Clearly, the world has always been a place of chaos, confusion and uncertainty. A quick read of Genesis chapter 3 helps us to understand that it didn’t take man long to plunge the newly created and sinless world into the darkness that comes from rejecting the Word of God. From that day forward mankind has largely pursued a path of personal power and self-interest that always leads to corruption and destruction. It seems that the worst thing for humanity is humans! At least we’re consistent. With this in view I am not one of those people who sits wringing my hands and muttering under my breath about “unprecedented times”. We are living through difficult times for sure, but to say they are “unprecedented” is to ignore actual history.
What HAS been different about our most recent bout with “unprecedented” times (I don’t know if I need to keep using quotes on “unprecedented” or not but it just feels right), is the fact that nothing seems to be off the table. In the past, at least here in the United States, as big as the trials may have been there were some truths that, at least culturally, we accepted. For instance, as much as we may disagree on it’s application, most Americans have traditionally viewed the Constitution and Bill of Rights as good. We may not always agree on how they are applied, but these, as well as our other founding principles, make us who we are. Unfortunately, that is changing. We are quickly becoming like those in Judges 21:25 who “did that which was right in their own eyes.”
As a Christian these events do not scare me. I am still convinced that God is King and that regardless of what we may endure here, His ultimate end will be achieved. I am heartbroken over all that is happening, but not without hope. The ultimate call on my life is to give God glory and, thankfully, there is not a virus, politician, or any other person or event that can take away my ability to fulfill that call. It is possible to be heartbroken and still at peace and rest in our Savior. With all of that said, I do believe that I have a job to do beyond simply telling others that I am trusting God and they should too. In what seems a bit contradictory, it is in my moments of greatest faith, trusting that God has a plan and He will bring it to pass, that I am the most motivated to make a difference in the world with the time that I have. Recognizing that so much of the world is out of control is not a time to give up but to say, “here am I Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) This is the time to ask God exactly what He wants us to do.
I believe that the answer to that question will be different for each of us. While there are some things we all must do, God has uniquely positioned each of us to do a unique work. How amazing it is to know that we get to be a part of God’s plan for the world! For me, one of the areas I am uniquely positioned to make a difference in the world is in my home. There is perhaps no better way to influence culture than by equipping your kids to pursue God’s will for THEIR lives regardless of how crazy things are or will become. We now, with the opportunity to see that there is very little safe harbor in this world for people of faith, have an amazing opportunity to give our kids the tools they need to move foreword in a deliberate, effective, Christ honoring way.
While the process of teaching our kids is an ongoing process, there are 7 areas right now that I am encouraging mine to focus. By the way, this is not just for kids. This is a good list for anyone trying to cut through the noise and confusion while living out their God-given purpose.
Seven Key Areas of Focus:
1. The goal is always in all things God and His glory.
We become overwhelmed when we forget that we only have one BIG goal as humans: Give honor and glory to God in all that we do and say. There are other things that God has equipped us to accomplish, but this one is at the top of the list. Everything else in our lives needs to serve this one main goal.
1Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
2. Learn History
One of the reasons so many people are afraid and overwhelmed right now is because they lack an understanding of the broader picture of history. The phrase “unprecedented times” has become a catchphrase because those with a limited view of the world outside of their own experience believe, and then say, that no one has ever experienced anything like this before. Knowing that there has always been hardship in the world does not make current hardship any less difficult but it does remove the despair of believing that what we are dealing with is new. When we realize that those who have gone before us have also lived through “unprecedented times” and survived, we can be filled with hope. This is hard, but we will get through it.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
1Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
3. Embrace Your Place in History
This is so important. If God is all-knowing, and I believe that He is, than He knew when you would be alive. He created you to fulfill a unique purpose and then placed you at the exact moment in history that He needed you to be so that you could fulfill that purpose. We need to stop feeling bad about the time in which we are alive and instead embrace our place in History as given by God.
Esther 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
4. Stay Out of Debt
I am all for making money, but I am not all for allowing money to be a snare that will prevent me from doing what God wants me to do. Stay out of debt so that when God says “go” there is nothing holding you back.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
5. Get and Stay Physically Fit
This is not about vanity or sport but about keeping yourself physically in a place where God can use you as He sees fit. I wonder how many people have failed to fully accomplish all that God had in mind for them because they were unwilling to do the work of keeping their bodies healthy and strong for His use.
1Cointhians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
6. Learn to be Self-reliant
Live in such a way that you are dependent for survival on no one but God. Prepare for emergencies. Have a plan if something bad happens. Purchase life insurance. Don’t put yourself or your family in a place where, without someone coming to your rescue you won’t make it if a natural disaster or man made emergency happens. This is not about becoming a “prepper”, but about living prepared.
Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
7. Never Stop Learning. Find the Source
Don’t simply consume the information that you are fed. Keep learning and get as close to the source as possible. Truth does exist but it will take some work to find it. Do the work. Only when you know the truth will you make the right decisions.
2Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.