Let Us Change the World Rather than be Changed by the World
- Janet Thompson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2017 3 Mar
Every parent has heard the excuse, “But everyone else is doing it.” I remember my parents saying something like, “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you too?” Sadly, today many kids and adults are jumping off the moral and spiritual cliff to fit in with the culture or they’re afraid to express beliefs that differ from the mainstream worldview.
We may want to pull the covers over our head and ignore the unrest in the world. But the parting words Jesus gave to His disciples regarding Christians’ place in the world, the Great Commission, reminds us there’s work to do:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
However, the last page in the Bible also foretells that the world will always have good and evil.
“Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” (Revelations 22:11)
I’m a vocal conservative Christian, which creates a firestorm in my public social media. I receive hateful, mean comments attacking my faith and some write with no regrets that they, “want to go to hell.” Others “believe there is no heaven.” “No Jesus.” “No Devil.” “Jesus isn’t returning.” “There are numerous religions. Jesus isn’t the only way.”
My heart breaks for these lost souls. The evangelist in me tries to share my testimony and John 3:16, assuring them they do not want to go to hell. We all have sinned and at one time followed the world’s ways, but there’s a better way to live. Sadly, I have to realize not everyone is going to choose heaven. So I present the glorious Good News, and if they won’t listen, I prayerfully dust the sand off my feet and move on (Mark 6:11).
The important thing is to not grow weary doing good. I’ve learned the hard way how to be a change agent in the world, while not letting the world change me. Maybe these points will help you too!
Use the Word of God
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)
Even unbelievers find it hard to argue with Scripture, and it usually stops the pushback. Jesus used Scripture when tempted by Satan in the desert. Paraphrase if you need to, but God’s Word applies to every area of life in every century (Heb. 13:8). God says, “My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:11 NLT). You never know when you might be planting a seed of thought in someone’s mind that God will use to change that person’s life.
Stay Civil and Polite but Stay Firm in Your Convictions
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)
Those caught up in the world’s cults, atheism, or alternate belief systems feel compelled to challenge us for our faith in Christ, and they have devised a mired of unkind words to call us. The hurt runs deep when it’s aimed at our Lord and Savior. So our first impulse is to engage in a debate. If you’ve ever tried arguing or reasoning with someone blinded by the world’s belief system, you know it’s usually futile. Your best answer is “This is what I believe because the Bible (or God or Jesus) tells me so.”
Other times, believers fall into the same trap the serpent used with Eve, “Did God really say…?” Lured by Satan away from their Christian foundation, many Christians, pastors, and churches try to walk the slippery slope with one foot in the Bible, and one foot in the world, heretically using Scripture to justify their split positions. Don’t condone or compromise. Remind them: Jesus didn’t come to sanctify the world’s ways, He came to save the world from its ways.
The World is in Darkness So Let Your Light Shine
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:18-20)
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
The world loves darkness. Yet into this dark world came Jesus, the Light of the world, and He has hidden His light in each believer’s heart. Our light must shine brightly, no flickering. When we enter a room, a social media conversation, a family or friendly gathering, work, play, as parents, grandparents, employers, employees... wherever life takes us... our light shines, even if we’re the only light for Jesus.
Not Everyone is Going to Like You
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)
If everyone agrees with you, get out of your comfort zone. We’re living in a lost world that is loudly anti-God and anti-Christian and influencing the next generation. We can’t be quiet. Our job as Christians is to be world-changers for Christ. We must worry more about what God thinks about us than what the world thinks. Our job is to put God back in the public square and reach the world with the love of Christ. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but God does. Be bold. Pray and ask God to give you a call, a mission, a public voice. Where does He want you to take action for Him? God has opened the door for revival, but He needs us to be His hands, feet, and voice.
Don’t Give Up!
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.’” (John 17:15-21)
We’ll never have a perfect world until Jesus returns, but as long as we have breath, we were saved to make a difference in the world.
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 18 books including, new release Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, and The Team That Jesus Built, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?, Dear God They Say It’s Cancer, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, and the Face-to-Face Bible study Series. She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet at: womantowomanmentoring.com.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: March 3, 2017