“Surviving in a Wicked World”Categories: Christian Living, Encouragement, Joshuah Ellis
One day, this past week, my wife went to pick up our kids from school and as they were getting in the Swagger Wagon (minivan), my middle son (age 5) started telling my wife how they had spent time at school that day practicing getting under their desks to hide from “a bad man.” My oldest (age 8) added his experience, which involved finding a place to hide in the classroom and being very quiet. They obviously didn’t understand fully what they were doing, but upon hearing this, names like Sandy Hook and Columbine instantly invaded my mind, and to be honest, my heart sank. Then I got to thinking about the election and the future of the nation in which my kids will grow up. My heart sank deeper. Then, I started thinking about the social climate of the country and all of the animosity that is so present today. My heart hit the floor.
Why is there so much hate, anger, and evil and how are we supposed to endure it? How am I, as a Christian trying my best to remain faithful, supposed to be able to finish my race, love my wife, and lead my family to God in a time and culture that seems to be working against me every moment of every day? Here are a few things I thought of and I hope they help you as well.
1. Remember that this is not the first time Christians have been opposed by society. We often want to start our sentences with “well in today’s time…” The truth is, though, the world has always been bad. Since the flood, God’s people have always been outnumbered. Noah was one of 8 to escape the flood (Genesis 7:13). Only a remnant of God’s people survived the captivity (Ezra 9:15), and narrow is the way that leads to salvation (Matthew 7:13-14). What we are experiencing is not new. The circumstances might be different, but the struggle is the same.
2. Remember that hardship gives you the opportunity to rely on God more. I’m sure it was lousy for the Israelites to have to eat manna every day for 40 years. I’m sure it was hard on them to have to collect food each day without being able to store up and take ownership of their own well-being. While that might have been hard, it sure taught them how to rely on God because they didn’t have another option. Maybe the uncertain nature of our lives on this earth is meant to cultivate a strong dependence on God and an anticipation for the life to come. Trials have value (James 1:2). The question is: will you let them be valuable to you?
3. Remember that this world is not your home. We work hard to make our lives on earth pleasurable. We work hard in school, get jobs, and cultivate relationships. It is hard not to constantly strive toward the goal of earthly happiness. The problem here is that this life is not our endgame. Whether you are among the righteous who will be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) or the wicked who will suffer His judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:8), you are not staying here! This makes it easier to rely less on what this world has to offer whether it be good or bad. Our citizenship lies elsewhere.
4. Remember that a pleasant life is not promised. Perhaps we think that it is a given that if we work hard, make good choices, treat people with kindness, and are good people that we will be rewarded with a happy and pleasurable life. Where does it say that in the Bible? It doesn’t. In fact, it is more likely that as Christians, we will suffer more than we will enjoy peace. (John 15:19; Luke 12:53). If we expect life to be fair, we will always be disappointed. That is not to say that our lives can’t be enjoyable, but there are no guarantees.
5. Remember God is in control! When the Israelites were dragged off in chains, God was in control. When Isaac was on the altar, God was in control. When the world was flooded, God was in control. When Nero, Hitler, Bin Laden and every other political leader in history rose to power, God was in control. When the Messiah was broken and bloodied on the cross, God. Was in. Control. That is not about to change. It is not the responsibility of the world, the government, or the goodness of man to ensure that we get to heaven. God does that. “Choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve.” Will it be that which will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10) or He who created?
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