We sabotage ourselves when we ignore or reject God or try to define God on our own terms.
We’ve accepted the beguiling notion that little finite beings like ourselves can be the managers of life. We foolishly think that we’re in control.
When we sin against the vertical dimension of life (by ignoring God or playing God), we progressively disorient life on the horizontal. We choose fantasy over reality, thinking we can define reality and follow an individualized morality without consequence.
We act as if we are the captains of our fate and the masters of our soul. We turn the Creator’s good gifts (meant for our benefit) against ourselves by failing to honor Him as the Giver.
Just look around at the horrible mess we’ve made! Our homes are pervasively dysfunctional and broken, our police, judicial and prison systems are straining under unimaginable burdens. Our economy is out of control due to reckless and self-indulgent spending.
Our social programs are barely holding up (if they can get beyond their own dysfunctions). Our educational system is surviving at best under the strain of major philosophical and economic challenges due to intrusive government policies.
All of this has left pervasive feelings of emptiness and pessimism about the future.
Yet there is a growing hunger among younger people for what is real, lasting, hopeful, eternal and spiritual. I realize that you won’t find much of it among the crusty self-appointed intellectual custodians of the academy. But you will find it among their students. The students are tired of being stuffed into a culturally mandated, narrow, little world without windows!
All of this presents the Church of Jesus Christ with a great opportunity to speak truth into the confusion and the mess we’ve made of ourselves and our planet.
The bad news of our fallenness is the back-story to the good news of the gospel.
We need wisdom to speak truth to others because many forces remain at work to discredit what God has revealed. Mainstream media sources will continue to spread a propaganda-based, anti-God ideology disguised as news. Mainline denominations will take their cue from whatever they perceive to be the cultural mandates of the elite.
We’ll need courage and boldness tempered with wisdom, patience and redeeming love. We’ll need to follow the pattern of our Savior who humbled himself to love and serve us, not considering His equality with God something to leverage to His own advantage when opposed (See: Philippians 2:3-11).
As the culture moves further from God, we have an even greater opportunity live out the identity Jesus assigned when he said, “You are the salt of the earth. … “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14).
Jesus encouraged his followers to see themselves as “a town built on a hill” that “cannot be hidden.” He reminded His followers that when “people light a lamp” they don’t “put it under a bowl.” “Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15).
Application to the followers of Jesus? “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).