Every testimony I’ve ever heard starts out with some kind of mayhem. It is usually some kind of pandemonium that the world has created. Humanity does a fantastic job of creating conflict and chaos. We are experts at it. But, every testimony I hear eventually comes around to the phrase: “But then God stepped in…” Our world today is just out of control. There is somebody with an opinion everywhere you go. People are getting attacked for their beliefs and many are acting on their own whims and impulses.
I just want to simply remind everyone that God creates beauty and good things out of turmoil. Every testimony, including mine, has some complete turn in the other direction when things seemed lost. Stories in the Bible, again and again, show how God changes things when humanity least expects it, or He pulls through right when an individual has lost hope. The concept is that if we had it all figured out, there would be no need for any type of divine intervention. It seems that when we are at a loss or have nowhere else to go, God pulls off his most exciting miracles. Once you see that or experience that yourself, then you can see God in all of the other little things in life that He’s been doing all along. But, if we aren’t looking for it, we don’t see it, and we get stuck in the assumption that God is not always working in our lives.
We are not fighting battles between Democrats and Republicans, health care workers versus the general public, black versus white, though the Devil is keen to have us think that. Our fight is much bigger than that. In my experience with trials, the Devil likes to keep us in a “victim” mentality. Read: we are never satisfied, someone is always out to get us, our life is the most unfair, we aren’t getting what we deserve, or we have it so much worse than everyone else. That is such a dangerous view to park our minds in. I don’t say that lightly, because I’ve been there. The devil can be very crafty about leading us to believe those lies. Our battle is between forces of darkness and forces of light, between God and human sinful nature, between Satan and God’s ultimate victory over evil. If we are distracted with little things and bent on winning our Facebook arguments (for example), our mind is off of the big picture and off of God.
My point here is this: be careful of the “victim mentality.” It’s a mentality that creates conflict, stirs up resentment, involves assumption, and really hurts everyone involved. The mentality can be a part of a group of people or an individual. Hear me: “victim mentality” and “persecution/oppression” are two very different things, so don’t get those confused. This world is a very different place from the world my parents grew up in. We cater to people, we are angrier, and there is more entitlement everywhere. We all have a story and all have our own battles to fight. You don’t own the market of pain. It’s harder to be a strong, supportive, loving, grounded-in-Scripture type of Christian in this current world without feeling like things are falling through the cracks.
In the midst of all these smaller arguments, I think we forget that we need to be pointing to Christ. The Bible, by definition, is going to offend people. It is a dynamic and ever-relevant text that calls out sin for what it is. Even after all of these years, people still get angry over the text and try to disqualify it. The Gospel defends itself. God’s truth is not always received well because people don’t like being convicted and called out. We like to play God. We are quick to judge and slow to forgive with grace. Now, forgiveness does not mean excusing behavior. God’s grace does not mean you can go on doing whatever you want. We are to stand for God. We are to love others, but stand firm in our beliefs. The Gospel is life-changing. It alters our perception of this world. It evokes a heart transformation. Only God can do that. If someone has met Jesus but hasn’t been transformed, that person hasn’t truly met Jesus.
I’m not here to give my opinion on anything political. I’m not here to hit you over the head with my opinion on the state of the world. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a Christian and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m just here to remind my fellow Christians that God will have the last word. I want to remind each one (including myself) that what we are called to do is exemplify Christ in our actions and our behaviors. How do we do that? We follow the Bible and its instruction. Where is your heart focused? Are you getting distracted by little things? Are you focusing on the world instead of God? God gives peace to his children because we all know the final outcome. We can have peace knowing that God is working behind the scenes. Are we actively trying to see God in the turmoil? Because, we know He is there. He’s changing one heart at a time, and changing the world as a result.
I hope that you’re seeking out God’s peace (not acquiescence or tolerance) that transcends all understanding instead of conflict. I hope you’re seeking God instead of your own purposes. You cannot be a follower of the world and what it teaches and also be a follower of Christ. You know why? Because the world is Satan’s domain. It’s his platform to twist and pervert the teachings of Christ. And so many fall for it. God will have the final say. God will ultimately have victory over evil. Focus on the victory in Christ and the healing He brings instead of the world’s flimsy satisfaction. I pray God gives you that quiet conviction which speaks for itself.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace…Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
(Speaking of non-believers) “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”