If you have been connected to Hope Chapel for any time, you already realize that we stay pretty focused on changing the world in the Name of Christ by focusing on changing one life at a time. But I feel some push, probably the Spirit, to comment on events that are taking place all too frequently in the world today. I mean, it has gotten to the point where we cringe as we turn on the news. Over and over again we hear of suicide bombers detonating themselves in airports, subway stations, and crowded parks full of children. When you mix in the reports we get of beheading, enslavement, and destruction in war torn zones in the Middle East and Northern Africa, it seems that the violence and cruelty has reached incomprehensible levels, especially when you recognize that a good percentage of all of this is done in the name of religion. It’s sobering.
So what is a Christ follower to think and do? Obviously we feel anger, just anger at all this, as well as sorrow for the 100’s of thousands of lives ravaged by the violence. But there has to be more, right? A couple of things really strike me. First and foremost is pray. What we are seeing on the planet is directly connected to the spiritual warfare taking place in the heavenly places. The level of cruelty and inhumanity being witnessed, as in prior episodes of human history, is the result of the sinfulness of man being manipulated by spiritual forces and taken to fresh levels of evilness. The only sufficient weapon we have is prayer. God has made available incredible power but it has to be accessed by prayer. As God’s people, at the top of our prayer lists, should be prayer for peace and reconciliation in the world.
Second, is compassion, and I mean more than just a feeling. As the people of God, we are the ones best equipped with the boldness, readiness to sacrifice, and willingness to risk ourselves in the cause of truth and grace more than anyone else on the planet. We should actively be looking for ways to relieve the suffering caused by all these mind-numbing acts of violence. Hope Chapel always has ways to do so through the relief efforts of our International Mission Board, as well as through an organization called Baptist Global Response. But we should remember there is much more to serving than just writing a check. What we do matters, it reflects on God, and we need to realize that our faith is intended to produce so much more than a tranquil home life and a “good” feeling on the inside. We are to be difference makers via our compassionate service.
Finally, it is incredibly important we know the Truth. As mentioned earlier, so much of this is being perpetuated in the name of religion. This isn’t just jihadist extremists, but it is also religious sects here in the USA who are marrying off child brides. These things develop when people do not know the truth for themselves. It is critically important that people roll up the sleeves of their minds and do the hard work of learning what God truly has to say. We cannot be satisfied with the Sunday School answers we learned as kids or be content with a marginal working vocabulary when it comes to the Bible. Biblical illiteracy is one of the leading causes of the spiritual weakness of today’s Church. We will not have the strength of conviction to be difference-makers in the world unless we are convinced we are standing on the truth. Without really knowing the truth how can we be convinced of the Sovereignty and goodness of God in times like these.
Remember, the Resurrection means we have the power of true life running through our spiritual veins, and that we were re-born to be difference makers.