How Then Shall We Live?
How do we live as followers of Christ in a culture that is rapidly becoming anti-Christ? Last week I was asked to speak to at a rehabilitation group dealing with addictions. For six weeks Dutch clients are sent to South Africa to work on their recovery. The director is trying to introduce both a spiritual and service side to their recovery.
But for the first time in my ministry I found myself speaking to group where the majority had no faith or even anti faith. You could sense and physically see manifestations of anger in some toward what was been shared. As I ended the time with comments and questions I heard painful stories of their past and even church experiences that left them angry toward God or even denying His existence.
As I drove home I pondered the experience and asked the Father how do we live in the midst of a culture where what happened is the norm? Here are a few thoughts that came to mind:
- Secure in Him – Followers of Christ must find their security in the perfect love of God the Father. As we become the minority, our identity can’t be determined by what the crowd thinks of us. It must be rooted in a love shown to us in the Father’s gift of Jesus and His precious blood. This blood offers us forgiveness, healing and restores us to the Father’s arms, giving us security throughout our lives. The apostle Paul ministered in every town and city as the minority and yet what gave him boldness and courage was a love that he could never be separated from his Lord. “…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of the Father that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:39.
- See with The Father’s Eyes – As I was speaking to the Dutch clients I could see red angry rising in some. I prayed for the Father to show me His heart for these broken individuals. So I could see past their resistance into the pain and the protective layers covering their wounded souls.
Too easily we can run from these encounters or become defensive. But behind the facades are hurting children created in the image of God who need His love. If the Father demonstrated His love to me in the midst of my sin and rebellion I am called to have a patient love like His (Romans 5:8).
Our secular world needs to see the Father’s love pouring out of us serving even those who hate and despise what we stand for. This was how the early church transformed their culture as the hated minority. They loved the poor, the sick, the broken, their persecutors showing the supernatural love of Christ in them as in 1 Peter 3:15.
- Spirit Led – It is not our job to change hearts, rather the Spirit’s. We are called to be faithful to where the Spirit leads us and trust His power not ours to speak and love through us to the most hardened of hearts.
I was reminded of this after the meeting as I spoke with some who wanted to talk more. One person asked if I thought his kids would every forgive him and if he could ever forgive himself. This opened up a door to share about the source of all forgiveness. After this conversation I was told that just a few days earlier this person voiced his utter distain for God.
I leave you with Paul’s amazing words as one who lived and ministered as the minority and left the results up to the Spirit of God:
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that you faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)
This is how we should live!
Wow, Tim, such a good and true word. I will pray for those men, that they would come to Jesus and be healed in his love! Can they watch the Chosen as part of their recovery?
Your word’s reminded me why I am a MS public school teacher. I can only love the students through the eyes of Jesus and in the power of His Spirit. It’s comforting to know that even Paul did his work with trembling sometimes.
You and Patty are in my prayers as God continues to use you and Oceans for the healing of the nations! Thank you for the pertinent reminders!