The Act of Worship We Must Commit to Impact Charlottesville and Beyond

When the news is full of rumors of war, protests in the streets, senseless deaths on bright summer days, and hatred spewing from every corner, hatemongers sometimes even invoking the name of our Lord to falsely justify their actions, it can be hard to hold on.

But, this is exactly the time not to hide. This is precisely the moment for which we were created and why we were assigned to these times, loved ones. He designed us and chose us to live here and now to represent Him, to inhale His truth and exhale His Words, to stand against the tsunami of deception rising up and threatening to swallow those who deny the existence of a holy and loving God who is coming again.

We concern ourselves too much with the actions and attitudes of others. There is a greater enemy than the despot on the other side of the world or the politician on the other side of the aisle.

We would be wise to secure the borders of our own hearts and minds, lest we fall prey to deception, hatred, greed, and every manner of violence that can arise from within the soul unwilling to bend its knee to our Creator God.

If you have the light of Christ within you, let it shine today, so that the darkness declaring itself in our public squares and the darkness threatening to strike at our loved ones overseas, is diminished and shown for what it is – an enemy with an expiration date, a conquered dragon thrashing its tail as death approaches, a defeated foe firing blindly into its private night.

Jesus reigns. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.

Followers of Jesus are not marked by hatred, fear, or lies, but by faith, truth, love, and light. Light the way, loved ones, it’s getting harder for others to see through the dark.

Our brother James wrote these words as he faced a time of terrible trouble and they stand true for us today:

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:1-4 ESV

When I read these words today, I’m tempted to apply them to others. To those who disagree with me. To those who threaten my freedom. To those who misrepresent my faith. But, God’s Word isn’t like that. It’s a mirror and the soul reflected is my own.

If I am to represent Him in this world, I must lay my own heart open for Him to search. I must accept that the Spirit led James to write these words to me.

“Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:5-10

Humility. There has been far too little of this in my life. I sit on my porch and imagine I know what world leaders should do against spoiled despots, how young men trapped in poverty should act when they’ve lost all hope, and how those “other” Christians should repent in order for God’s light to shine. But, God shows me these thoughts are a dip into that tsunami, a compromise of the soul toward Satan’s deceptive siren song. “Resist,” says my Father. “Draw near to Me.”

And isn’t this what worship is all about. Submitting ourselves to God. Resisting the devil. Drawing near to God and He drawing near to us. This is the answer to the headlines, loved ones. It’s not glitzy and no one will make headlines by doing it, but this is the pathway to a changed world.

There is little enough evidence of humility in humanity today that those who exhibit even a spark of it will shine like stars.

Want to have an impact for Christ? Be the light.

Join me in praying for those on all sides in Charlottesville, Virginia, for the citizens of Guam and North Korea, for the leaders of our nation, and for every Jesus-follower to draw near to God this week, to humbly follow Christ, and to shine the light of Jesus where ever we are called to stand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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