The Christian And The News

Obama_wins_headlineFor the majority of my life time, the news has been filled with wars and rumors of wars, the latter similar to what we hear now about Ukraine with Russia poised on the border waiting to swoop into the eastern portion of the country and carve out a slice for themselves.

All too often this kind of news, and that about famine and pandemic diseases, strikes fear in the hearts of Christians. Not just Christians, to be fair, but Christians because so many read the news with one eye on Biblical prophecy. Hence, Russia isn’t just threatening Ukraine, they are Magog preparing to sweep down on Israel and initiate Armageddon.

I think it’s important for believers who embrace the Bible as true, historically, spiritually, and prophetically, to keep a number of things in mind.

First, we ought not go about interpreting prophecy on our own. Look what happened when the Jews tried interpreting the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah–they ended up crucifying the very One they were waiting for. Why? Because they didn’t take time to let Scripture interpret Scripture. They didn’t wait on the Holy Spirit to illumine the truth (which He did at Jesus’s baptism and through Peter’s pronouncement and John’s witness).

Second, we ought not try to countermand Scripture. When the Bible says we can’t know the day or hour when Christ will return, it’s foolish to think that passage is talking about everyone else, just not me. In the same way, we ought not declare a universal salvation when Jesus so clearly taught otherwise. In other words, we need to let the Bible say what it actually says, not what we wish it says nor what we assume it says given the present world circumstances.

It’s easy to think that the morality of society is spiraling downward, leading to the final day of judgment, and that might be the case. But seventy-five years ago, some people were certain Hitler was the Anti-Christ. Why, in the first century, many thought Nero was the Anti-Christ, and morality then in Rome and some of the Greek cities was as debase as anything we can imagine.

Besides the not‘s, Christians should pray. First, we should pray for other Christians, especially those who are suffering for their faith. Recently we’ve been reminded to pray for this pastor or that one who has been imprisoned for his faith. The general plea is to pray for his release, and that certainly isn’t wrong.

But perhaps more importantly, we should pray for believers to be light in the darkness surrounding them. We should pray that they’ll have courage to speak the truth in love, that they’ll be content despite their circumstances, that the joy of the Lord will fill them even when they suffer.

Along with praying for believers, we should pray for God’s will to be accomplished. So often we pray for what we think is best–peace, a pro-western government coming to power, democracy taking root; or here at home, an end to terrorist cells, Supreme Court rulings that support marriage and end abortion, a certain political candidate winning an election. But all too often we have no idea if those things actually are aligned with God’s will.

In the book of Jeremiah, for instance, God told His prophet to stop praying for Judah because He wasn’t going to hear and answer those prayers. Sobering. God had declared the coming judgment–defeat by and exile to Babylon–and He determined He would not relent. Other times and places, such as in Nineveh, when Jonah preached, God was moved by their repentance. Not that time.

So today, I think we Christians would be wise to use Scripture and God’s revealed will as a guide for our prayers. We know, for example, that believers are called to make disciples. We can then pray for believers in the places of the world that are in the news to make disciples.

We know that it is not God’s will for any to perish, so we can pray for revival. We know that Jesus will one day be recognized by all the world as Lord, so we can pray that His name will be lifted up because of the circumstances we’ve heard about in the news. We know that Jesus said the greatest command is to love God with our all and to love our neighbors as ourselves. So we can pray for Christians in troubled areas to fearlessly love God and winsomely love their neighbors.

I could go on. The Bible is filled with revelation of God’s will. How important for us to prayer for what God wants and not just for what we want.

Published in: on March 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm  Comments Off on The Christian And The News  
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