It seems that each week in the United States brings another school shooting, another round of senseless murders. But it is not just here—there are wars, murders and homicides around the world. Death is inevitable. When we peel back the layers of our society, it is not hard to see the cracks in the foundations. Our planet is being slowly destroyed. Our oceans and waters are becoming polluted. Our air is becoming toxic. The land and the food that it produces are poisoned and abused with chemicals.
When we stop and consider what is going on, when we take off our blinders and really look at the world’s condition, it is quite a worrying scene that unfolds. And all to what end?
There is something that we must realize when we look at this world. John 17:15-16 states that while we are “in” the world, we must NOT be “of” the world. This is such a fine line that we walk. So how are we doing on that path?
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 that we are to be ambassadors for Christ. We are representatives of a different country, a different culture, a different way of living and, most importantly, a different mindset. Romans 8:14 tells us that as God’s children, we are to be led by the Spirit of God. In theory, this sounds good and probably gives us good intentions and some notions of motivation. But if we are truly honest with ourselves, our circumstances and our motivations, what is it that we truly convey? What is it that we truly are seeking after?
Having motivation and good ideas and intentions doesn’t produce results. We cannot confuse emotions and good motives with results. We can easily fool ourselves into thinking that we are good Christians. Hence, the mighty warning in the book of Revelation about those who are called Laodiceans. It is NOT enough to go half-heartedly through this Christian life. If we do, we will get tangled up (2 Peter 2:20). What actions, what goals, what prayers are reflecting our way of life? Are we discouraged with where we find ourselves? Do we look back and realize that while we may have thought we were giving it our all, we were in reality just doing enough to squeak by?
We read the encouraging Scriptures which tell us that WE CAN overcome and make it into God’s Kingdom, into which He Himself has called us. But the amount of effort and zeal we put into this is left up to us (Matthew 13:8-9). We should never think that God hasn’t called each of us for a reason. That main reason being, He knows we can accomplish it, because He has ordained us to be successful. Again, it is based on how much effort we put in. Like anything in life, effort we put in affects what we will get out of it. If one’s attitude is negative, angry, self-serving, jealous, hateful, unkind and unmerciful, then that is what will be reaped (compare Romans 6:20-21).
When we really believe what the Bible has to say—meaning, when we stop fooling ourselves and really dig in and set our minds towards obedience, then that is when progress comes, both in our spiritual and physical life. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that when Christians seek God, turn from their evil ways and are obedient, then God forgives and heals, and then He is willing to hear our prayers. And what power comes from those prayers! In Mark 11:24 we find a mind-boggling example of how we should be praying. Jeremiah 33:3 reiterates God’s own words for us, as it is rendered in the New International Version: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Such an amazing opportunity and calling that is ours, individually and collectively!
Finally, we would encourage every reader to study Romans, chapter 12; to put his or her name in there; and to see where our lives stack up in comparison to what Paul is saying. Let’s make it personal. Because in the end, it is each of us who is personally responsible to God. We can continue being miserable because of sin or we can do the hard work NOW and reap happiness and a much better outcome in the future.