PHILIPPIANS 2:14-16: “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: “What the world needs now, is love sweet love, that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…” This was a chorus from a song written in 1965 by Burt Bacharach. The 1960’s was a decade of protest and violence, much like the current culture we see today. In fact, it seems that we have taken a giant step backwards -right back into the 1960’s!
When our current president was elected, as a nation we rejoiced that the walls of racial divide had been closed. For the first time someone of African American decent had been elected to the highest office in our land. In the days, months, and years ensuing, that rejoicing was replaced by a fissure of growing racial divide and hatred. This hatred knows no boundaries. It is against anyone and any race that is not the same as the one pointing their finger. And the sad reality is – EVERYONE IS POINTING THEIR FINGER – EVERYONE! What is the answer?
When I was in High School in the 1970’s our school was embattled in bitter racial strife and riots during my Sophomore and Junior Year. The outworking of the Civil Rights Movement was in full motion, and there were battle lines drawn around school zones and bussing. As a youth I so desperately wanted to see peace in my school and in my world.
Against my father’s wishes, I showed up at a large School Board meeting and gave an impassioned speech in front of hundreds of adults – in favor or bussing. I really did not understand the issue clearly – but I knew we had to do something, because inactivity was surrendering to the status quote of hatred and violence.
It was about that time that the Lord began to deal with my heart. My full surrender to Jesus Christ would not come until I graduated and was living on my own, but the beginning of this process took place during this time of hatred and strife. Since that time I have come to realize that there is no program, no protest, no government, and no candidate that can change the hearts of men and women. Bussing will not remove hate. Protests will not appease strife.
The only thing that changes a man or a woman from a culture of hate to a culture of love is a – CHANGED HEART!
- “…What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23 NKJV)
And Martin Luther King said,
- “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
As a believer in Jesus Christ I have experienced this life changing love. It is only the love of Jesus Christ that overcomes the hatred and strife of my broken human nature. Jesus died to defeat both the power and penalty of our sin.
- Jesus died for everyone – Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, White, Male, and Female!
When we turn to Jesus Christ in faith – our hearts are transformed and changed for eternity! It is to the transformed that Paul writes his exhortation – “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..”
If ever the world needed a light – it is now! If ever there was a time for Christians to put on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ – it is today! The world needs to see something rise above the darkness of hatred and strife. It needs to see the sons and daughters of God rise up in a spirit of love and service. It needs to see the Church respond in prayer and in action. It needs to see the words of Jesus coming to life in the actions of those who name the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord!
- “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV)
Lord, help me to walk in Your love, Your light, and Your compassion. Guard my heart from the spirit of anger, hatred, and strife. Let me love and pray for my enemies, and for those who oppose the very truth that I hold so dear. May I boldly go forward with the Gospel of Peace to a world that is lost to the message of strife!
In Jesus Name!
NOTE: Do you know the Gospel? Do you want to share the Gospel? Download our Free EBook – “Good News” – The Gospel of Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation”, on iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and smashwords.com (in the search type Kirk L. Zehnder).