When we pick up a newspaper or listen to a news bulletin in these days it’s so easy to slip into despondency or even depression – there’s so much bad news reported every single day, so much devastation, so much immorality, so much of man’s inhumanity to man. Yet Jesus encourages us not to be troubled.'For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,’ and explains that, ‘All these are the beginning of sorrows’ (or ‘labour pains’) (Matthew 24:6-8). He goes on to warn that ‘many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another … and … lawlessness will abound’ (vs. 10-12). We are certainly witnessing that today.
So how should we respond? Jesus’ answer is that in the very midst of all the difficulties and hardships we must persevere in spreading the Gospel, the message of God’s grace for forgiveness and salvation and His power to heal, deliver and set us free.
We see the urgency of the times and the desperate need in so many for this vital message of real hope of freedom from every kind of bondage, oppression and the suffering that comes as a consequence of betrayal, personal loss, abuse and so much more. We see that many are seeking comfort in things that pacify their pain but can never bring real freedom – things like: workaholism, people pleasing, addictions, religiosity and false religions. But, as Christians, we know that Jesus, who sent the Holy Spirit, the true Comforter, came to bring the only real answer. He came ‘that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).
Yet, because of our sin nature, it’s so easy to sit back in despondency and negativity, or resignation and apathy, or simply to make life comfortable for ourselves and ignore the bigger picture that’s screaming out in the world all around us. As the Body of Christ, we really need to hear and heed the command of our text for today ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead!’
Prayer: O Lord, please save us from ourselves! Help us to wake up from passivity. It’s no use just knowing You are the answer, or even just telling others that You are the answer. We need to be living out the answer, so that the light of Christ and real hope in Him shines out from us before we even speak a word.
Lord God, please help us to recognise those things in our lives that keep us in abdication, spiritually blind, deaf and dumb. Please help us to be humble and honest with You about the daily, personal struggles and difficulties in our own lives and to earnestly press in to You, to hold on to Your promises, apply Your Word, yield to Your Holy Spirit, receive Your grace and depend on You - so that You can bring the changes in us and the light of Christ will shine out from us as a beacon of hope to those around us, as our lives become a true witness of the transforming love of God that is ours through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, which is the only answer for this broken, hurting world. Amen.
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