Now More Than Ever
You watch the coverage of a presidential rally and the candidate's supporters and opponents taunting and screaming at each other. You scroll through a friend's post on social media about a recent tragedy and read comment after comment filled with anger and despair. Your eight-year-old son asks if kids ever have to be soldiers in wars.
Confusion, conflict, and controversy surround us and information and opinions about it are pervasive. You might be caught up in it all, weighed down by it all, infuriated by it all, or so turned off you're apathetic.
What is the right response for a follower of Christ? How should we think, act, and speak? Each individual must seek Bible-saturated, Spirit-controlled reactions and responses to the realities of our nation and world. This passage from 1 Peter is an excellent starting place:
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (4:7–11).
Living with Love in Mind
"The end of all things is at hand." While we don't know when Christ will return and when His kingdom will be established on earth as it is in heaven, we see nations and their people racked with the effects of sin and we long for Him to come quickly. Yet the end is not yet here, so how then should we live?
We should "be self-controlled and sober-minded" in our prayers. There has been an intense focus on prayer within Revive Our Hearts this year, and no focus could be more appropriate and powerful. Prayer involves worship, humility, obedience, submitting to God, and seeking His perspective and purpose. We must be serious and disciplined to pray in those ways. When we do, there will be results in our lives and in our world.
We should "keep loving one another earnestly." The word "keep" is key. While we may not always feel love, we must cause or enable love to continue. Loving intensely will not look the same in every situation. But love—that intense love demonstrated to us by Christ—should mark our every word and action. Every.
We should "show hospitality to one another without grumbling." This is both a practical, day-to-day response as well as an overarching truth. Our words and actions should be hospitable—respectful and winsome—even when they may oppose another person's beliefs and actions. And we shouldn't complain . . . period. But if you stumble in this area, then recognize what you're doing and stop through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We should serve others with the gifts and strength God has given us. There is a response that God will call you to and equip you for in the midst of this tumultuous time. In your own strength and power, you will most likely fail. But with the gifts and strength God provides, you will be enabled to act and serve. The results of that action will surely vary, but your part is to believe and serve within the power of Christ.
We should speak God's words—without forgetting prayer, love, and a lack of complaining. If you are going to speak God's words, you must first know God's words. So read, study, meditate on, pray, and then speak the Word of God. That is where power, purpose, and peace will be found.
So how should we respond to the world around us?
Now more than ever, we must consider others before ourselves and be marked by humility.
Now more than ever, we must act with honor and integrity.
Now more than ever, we must speak honestly and respectfully.
Now more than ever, we must seek truth. We must know and live out God's Word.
Now more than ever, we must seek God and His perspective first.
Where will you start? What must you stop? What will you continue?
In order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:11).
By Heidi Jo Fulk
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