“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.'”
Each time I open the paper or turn on the news, there is some recent tragedy, scandal or calamity that has befallen the Earth and I am suddenly reminded of the grave state of the world we live in.
My heart becomes remarkably heavy as I see story after story telling of the tragedy, hate, and death that have left the earth utterly broken. I ask myself, “How did we get here?” I look back through history and see that this is really nothing new.
Has there ever been a time where the world was free from conflict? Free from death, terror and injustice? Since the time the first sin was committed in the Garden, I can think of none. The Earth has seen some incredibly dark times.
It often seems that as a whole, we take one step forward and one step right back, trying to muscle change, peace and reconciliation by our own strength, but real progress never comes. It is no wonder that for years we have created and idolized heroes, both real and fictional. Who is going to save us? Certainly we cannot save ourselves. Even in the Garden, when man was living in harmony with God and one another, death having not yet entered the world, we still wanted more. We wanted to be like God. The world is clearly not safe in our hands.
If you’re anything like me, if you see a problem, you immediately want to fix it. The TV remote doesn’t work? Let’s take it apart. TV is fuzzy? Knock it around a little bit. Generally, this doesn’t work out so well for me; the remote becomes more broken than before and the picture on my TV worsens. Our world is in a very similar position.
I see so much effort and energy spent fighting the issues whether it is on the steps of Congress, my Facebook newsfeed, or the comments section of some new controversial article. So much of it is incredibly misdirected.
We try and try to pass new laws, fight new wars, take everything apart and put it back together, but fall short each time due to our corrupt motives and selfish desires. We simply do not have what it takes.
I recently read a quote that spoke volumes to me: “There is only one issue in the whole Earth worth mentioning, it is sin. There is only one solution to the sin of the entire world worth mentioning, it is Jesus Christ crucified, The Son of God.” How true this statement is! Jesus Christ came to Earth to fight the god of this world, Satan, with what I believe are the most powerful weapons known to man: truth, love, and grace in the form of His death on the cross. He took all of our sin — each little white lie, every impure thought or intention, every iota of unrighteousness that fills our hearts — and placed it upon His shoulders. He was shamed by His own creation and died for the ones who mocked Him. Before Christ grabs ahold of our hearts, we are not His friends; we are His enemies, yet He died for us still. This is truly a sacrificial love. This is a love that is now available for us to receive and to give through Christ’s resurrection and the power of His Holy Spirit. These weapons are ours and we are called to use them.
Maybe rather than looking for more ways to spend our time and energy fighting the sin of the world, we need to spend our time and energy getting more of our Savior, asking Him to fill us with His weapons of righteousness. You see, He has already overcome the sin of the world! For me, I pray that God grant me the wisdom and humility to rest upon the work of the cross as well as the strength to deny myself and pick up my own cross to follow Christ. Our world is at war. What weapons will you use to fight it?
Brett Riley is the K-Life Area director for Sheridan.