“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Lately, I’ve been struggling about the state of the world. The instability; the volatileness, the division and fixation on negativity.
I recently contracted Covid 19 and despite the physical toll it took on my body; my mental state suffered blows as I found myself isolated, drowning in the devastation of the disaster happening in real time in Afghanistan. My husband and I don’t agree with forced vaccinations which means we face the possibility of relocating from the state we love to one with more liberties.
Fuming, I scanned for solace by flipping through channels and found none. It seems wherever I turned, there was no respite.
Then, I felt a familiar tug in my heart, “Turn off the television. Turn to me. Focus on me.” The Holy Spirit flashed a picture of Jesus, smiling, holding out His hand.
It’s difficult to admit but all I could think was, “Wow. Jesus sure looks ignorant right now. Doesn’t He see what’s going on?”
Guilt flooded my heart. Next came the shame.
“What kind of Jesus lover would think a thought like that?” I berated myself.
“Someone who hasn’t been keeping their eyes on me.” Was the instant response I received.
It’s pretty fascinating to share a real relationship with the Lord because for a long time, religion made me feel like I had to be perfect to be in relationship. I’ve noticed in my conversations my authenticity doesn’t provoke His anger. In my experience, He simply points to the ‘better’ thing.
When I found myself complaining about the spirit of division infusing today’s culture, this is what I received from Him:
“What are you doing to unite? Is your heart open? Or have you put up a wall? Are you agreeing with the temperature of the room or are you changing it? My people have my Spirit within them. This means they’re designed to be counterculture.”
God sure doesn’t mess around.
I know you’ve heard this verse a million times, which is why I want you to really marinate in the words…
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Consider this: it takes real discipline to not think, speak or listen to what most everyone around is ingesting.
Wouldn’t you agree that not enough people (yes, even Christians!) actually practice this verse? So in essence, if I decide to apply it to my everyday experience, I truly won’t become part of the problem. I can impact the world by simply NOT being like the world. This is Jesus’ commission!
Listen to this verse:
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
The truth is, if we’re concerned with fitting in, we can’t stand out. At least, not in a way that will make a real difference.
Let’s give God’s word the time it needs to change our minds. We need to own up to the fact that pursuing God and becoming like Christ is not an endeavor we can outsource. The effort must come from us. We must give God our time. Our attention. Our devotion. He’s given us this life. Another chance. Another day. Don’t you think He’s worth it?
When your time here is finished, how will you approach God? Will you jump into the arms of a familiar friend? or will you share an awkward fist-bump moment?
Let’s pray for more of what God wants:
“Dear Heavenly Father,
You desire me and pursue me every day.
It’s been a while since I’ve experienced a miracle and my faith has flatlined.
Your Word has become so accessible, it feels common. But, Lord, when I look around me, it’s so obvious the wisdom contained within is not commonly used.
I repent for my neglect. Lord, let everything important to you, become crucial for me.
I repent for being distracted; for my over-consumption of the things of this world.
Today I redirect my focus onto you.
In a world full of division and hate, help me to see the lovely and bring it out…out of me and out of others.
Allow me to grasp every opportunity to bring Heaven to Earth. Use me to trumpet the truth of your goodness, tenderness and mercy and let the words of my mouth bring hearts to your feet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”