In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1: 4-5)
I work in a cemetery. When we are not preparing for and supervising funerals, there is mowing, weed-wacking, seeding, cleanup and all the little jobs people take for granted.
But there are often times to stop and reflect on life. So, the other morning, while waiting for a very large funeral procession to arrive, I had one of those special “moments of clarity”.
It had to do with the world around us and all that people expect out of life. And how much people expect from Christians. Specifically in the areas of counsel and comfort that the world looks to us to provide for them.
Because the vast majority of people around us are not saved in the Biblical sense. They do not have Christ living within them; they are not new creatures in Christ; they are not born again; they have no hope and are without God in this world.
That is the cold hard reality.
The False Promise of the Forbidden Fruit
Yet they live their lives seeking all the things that anyone would want. They seek to have all these things without Christ. That means, in the truest sense, that they are people who have no true hope beyond this life. They are spiritually “dead” and are facing the wrath of God.
Now that is hard to accept. It is hard because the world around us lives in absolute denial of that fact. They have carefully constructed a false existence that is totally independent of Christ. Films, literature and the media cover world-shattering events without the slightest thought to how all this plays out in the realm of eternal realities.
And yet they seek to have all the good things in life. Love, marriage, nice homes, solid 401K’s, vacations, kids, college educations, good clothes, good food, great health care, safe schools and neighborhoods and just a basically good life. The things we all want.
And, of course, they want to have all their emotional problems dealt with as well. To find solutions and medications to deal with a massive list of depressions and addictions. And believers are often called upon to help the young and old alike deal with these problems. To provide solutions for the “dead” to live as if they were “alive”. To provide solutions that don’t involve repentance and salvation in Christ.
And we try to do that. To help the world deal with problems directly caused by the basic sin nature of man. To help unbelievers cope with problems that only Christ Himself can solve in their lives. To combine sociology, psychology and science with Christianity. Mix it all up in a bag and stir it into a cold glass of water.
So, this is a great paradox. How the world struggles on hoping to have all that the world has to offer. Yet maintaining their unbelief. Living an illusion.
Like a blind man in a coal mine looking for a black cat that isn’t there.
A False Solution
There is a place for every believer to help others. We are called to do that. To show true love and kindness wherever we can. To meet the needs of those within our reach. And sometimes beyond our reach. To help fully, cheerfully, lovingly and discreetly.
This is not a denial of that calling and command. We must love whomever we are given opportunity to help and to do that according to God’s Word. This is often of a private and individual nature. And sometimes the church itself is involved in providing help and resources to people that need it.
But Christians are often led down the rabbit trail of trying to improve the world’s general ills while it remains in the wickedness of unbelief. We focus on curing the symptoms while ignoring the disease. Like a doctor unwilling to tell the patient he is dying of cancer. Unwilling to make him feel bad. Unwilling to tell the man he needs surgery in order to stay alive. Giving him all kinds of nice stuff while sparing him the bad news.
The Prime Directive
It comes down to priorities. This is why solid gospel doctrine is so critical. It must not become diluted or confused. We cannot compromise the clarity of the gospel for the purpose of solving the world’s injustices or any other problems . We cannot make common cause with unbelieving men or organizations in order to win back the culture or fight society’s immorality. We have never been given the Biblical authority to do that.
The “prime directive” for the Christian is to provide clear salt and light to the world so that they can know Christ as their Lord and Savior. All else is secondary. If our salt and light is polluted and watered down for the sake of some “other” cause under the banner of “love” or “unity”, we have failed our mission. There is no true love or unity that occurs when we do that.
The world does not know what it needs. It, like the living dead in the movies, only knows it is seeking life. It looks to us and sees Christ dwelling in us and moves toward that light.
This is an incredible, eternal miracle, that the indwelling Christ, uses simple believers to reach His world. Who, by His Eternal Spirit, touches people in ways we cannot imagine. Sometimes by nothing more than being in their proximity. Not because of anything good in us; but by His own Power and Glory speaking to them in His still, small voice.
Let us pray that we are clear, unobstructed lights to this world. Presenting Christ in a way that cannot be misunderstood so that all who desire to know Christ can see Him clearly.