Last night, I did something I haven’t done in a long time…watch the news. If you want a fast track to a depressed life, watch the news. Nothing positive. Nothing. And it amazes me that something founded on negativity, cynicism, and reporting everything bad about our country generates enough viewers to remain on TV. Maybe I shouldn’t be amazed. It is really a testament to the state of our culture.
But I realized something as I was watching the news…the time is now. It is time Christians. Our culture…our world needs to see something different. Our culture is decaying right in front of us. We desperately need to step up and show the world something new. Something Fresh. Something like…Jesus.
In a culture that is becoming increasingly “hostile” towards Christianity, this is not grounds for us to fade quietly into the night. It is grounds for us to stand up. It is grounds for us to show Jesus to the world more passionately. I believe with all my heart that if the culture were one of us, she would be groaning. Groaning because she does not like the state she is in. She is wounded. Broken. Dirty. In desperate need of a cleansing. In desperate need of a purging. In desperate need of something positive and true to grab hold of her and pull her out of the muck and mire.
I want to write a letter to Christians sharing my heart with you. I want to relay some thoughts the Spirit has shared with me.
The time is now.
The time is now…to stop allowing cynicism to characterize our words and thoughts.
Cynicism is decaying our culture at an exponential rate. Every conversation is negative. Message boards. News stations. Lunch conversations. Water cooler talks. Too many conversations are used as a weapon to tear down others. Too many hearts are filled with negativity. It is time for followers of Jesus to stop being so cynical. It is time for our speech to breathe life into others. It is time for our thoughts to be pure. It is time to heed the words of Paul when he says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth.” It is time for us to build up our leaders. Even if we do not agree with them. It is time for us to be different. To reverse the curse cynicism has placed on our culture. It is more destructive than we realize. Much more.
We are different, church. Our leaders are in their respective positions by the grace of God (Romans 13). Why are we not praying for our President instead of bashing him? Why are we not praying for our church leaders? Men and women are created in the image of God. There is no place for us to look at God’s creation cynically. God’s creation is good. The movement of God in the world is real. Alive. Let’s stop all this negativity and cynicism. The world needs to see something different. The time is now.
The time is now…to take our mission seriously.
We have a message that the world needs to hear. We have a message of redemption. A message of hope. A message that brings life. Yet we refuse to deliver it to the world. Shame on us. I am convinced the world is desperate to hear a message of stability.
We must start to view our days and weeks through the lenses of the gospel. Our co-workers need to hear the message of salvation and redemption. Our peers need to hear the message. Our friends and family need to hear. Every person needs to hear this message. It is time to share it.
It is time, church. Tomorrow is not promised. We have today. The time is now for us to penetrate darkness. We are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). If we will collectively decide to step into darkness, this is the promise…darkness will go away. It must. Darkness must leave when light is present. It is time to stop hiding this little light of ours under a bush.
It is time to stop wading around in the pool of endless church activities and programs. The days of playing church and valuing church attendance over seeking the Lord must end. The world needs to see Jesus. We need to get out of the pool where everything is easy and everyone looks like us. Stop patting ourselves on the back because our pews are full. The time is now for the world to see Jesus and the fullness of His glory.
The time is now…to stop passively pursuing holiness and perfection.
No, perfection and holiness are not attainable through human effort. Yes, God expects us to pursue both. Praise God the gospel says we are a new creation through Jesus Christ.
But here is the deal…I encounter too many Christians passively pursuing holiness. It is not something that drives actions and decisions. It is not something many Christians run towards. God commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Different. Distinct. Set apart. Use whatever synonym you prefer. The truth remains.
The world needs to see us passionately running towards holiness. Should our actions not be different from those around us? The world doesn’t need to see us approving of shows and movies that blatantly mock the standard of God. Movies, shows, music, and conversations that mock the very things God values have no place in our lives. The time is now for us to put these things away and show the world holiness is more important than a few laughs or a couple hours of entertainment.
The time is now…to start loving one another.
The world doesn’t need to see more hate. Turn on the TV. Hate is everywhere. The world needs to see love. It is love that will draw the world to the glory of God (John 13:35). It is love that will cover over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
And not some false form of conditional love…the world needs to see radical, unconditional love. The world is longing for this. I believe it. We need to love our spouses sacrificially. We need to love our children unconditionally. We need to love our parents passionately.
The time is now for Christians to come together. Stop bickering. Stop bashing. Stop dividing. Love doesn’t mean we agree on everything. But it does mean we refuse to travel down any road that leads us to throw another person or group under the bridge. The time is now for us to embrace, not condemn. Show the world the glory of God through our unity. Not our uniformity. Not our unanimity. Our unity. The world needs to see this.
The time is now…to stop recklessly accumulating earthly possessions.
The world doesn’t need to see us get excited about purchasing a new car on Saturday, then be completely apathetic about worshipping the God who gave us the means to buy the car on Sunday.
The world doesn’t need to see us storing up piles of trinkets like a frantic kid in a toy store. It is time for us to start seeing our money through the lenses of the gospel. Yes, our money. It is time to push back darkness with our resources.
The time is now…to stop drowning in addictions and struggles.
God’s intention is for us to have life abundantly (John 10:10). Life to the fullest. It is not God’s intention for us to drown in addictions and moral failures. These are not who we are. It is time to fight. It is time to show the world God’s overcoming power. It is time to experience the life Jesus promised. It is time to show it the world. Stop buying the lie that says there is no way to have a meaningful life. Stop buying the lie you can’t overcome. The world needs to see that God’s strength and might annihilate any worldly power or struggle. They are no match. The world needs to see this.
The world needs to see that God’s strength and might annihilate any worldly power or struggle.TWEET THIS!
The time is now…to pray fervently for God to revive our hearts.
All of this is a waste if God is not actively working to revive our own hearts. Too many of God’s people want God to ignite a revival in our world…but they have no desire for God to ignite a revival in their own hearts. Revival starts with us. God must set our hearts on fire for Him.
This will not happen by more effort or work on our part. This will only happen through a miracle of the Spirit. If we pray for God to heal our hearts and set us on fire for Him, I believe it will happen. But we must pray. Individually. Collectively. Constantly. We must pray. We must let go of ourselves. We must fall on our knees…and pray. The time is now. The world needs a revival. But it must start with us. It must begin in the heart of the individual.
The time is now. With all sincerity I write this letter. I hope you will join with me in living out these words.
Your friend and brother,
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!