In 1984, I accepted Christ’s life-giving, love-filled offer. I was so excited to realize I could stop trying to be perfect. I could put it all in God’s hands, confidently knowing he would grow me in my faith and, eventually, lead me home to eternity with him.
There have been stumbles and face plants along the way, but thankfully, God has continually picked me up, dusted me off, and placed me back on the narrow path of growing in his will and his way…
Then in February of 2020, my circumstances became exceptionally challenging. My best friend of 39 years unexpectedly died, my brother sustained a traumatic brain injury, my husband and I had COVID for Christmas, and we’ve since lost at least a dozen friends to its ravages. Simultaneously, in my eyes, our beloved democracy was under attack by extremists.
The continuous stress made it extremely challenging to trust God, and far too easy to think I had to fix everything on my own. Unfortunately, I began to suffer from ever-worsening anxiety, depression, and fear. It pushed me to the brink and, consequently, as a salty, opinionated Irish girl, has led to some less-than-grace-filled discussions.
Thankfully, Ben’s message reminded me that Christian life is not about fixing this ravaged, failing world and worrying about whether Christianity is “winning” the culture war or not. It IS about being the hands, feet, and voice of Christ and spreading his message of salvation through faith in the One True God to save as many lost souls as possible, especially in the midst of chaos. That’s why we’re here.
(In this scripture, Jesus is speaking about his disciples.)
John 17:20-23 NIV
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Ben stated, “Focusing on and obeying Jesus is like a bright light shining in the world, country, and our culture. But when we become politicized, we simply add to the darkness of this lost world.” So, instead, I suggest we take the apostle Paul’s words to heart and stop worrying about how “wrong” others are and, instead:
1 Corinthians 9:22-24
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
Ask yourself: Has your need to express your opinions about the state of the world and our country brought anyone to Christ? Or have they alienated them from him and you? And, finally, what is it God tells us is the right path to take as his disciples?
Put down your fear, anger, and anxiety—they are not from God.
Pick up your Bible daily and do as this song suggests:
Find a Group and connect with other Christ-followers regularly.
Spend time daily in prayer.
Lord, thank you for bringing us this message, at this moment in our church’s and country’s history. Thank you for using it to provide me with real and growing relief from anxiety and depression through your Word and this message. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.
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