“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ; according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He has made us accepted in the One having been loved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).
First Peter 2:9 says, “But you are his chosen people, the King’s priests. You are a holy nation, people who belong to God. He chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He brought you out of the darkness of sin into his wonderful light. In the past you were not a special people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had not received mercy, but now God has given you his mercy.”
God’s dealings with the whole world have one supreme objective, that is, the fulfilment of His purposes for His own people, in establishing His Kingdom. God’s purpose in man’s redemption reflects His original purpose in man’s creation. His redeeming grace lifts man from slavery and restores him to a position of dominion.
God is concerned with “all men” and “all people” and He expects His people to share His concerns. As true believers and worshippers of the Almighty God, we all have a responsibility to be a positive influence to the people of God in all righteousness and godliness.
The foundation of our Christian faith is based on “love”; and the first commandment from God is to “love the Lord, your God, with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind”. And the second commandment is to “love our neighbour as ourselves” (Matthew 22:37-38).
Matthew 5:44-45 also says “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Yes, we do not only have a responsibility to be a positive influence but we are also asked to “pray for men, for governments, for our country and for the nations.”
Paul said in First Timothy 2:1-4, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
“First of all”…, Paul calls for “supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks” and the term to cover these four activities is “prayer”. Prayer brings victory and enables us to turn apparent defeat into victory from God’s viewpoint. It tunes out the conflicting voices that shatter our faith and block our love; and tunes us in to God’s guidance so that we can discern what action to take, if any.
As we live out in faith, we also need to constantly remind ourselves not get used to this world and lose sight of our calling. In the midst of darkness and chaos in this world’s suffering and violence, let us focus on the brightness of Jesus Christ who says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
“Our faith and hope is in God” (1 Peter 1:21).
He alone is the Hope of the hopeless, the Saviour of the lost and the Guide of the wandering, the Radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the Word of His power.
For the unconditional love, mercy and compassion that our gracious God has shown us, we are required to show others the same. We are called to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
“If possible, as far and it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
The Bible reveals to us that Jesus ate with the publicans and the sinners. Nearly everyone He associated with was an outcast. However, His relationship with them was not purely social, but was redemptive. God meant that we are not to mingle with the world, to be polluted by the world; but we are to be witness to the world and reach out to the lost and those who suffer, for Christ. We are to identify ourselves with the poor, the sick and the needy, in body, mind and spirit. We are to love those who are involved in the world without being contaminated, influenced or swayed by them. We can achieve this by a close walk with Christ. Like Him, we are to be in the world, but not of the world.
It is undeniable that even as Christians, we suffer – physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is usually true that those who have suffered most are best able to comfort others who are going through suffering. Our past sufferings enable us to understand more than others what a suffering person is experiencing.
Paul wrote to Timothy in Second Timothy 2:10-12, saying, “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. For faithful is the Word, for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”
In our sufferings, may we remember and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now seated on the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We can look to the Lord, who strengthens us and enables us overcome the storms of our lives, for “He who is in us, is greater than he who is in world (1 John 4:4).” Our sufferings help us shape our attitude and character which enable and equip us to “comfort and edify one another”.
First Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore, comfort one another, and edify one another, even as you also do.”
As Christians, we all have a great responsibility in the Kingdom of God. Each is called to a specific task or tasks to bring about change in this ungodly world that we live in. God expects us to be a godly influence such that we do not compromise in God’s commands and commission, and in matters of honesty, integrity and morality, bearing an effective witness for Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Only by a life of obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit, by a daily dying to self, by a full dedication to Christ and constant fellowship with Him are we enabled to live a godly life and have a positive influence on this present ungodly world.
Is the world changing you, …. or are you changing the world?
May we remember the Word spoken by Jesus in Matthew 5:19, “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Amen and Amen!