I turned on the TV this morning to find a kid show to watch for my daughter. But I didn’t leave the channel. “CBS Live Report: 5 Officers Shot and Killed in Dallas.”
My heart sunk. My eyes widened and I stared, as the TV showed nightmarish scenes of these brave officers who were led into an ambush, and shot. And killed.
The screen’s red and blue lights shone, and they blurred out the officers dead bodies in between their police cars.
Then the whole screen blurred, with my tears. My heart is grieved over this. Over men trying to protect us. Over men whose lives were stolen away, in a moment. Over their wives, and kids, and friends, whose loved ones were snatched away by wicked people.
“These weren’t like other attacks,” the officer they were interviewing said, “This was a skilled, military-style ambush.”
The female newscaster then said, so accurately, “It seems like every day many Americans wake up, not sure what tragedy they are going to find, that’s even worse than the day before.”
“What do you make of it?” she asked the officer being interviewed.
“Well, to be honest, our culture is changing,” he said, “People are not satisfied with anything any more. They are impatient. Nothing is good enough for anyone. They are more callous and rude. They take matters into their own hands. And with the right kind of weapons they’re very dangerous.”
“It seems that the anger of the American people is at a tipping point,” she said.
“What can law makers do to stop this from happening?”
What can law makers do?!
I wanted to pick my TV off my wall and shake it.
How I wish “lawmakers” could change it somehow.
The problem isn’t the laws. It’s the people.
There is no law that can stop this. You know why?
The problem is in the heart.
In all of our hearts.
And that’s the truth that our culture refuses to hear.
Our culture: that believes we are all right in our own eyes.
And we preach tolerance–because “everyone is okay.”
No. I’m sick of it.
We are not okay.
I am ready to scream from the rooftops,
“We are not okay! Look around! We are not okay!”
Let God be true and every man a liar.
The words the officer said began to ring louder and louder in my ears.
“Our culture is changing.
People are angry.
No one is satisfied.
We’re getting worse.
People are more rude than before.”
And just like that the Holy Spirit reminded me of a passage in Scripture, where God utters these very words. It’s in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Is this not our culture? The description here could not be more accurate.
I don’t say this as an innocent person. I say this as a sinner. Who is guilty of most of what is on this list. We all are.
But I don’t share this to shame you. I say this to encourage your spirit.
When you see what’s happening on TV, and all around you–you need something solid to stand on.
You need to find comfort. And it’s found not in how many weapons you have, so you can hunker down and build a bunker for when it all goes down.
It simply comes down to one weapon.
You either have it, or you don’t.
But you sure as hell, better get it. Because when hell breaks loose–you are going to need it.
Here is the weapon: the Sword of the Spirit.
You can laugh. You can mock it.
But you can’t live without it.
Hell is coming for you. Whether it’s through the hands of terrorists…or simply through the selfish desires in your own soul, that make you want to love pleasure more than God.
Do you have a weapon?
Do you know how to wield it?
You need to learn. I need to learn.
Today, drop what you are doing. Get your sword out. Open God’s Word. And if you don’t understand it, learn from someone skilled in it. As if your life depended on it.
Because it does.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
That passage in 2 Timothy, the one that says how our culture is going from bad to worse–there is an encouragement there for believers. Here is what it says,
“But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:13-15
It’s not a joke. The thing we are told to stand on is: God’s Word.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16
You wan to be equipped for every good work?
I don’t care how Sunday School-ish it sounds: read God’s Word.
Devour it. Hide it away in your heart. Soak in it. Let it penetrate your soul.
And live it.
It’s the only way.
We are a people, who are not okay.
Every. Day. We need reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness. So that we may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I don’t know what bombs or bullets may come against me.
But we aren’t warned in God’s word about bombs and bullets. We are warned about “principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12-13
Maybe I will get shot in a movie theater. Or maybe I will be the victim in some terrorist invasion. Who knows? The way our culture is going, the odds are going up every day. But however I die–is not up to me. It’s up to God.
But how I live–that is up to me.
Every day it’s up to me.
And I live in a culture that is slowly, or quickly, killing itself. People have no hope, no God, and desire pleasure, always, more than God. And it pulls me down with it. Every day is like trying to crawl out of quicksand. But we are not called to simply try to “survive.” We are called to so much more in Jesus Christ. We are called to stand up. To play a part in Jesus’s rescue mission in this world. Because our lives are not about us, they are about Him.
Our lives are not about bunkering down in our little kingdoms, they are about wildly advancing His Kingdom.
They are about letting Heaven invade earth.
So, we don’t have to hide, we have to stand. We have to stand and not deny God’s power.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” Ephesians 6:14-18
It’s not that our world has too many weapons. It’s that we don’t have the right kind of weapons.
Without the weapons of the Spirit–we fight this battle like a naked man.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10
Put your armor on. And do not deny His power.
We don’t need more lawmakers.
We need Jesus. We need heaven to invade earth.
For His is the Kingdom,
the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Photo credit: CNN.com