We live in a secular age. One of the beliefs that distinguishes our age is that we don’t need God to remedy our problems. We believe that we can set things aright without Him.
The Bible teaches us the exact opposite. It tells us that in order for humanity to thrive it must look to the Lord, because it is His Spirit who not only creates all that exists, but also maintains the bonds necessary for civilization to be secure and prosper.
When men depend on anything besides the Lord, their efforts ultimately prove to be in vain. But when men depend on God, His Spirit gives the ability to overcome obstacles and fulfill the callings that He gives.
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts” (Zech.4:6).
The first man, Adam, learned this the hard way when he failed to trust the Lord and and decided to depend on His own understanding. And every man since him must decide how he will live – will he depend on is own carnal reasoning or trust the word of the Lord.
Joseph engaged the world and all its temptations with a heart turned to the Lord. As a consequence, he was regarded as one who possessed “the Spirit of God” and was empowered to lead all of Egypt. Saul, on the other hand, hardened his heart, and because of it the Spirit of the Lord departed from him and an evil spirit tormented him instead.
All of this has relevance to our own time.
From The Roots of Reconstruction:
War is a sign of impotence. A system or philosophy of life which has no power to convert becomes imperialistic. For the zeal and faith of peaceful missionary work it substitutes brutal terror. A failing faith resorts to war, because it lacks the contagion of faith and conviction and can only force men into its own system. War is the resort of those who lack true power and are declining.
From Brian Abshire’s The Royal Race of the Redeemed.
Our social disintegration that rightly deserves a Christian response is not a result of the massive influx of black, brown or yellow people leaving their traditional homelands – but because the gospel of Jesus Christ has not yet sufficiently changed people’s lives – neither theirs, nor “ours.” The cultures these people come from either have not received the gospel, or worked out its implications consistently in family, work, recreation, charity, etc. However, the United States would not have decayed into a socialist monstrosity unless Christians had lost sight of a full-orbed gospel. The solution then is not playing the “race card” – but rather in rediscovering a truly consistent Christian faith, and aggressive evangelism, verified by one’s own transformed life.
Sad but true. We are generally unwilling to face the short-term pain necessary to set us free from enduring problems. . .
Whether we are considering a toothache, a tumor, a relational bind, a technical problem, crime, or the economy, most individuals and most social systems, irrespective of their culture, gender, or ethnic background, will “naturally” choose or revert to chronic conditions of bearable pain rather than face the temporarily more intense anguish of acute conditions that are the gateway to becoming free. But what is also universally true is that over time, chronic conditions, precisely because they are more bearable, also tend to be more withering.
A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of Quick Fix
~ Edwin Friedman