill that empty spot in their hearts. We can say no to selfish things that lead people around us to stumble and fall into doubt and sin. We can actively reach out and share the hope, the truth, the forgiveness, and love that God first gave to us with the broken people around us and walk with them into better days.
Keep the faith. Remember that the real battle happens on our knees. And, keep your hope in the only one who really has the future in His hands. He won’t let you fall.