As I watch people try to interpret the events of our day, a common descriptor comes to mind: confusion. It seems that lots of people – from the elites of business and academia, to church leaders, to seasoned politicians, to the voices of popular culture – are struggling to adequately answer the “why” questions behind what’s happening in the world, and what’s happening here at home. To me, this phenomenon seems widespread. I see people explaining, for example, why there are no groceries on the shelves. I may be wrong about this – and I’m open to your input on it – but the body language and facial expressions of those offering the explanations seem to indicate anything other than: “I’m totally sure about this.”
And I’m not questioning any one person’s desire to tell the truth, but I’m simply saying that the truth seems harder and harder to find. We see this perhaps most prominently with the confusion surrounding COVID, but that seems to be just the tip of the cultural iceberg. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by mass confusion in these times, as God’s Word so clearly describes “the god of this age” (or “the god of this world”) as a blinder and deceiver (2 Corinthians 4:4). Perhaps part of Satan’s strategy is to foster confusion in multiple segments of society so that spiritual truth will be harder to discern as well. If you can make people skeptical of everything, they’ll be skeptical of Christ’s claims too.
But what about those of us who are the redeemed of the Lord – what about the Church? This might be a really great time for us to reassess our sources of authority. We’re impacted more steadily than we want to admit by the mantras of the world, and it’s critical that we protect and strengthen our resolve to be guided by the Truth. Again, I notice a growing skepticism, unfortunately. Could it be that we’ve become more swayed by the world than the Word? Only you can answer that question for yourself, but I hope you’ll take the time to think about it.
Because here’s the deal: you and I have been called by the God of the universe to look to Christ for our authority and our marching orders! We are not our own, but we are His. Ours is a higher calling, and our affections are to be set on higher things. We have received not only the knowledge of God in some generic sense – “hey, take a look at that sunset” – but we have received the fullness of the message of the gospel: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our rags have been exchanged for His riches! What glorious good news!
And, friends, that good news changes everything. So … hear me out … since we’ve got the greatest thing (technically, He has us), we’ve got to lessen our hopes in lesser things. Let that sink in. Here’s what I mean. You and I can’t expect the media pundits or “the news” or the cultural commentators to get everything right. It’s not going to happen. We can’t expect the government to get everything right. It’s not going to happen. We can’t expect Hollywood to get everything right. It’s not going to happen. We can’t expect the medical community to get everything right. It’s not going to happen. We can’t expect academics or lawyers or even the Supreme Court to get everything right. It’s not going to happen.
Why would we who believe the Bible ever come to count on all those things? Well, quite simply, life is easier when all those things are working as we think they should. And sometimes, by God’s common grace, they do work. Oftentimes they do work, in fact, and oftentimes they work well. But I think that you and I are in a season of reordering our expectations, and a season of coming to terms with the inherent limitations of everything in our lives but God.
Perhaps we didn’t realize it, but we’ve let some idols get a little too close to our hearts. Chuck Colson nailed our problem with this simple description: “What people once expected from the Almighty, they now expect from the almighty bureaucracy. That’s a bad trade for anyone, but for the Christian, it’s rank idolatry.” So let’s repent, here and now, of our inordinate love for – and reliance upon – lesser things.
Here’s what I’m thinking. Once we lessen our hope in lesser things, we can set our hearts on higher things.
Pressing on with you,