While our calendar page has turned from 2020 to 2021, it’s clear that the confusion and chaos in our culture has not abated. Propaganda continues to wash across our nation, and the fear and anxiety regarding COVID is resurgent—perhaps greater than at any other time. Truth has definitely not regained its balance yet.
Many of us remain disappointed and disillusioned – if not downright distrustful – in election outcomes, and we can be tempted to give in to despair. This is why it is more important than ever that we pay close attention to what God is trying to teach us through all of this.
I believe 2020 was actually a gift from the Lord, to shake us from our slumber of comfort and convenience. We have been invited onto the stage of significance and are being trained in perseverance. We have been called to adopt a new lifestyle, not just survive a pandemic. God chose 2020 for an awakening. He got our attention and we are beginning to listen.
One of the lessons God is teaching us is not about ending 2020 or starting 2021, it’s about finishing well. And I don’t just mean a year or a season. Because of this awakening we are experiencing, we are learning to ask questions, make choices and realign our lives, listening and responding to God and walking in greater obedience to Him than ever before.
So, I am calling on followers of Christ to do four things: watch, listen, think, then act.
We need to begin with a greater awareness and discernment about what is going on in culture around us. God has awoken us so that we can pay better attention, and to be more critical about what we are hearing from experts and gatekeepers.
There is a battle underway for the heart and soul of our nation. It was not decided by the election. We need to guard our freedoms, and use our resources wisely. There is blatant censorship in our nation.
We believe in freedom of speech and historically would even support organizations like the ACLU when they were defending things we might consider immoral, but because of freedom of speech, were defendable. We once defended the right to say things in the public square which we felt were unrighteous but we believed the right of free speech was essential to the function of our republic. We didn’t like it when Nazis ran parades through Jewish neighborhoods, but we tolerated it as free speech.
But now the silence is deafening as media and social media alike censor the flow of information and resort to angry labeling. Statements that are objected to by gatekeepers are shouted down as misogynistic, xenophobic and racist, labeled hate speech and deemed not “true” enough to share in public. It is a short distance from our present position to where saying Jesus is the incarnate Son of God will be forbidden.
Anxiety and fear are being fueled by people with agendas. But in the Book of Acts, there was seldom a revival without a riot. We don’t need to fear disruption. Despair is an enemy whose objective is to diminish and ultimately extinguish hope. But our hope is secured in a person, Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore disappointment and weariness do not steal our hope. He will renew our strength. So, do not grow weary. He knows the outcome at the beginning and supplies all we will need for the journey.
We are at a decision point. The future of who we are to be as a people is in play.
We are hearing from too many voices. That’s why we need to watch and listen, and then think, before we act.
Our habits from last year won’t be sufficient. We will need to change and grow – how exciting! Our persistent prayers – especially expressions of humility, repentance and obedience – are creating an opportunity for God’s purposes to break forth.
What is the outcome? It’s still unclear. Not because of the election but because we are standing between decisions.
We cannot confuse the Church with America. Our ultimate allegiance is to God’s Kingdom, not an earthly nation or leader. And this should be the primary determining factor of our lives. Even if the election outcome were corrected, we have a higher allegiance than any government or administration.
We need to be aligning with the heart of God with an intention that we’ve never seen before. We need to pursue God with an abandon that exceeds our determination to avoid COVID-19. We have made a crazy effort and done things we said we’d never do to prevent this virus. Surely we can make a greater effort than that to pursue our God and King. Won’t you join me in watching, listening, thinking, and then acting, as we make that our focus in 2021?
Allen Jackson is senior pastor of World Outreach Church, a congregation of fifteen thousand; and he is founder of Allen Jackson Ministries, though which his biblical messages have been broadcast nationally and internationally on multiple platforms. His latest book, “God Bless American Again,” released Oct. 1.