The past few weeks have brought with them a high level of “bad news” concerning hurricanes, earthquakes, threats of nuclear war, and most recently a mass shooting. Everywhere you turn you are faced with chatter concerning what’s going on in the world around us. Social commentators are anxious to announce their opinions while disregarding and sometimes even reveling in the division their comments produce. Social media updates bring waves of controversial tweets and posts from “friends” telling you how you should respond to every crisis and event. If your response doesn’t meet someone else’s expectations you are viewed as a bad Christian, a bad American, or both. You can’t even count on your favorite late night comedian to lighten the mood without first trying to convince you of how important their own social commentary is.
Just like eating too much junk food can make you unhealthy, consuming too much media can make you spiritually unhealthy. How does all of this impact your personal life? Do you notice yourself being a bit on edge, maybe short tempered? Unable to focus? Melancholy or hopeless?
We struggle with how to respond to the world around us because typically our answers to these situations come from own understanding of the world instead of seeing things the way God does. We become frustrated when answers and solutions aren’t forthcoming. Maybe these things don’t come readily because God is teaching us to rely on Him for answers instead of ourselves. Let’s explore some practical ideas from scripture that teach us how to respond to the world around us.
Quit worrying about other’s people’s opinions. Many of the voices we listen to have no right to speak into our lives in the first place yet we allow it. Facebook “friends” and celebrities should not control your daily outlook, instead listen for God’s voice in all that you do – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
Consume less of the world and more of God. We do this by being in God’s Word on a daily basis. Romans 12:2 tells us we need to transform our minds – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 NLT
Look at the world with “Kingdom eyes”. When you begin to look at things from God’s perspective you will see many of the things we argue and stress over as worthless. – “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
Colossians 3:1-2 NLT
Put your trust in God instead of politics and policies. We often forget who is in charge of this world. God created everything and everyone. We surely can trust Him more than any politician. We spend countless hours debating how to protect our lives, families, and nation from evil. We can threaten retribution to those we think would do us harm yet God is the only one Who can change another man’s heart. What a different world we would live in if we were praying for and loving our enemies instead of being consumed with finding ways to destroy them before they destroy us. – “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalms 20:7 NLT“ “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.”
Matthew 5:43-46 NLT
I encourage you during these turbulent days to focus less on what the world is saying and more on what God is saying.