*Posted by Joe Wooddell
There are lots of things wrong with the world today (fiscal cliffs, school shootings, dictators, etc.), but the only one I can really change is me, and there’s always something to work on. Too often I’m not willing to die to myself in order to make the world better. By God’s grace I do okay at times, but probably like you I know I could do more (and better). I look out for me too much, and am often unwilling to sacrifice for others.
It’s silly to talk about how lost people (i.e. unbelievers) are the problem. We should expect them to live like lost people. If we want to make the world better, we should help them to become believers and to live like it. If everyone who calls himself a Christian would live like it, the world would be a better place. That is, if the “Church” were the preservative, the flavoring, and the illuminator (i.e. “salt” and “light”) it’s supposed to be, things would be different. As usual, I’m not talking about a theocracy. I’m simply talking about people who claim to have been changed by the Spirit of God actually living like it. Okay, fair enough, it’s not only my fault, but the only person I can change is me.
If I were living more biblically I’d live more frugally, and I’d probably also be wealthier. Once again, I’m not in the least promoting a “health/wealth” gospel. Rather, I’m talking about principles for living found in Proverbs. That is, I’d put off today’s pleasures for tomorrow’s benefits, I’d invest wisely, and I’d turn a better profit. Then I’d use it for the glory of God, as well as store up for future mishaps.
If I were living more biblically I’d do more little things that make sense, and which would be helpful for the world. I’d figure out ways (or read and study about how) to share the gospel more effectively. I’d figure out ways (or read and study about how) to make conservative principles more understandable and attractive. I wouldn’t compromise them. I’d just learn better how to share them with others, and tell why they’re better than the alternatives. I’d smile, be more gracious (especially to those closest to me), be healthier, more patient, have a deeper, more regular time with the Lord, and exemplify the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and biblical love (1 Cor. 13). All these things are already part of my life, but they’d be more a part of my life, more consistent, more profound. In the end, I’d probably find myself thinking less about all this stuff and it would all be more natural.
Our country and the world is a mess, but to blame lost people is like blaming water for running downhill. Running downhill is what water does, and lost people tend to live like the devil. Granted, many of them are still (inconsistently) obeying Natural Law while denying the Lawgiver. These people are “good,” and they do “good” things, but they are not the answer. Saved people should be different. I should be different. I am different in many ways. I know I’m “saved,” but I need to be more sanctified. God’s Spirit does the sanctifying, but my job is to put myself in a position where it’s more likely to happen, and to make the free, responsible, disciplined choices that facilitate it. I can choose to accept or reject His work in my life. I make choices every day that lead me toward or away from a more sanctified, holy lifestyle.
I am, however, a premillennialist. Things are going to grow worse until Christ returns and sets up His millennial reign, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be pockets of “revival” and positive change throughout the country and the world. (It’s no different from saying I know I’m dying, but I can still exercise and eat healthy and have extended times of relative flourishing.) God help me in 2013 to make the tough, self-sacrificial choices that will make me, my family, my church, my place of employment, my country, and the world a better place. God help all of us who name the name of Christ to do the same, to stop blaming others, and to change what we can: ourselves.