As we face the uncertainty of our times. I write to encourage you with the words of Jesus who warned His disciples in Matthew 10:16, 17a:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard against men . . . .”
The world has not changed! To make our way in such a world requires that we be innocent–refusing to involve ourselves in sin–but we cannot afford to be naïve.
Twenty years ago, an estimated one million people were brutally murdered over the course of one hundred days in the Rwandan genocide. I still remember seeing a photograph of the blood-smeared walls of a small church where its entire congregation perished. The story that accompanied that picture described how the members of a church had gathered together to give support to one another. As they were meeting, a bloodthirsty mob intent on killing entered the church. The mob demanded that the congregation identify fellow members who belonged to the Tutsi minority (the principle target of the genocide.) The church refused to turn them over as one young girl stood up to the mob and challenged them to not go through with what they were intent on doing. The crowd responded by killing everyone in the church. Sadly, not all churches stood so boldly. There were other churches during that awful time who turned over their Tutsi brethren to save themselves.
I cannot say whether the love and courage demonstrated by the young girl and her church later impacted any of those who carried out the butchering of innocence that day. What I can say is that hearing the story and seeing the blood-smeared walls very much impacted and convicted me to evaluate my faith. Would I have the courage to stand in the love of Christ as that young girl did? (Would you?)
Too often Christians wrongly confuse naivety with innocence–choosing to insulate themselves from the rest of the world. Yet God has gifted us with the Scriptures to equip us to deal effectively–even sacrificially–with a sin sick world. Consider and be blessed by the wisdom of II Timothy 3:16-17,
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
To serve God well and to love our neighbors as He would have us do, requires that we invest ourselves into knowing and living out the Scriptures daily.
So how are we to strengthen our faith as we live out our lives in a crumbling world?
- Faith steadfastly refuses to doubt God’s goodness as it remembers . . . “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son . . . . “ (John 3:16)
- A steadfast faith gives thanks to God for the miracle of redemption . . . “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.“ (I John 4:10)
- A maturing faith depends on God’s Spirit and His Word to provide godly wisdom . . . “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.” (James 1:5)
- A strengthened faith refuses to bow down to fear . . . “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me . . . .” Psalm 23:4
All to His Glory!