In recent months, something has changed. Wickedness and destruction have been unleashed upon our world. I’ve studied history, and I know it holds some incredibly dark chapters and seasons, so I’m not suggesting this is the first time there’s been struggle, or pain, or deception. But it seems a barrier has been removed by God, and the spiritual forces of wickedness have become far more active among us.
The evidence in our own nation is abundant. We are tragically divided as a people, and the division emerges with a powerful sense of self-righteousness. We’re divided over how we look, our ethnicity, the accent with which we speak, the part of the country in which we live, how we’re dealing with our own healthcare choices, what kind of car we want to drive, whether we’re Republican or Democrat, and the list goes on.
Beyond the division, lawlessness is exploding around us, especially on our border. We’re witnessing censorship of the free exchange of ideas. While violence escalates, another set of voices demand we defund the authorities who keep us safe. Greed and covetousness abound. There is an obsessive focus upon those things to which many feel entitled. The concept of family is under a full-blown spiritual assault — even marriage has been redefined.
We are in a battle, and we’re going to lose the freedom and the opportunity for our children and our grandchildren if we don’t get this right. What can we do?
First of all, we need to take God seriously, not treating him like an intrusion in our lives. This means deciding to make God a priority in our lives. Two daily practices that can help us cultivate this is to read our Bibles in a systematic way and learn to pray. This is the preparation we need so we’re ready when God has an assignment for us. If we’re not familiar with our Bibles, we won’t know his character well enough to be able to protect ourselves from deception, or to stand against the attacks of the enemy. Prayer is learning, not only to talk to God, but to listen. Are we seeking the Lord in a way as if we intend to give Him our best?
Next, we need to grieve wickedness. It has to bother us. I’m spending more time praying now than I used to because I see wickedness in a way I haven’t acknowledged it before. We’ve been so indifferent, so ambivalent, and so lukewarm that evil has flourished around us. It’s biblical to grieve wickedness. In Ezekiel, God shows the prophet a scene in the temple. The people who were grieving and lamenting over all of the detestable things happening in the city were the only ones spared when God unleashed the angels to bring judgment on Jerusalem. Judgment falls not only on the people who were participating in the evil, but also on those who were indifferent. This is a lesson we need to remember today.
We must also recognize our own limits. We cannot do what only God can do. We’re not going to out-organize evil or out-work evil. We’re facing adversaries in a season of tremendous turmoil and turbulence, and we need the help of God. We feel like we are small in number and can’t make much difference, but in that place of recognizing our limits, God’s limitlessness comes into play and His grace is demonstrated in our lives. His people, standing in his name, on the authority of his word, with his truth in our hearts, will change the direction of history.
We’ve been empowered to be advocates for God in our nation, in this season. If we want our Christian worldview to be increased, not diminished, we’ll need use our voices, fulfilling the unique assignment God has given each of us to be salt and light, exactly where we live. This means cultivating the practice of caring more about upholding the Kingdom of God than maintaining our own kingdoms. As we realign and reorder, we’ll find a different outcome than the one we’ve been facing.
I’ve heard people say that God is a God of love who doesn’t hate anything. I beg to differ. He hates evil, because it destroys human beings, and he loves human beings. In all of our efforts, we have to learn to recognize and hate evil. Don’t hate people. Hate evil. We don’t need to be angry, or embittered, or self-righteous, or smug – we just need to not tolerate evil within our own set of circumstances. Don’t befriend evil. Don’t see how close you can get to it and still manage it. Don’t imagine that you can manage ungodliness. Don’t think that you can skate along the periphery and give yourselves excuses that you’ll be able to justify before God why you took license. This is not a time for sloppy Christianity.
God chose us for this unique season of human history. It’s a pivot point, and the outcome isn’t clear yet. I don’t know whether God is going to open the windows of Heaven and pour out blessings upon our nation, and we’ll see another great awakening, or if his judgment will fall with greater weight. I believe God in his grace is giving a season for the responses of his people. Let’s choose him as never before, so that his glory may be demonstrated in our generation.
Allen Jackson is senior pastor of World Outreach Church, a congregation of 15,000, and founder of Allen Jackson Ministries, which broadcasts his biblical messages across the world on TV, radio, and the internet. He is the author of God Bless America Again and Intentional Faith.