By Buddy Smith
I believe that God is changing the world through the individual and collective witnesses of His people. There is only one answer for the darkness that surrounds and threatens to overpower us, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This invading darkness gives us many opportunities to publicly stand for a Christian worldview and thus offer the only real hope for mankind.
However, our responsibility as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ must begin with our call to personally live out our faith before the world, or else we will lose the authenticity of our witness to a watching and waiting world. We must take full advantage of the methods and platforms of standing for Christ, but first comes the all important aspect of personal holiness.
There are a number of safeguards to keep our actions in check with our personal holiness. First, our actions must be motivated by love. Jesus established His church to both proclaim and to demonstrate the love of God in tangible ways. We must answer the question, am I showing the reality of that love in my relationships? Second, our actions must be done unto the Lord. Jesus said that when we serve others, we are in reality serving Him. Do my actions reflect the nature of the living God?
Third, our actions should be for the benefit of others. Do my actions intend to benefit my fellow man? Fourth, our actions should be for the glory of God. Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). He was speaking of the cross but it also applies to our making His glory the aim of our actions.
What could God do with a spiritually awake people? D.L. Moody said, “Give me 10 men who love only God and hate only sin, and I will change the world.”
The power of prayer is too often overlooked or totally underestimated in the life of the individual believer and in the body of Christ as a whole. We must not allow that oversight to continue.
“You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed,” said A. J. Gordon, pastor of
Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall once began a U.S. Senate session with this prayer: “O Lord, forgive us for thinking our prayer is a waste of time, and help us to see that without prayer, our work is a waste of time.” Prayer is critical to the success of any endeavor the Christian undertakes to be salt and light in our culture.
When you are knowledgeable on the issues and aware of things going on in our culture, you are in a privileged position to make a difference in your community. In our time, there’s no excuse for ignorance.
More information is more accessible through more avenues than ever before — print, the Internet, television, Christian radio. The concerned citizen can learn what’s going on.
The deeply concerned and well-informed Christian may also be in a position to motivate others to get involved in the issues of our times. You can urge your church to be involved by addressing the moral issues as they are debated in the public arena. Certainly a church should not endorse or attack a candidate for political office. But as the church brings moral issues to the forefront, its godly influence is enhanced in every other facet of the public forum.
Finally, we are called not to success measured by man’s yardstick, but to faithfulness measured by God’s standard. Chuck Colson said, “It is dangerous and misguided policy to measure God’s blessing by standards of visible, tangible, material ‘success.’”
I am learning that often the evidence of God’s blessing will not always be discernable to us at the instant He bestows it upon us. We are called to be people of faith and faithfulness. The book of Job emphasizes that God’s blessings may be present even when the world’s yardstick says we’ve failed. The crucifixion of Jesus is the most telling illustration of this truth; as the world and Satan thought God had utterly failed, He was in fact accomplishing the redemption of mankind.
Smith is an elder in the Mississippi Conference and assistant to the chairman at the American Family Association, a family advocacy group based in Tupelo.