How Believers Can Counter an Ungodly Society
Believers are followers of Christ, the Word Incarnate who is, in fact, God come to earth to show us how to live. If we believe this as we say we do, then we should be living the life He intends for us, even in these difficult times. God’s grace does not promise to sweep away our troubles. It promises to provide everything we need to overcome them as we live lives that honor our great Provider.
The fact that the world is turning away from Him and against those of us who love Him can be no surprise. It has been that way since the original sin. Man has often suffered the consequences of his rebellion. If that is true and God is a righteous God, then how are we even still here? Enter God’s incomparable and unmerited love and grace.
A friend recently remarked that the problem we suffer is “systemic sinfulness.” If that doesn’t describe our world today, then I’m not sure what does. I draw a comparison of our society today to that of the ancient Israelites who abandoned God. Like the Israelites of old, we have erected altars to false gods all around us and worship them in thought and deed. Not all of us, but enough of us to bring us to where we are today. So, what are believers to do about it? Again, the ancients offer a model: Repent, seek God’s face, and return to Him in all our ways. Believers today can do that on behalf of the nation, just as the Israelites did before us. In one sense, I would say it like this: Instead of complaining about what the other side is doing, we must start doing what we should be doing. In this, I speak of both the personal and corporate “we.”
And what is it that we should be doing? We must live our life in the moment, of course, constantly seeking God’s will and living in obedience. But I think that in this moment, four behaviors are especially important.
Prayer: We can begin as the Israelites did, on our knees before God, beginning with prayer for the sin in our own life, asking God to judge, forgive, and cleanse us. God can work with a broken and contrite heart, and we can each be broken over our own life. Allowing God to change us first, to heal us first, and to strengthen us first prepares us to stand for the nation, appealing to the Creator to redeem His creation.
Truth: We can speak truth at every opportunity, not shying away out of fear or intimidation. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn implored the citizens of Soviet Russia to “live not by lies.” It is an exhortation we can take to heart today. The power of truth cannot be overestimated. Truth is a force, but we are responsible for wielding it.
Discipleship: Living with intent, integrity, and dignity are beacons of light to the dark world that surrounds us. We can do this in our families, teaching them with purpose, modeling right attitudes and moral behavior, deepening the intimacy of our own relationship with the Lord, teaching values that honor our faith and extend it into future generations. We can live this way in public as well, being true to our belief and standing with integrity. We can be intentional and prayerful about our relationships and interactions.
Love: We can do all of this with love for our fellow man, who desperately needs it. I am not talking about the squishy kind of love that refuses to be honest, rather the bold kind that loves so strongly it will speak truth in a way that others will listen to. If we simply rant, complain, and accuse then we are just part of the chaos. But, if we care about the person and speak so that it is sensible to the head and compelling to the heart, then we stand out from the chaos and give God a chance to translate.
In Live Not By Lies, Rod Dreher speaks of Ketman as a coping mechanism for people of faith. “Ketman” is a Persian word used to describe one who says they believe in Islam publicly, while rejecting it internally. It may be a coping mechanism, but not a very good one, I fear. Living that way is a recipe for double mindedness, confusion, and defeat. We are better served, and better serve our fellow man, by being truthful, faithful, and loving.
The world is a mess, and it is not a unique condition in our history. When will that change? Only when the hearts of men change. What will change the hearts of men? Only one thing, the love and power of God made real in our lives. What can I do about that today? Pray, and live the life God desires of me with integrity, boldness, and humility before Him
God is waiting to extend His grace and mercy to our world. Let’s live lives that give Him reason to honor us with His gift.