I believe the Lord wants us to get our hearts ready for spiritual battle. Yes, He’s concerned about the practical problems of the world because behind every problem there are people. Real people. People He created. People He loves. People with whom He desires to be in relationship with on a daily, 24/7 basis. So it’s critically important to engage the world and do what we can to alleviate suffering, bring comfort, and allow the Lord to use us to accomplish these things on His behalf.

But He is especially concerned about the condition of our hearts. He’s concerned about what motivates you and me. He’s concerned about what gets you out of bed in the morning. He’s just as much, if not more, concerned about why you care about something as He is with what you care about.

When I examine my life, I’m often struck by the fact that I’m all too often more in love with the heartbeat of the culture than I am with the heart of God Himself. If this weren’t true, I wouldn’t get upset when I receive a stinging e-mail criticizing me for something I believe the Lord wanted me to say — the comment at King’s College, for example. If I truly cared more about God’s ways than the world’s ways, I wouldn’t grow anxious or despondent when my candidate of choice doesn’t win an election or when someone or something infringes on my religious liberties. Of course setbacks of this nature disappoint us, but they shouldn’t paralyze us.

Let me ask you what I asked the students of King’s College: Are you ready?

Are you ready to engage the culture with winsomeness and with great patience and confidence? Are you ready to endure the slings and arrows of both friend and foe, knowing that you stand solidly on principles that are forever, on words that are rooted in Jesus Christ? Are you ready to play — even if you’re quite sure you’re not going to “win” — at least not win according to the world’s standards?

And here is an especially hard question: Are you ready to play Jesus’ way — to see those living outside God’s will not as opponents to conquer but as people loved by God — people who need to experience His love, possibly even through you?

If you’re anxious and worried about the culture, do you doubt that the Lord has His hand firmly on the wheel?

Are you ready to examine what only you and the Lord can see?

Are you ready to “do business” with the state of your own heart, mind, and soul?

At the very outset, you should know that this isn’t a book about what’s going badly in the culture, but rather one about how Christians should respond to it. Are we doing the right things for the right reasons? Are we more concerned with shaping the debate than we are with shaping and refining our own attitudes toward the world? I’m reminded of the old song “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Do you remember it? “Let there be peace on earth,” the song begins, “and let it begin with me.” Or perhaps we should consider the words of a song more familiar to today’s culture: “I’m looking at the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.”(1)

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Sometimes we’re more concerned about God making right the wrongs of the world than we are with cooperating with Him to help us first right the wrongs of our own hearts.

If we’re going to help win people to the heart of Jesus, it’s critical that our own hearts are wedded to His.

Change begins inside our hearts. This is the message Jesus pounded into the heads of the religious leaders of his day.