FIRST-PERSON: When tomorrow comes
VANCOUVER, Wash. (BP) -- A key leadership responsibility is preparing for the future. That's a difficult task considering the chaotic and rapidly-changing time in which we live. Still, there are some things that we know and for which we can prepare.
First, when tomorrow comes we will not be exempt from the principalities and powers who are working to destroy human life created in God's image. As perplexing as the manifestation of evil is, the Bible shows us that our enemy works at every level of society. How do we understand the increasing coarseness of our political life, the growing vulgarity in public life, even the division and compromise that threaten our church life, without knowing that our enemy is working to destroy that which God loves? Whatever happens tomorrow, you must expect and prepare for spiritual opposition.
Second, though the powers of darkness are working to destroy us, God has put limitations on the principalities and powers. Evil exists, but God is in control, and He even uses evil men to accomplish good things. We must not fall into the trap of overestimating the enemy and underestimating God. When tomorrow comes, God will be on His throne, hearing our prayers, accomplishing His agenda, and rescuing human beings from our sin and stupidity. This is our true basis for optimism when tomorrow comes.
Third, the discipling of children is essential for a bright tomorrow. If you don't disciple your children, the world will. The principalities and powers work to distort the human mind and this begins in childhood. Preschool children develop ideas about the world and the "powers" work to conform the minds and hearts of our kids to the world's ways. We must fight this. Every believer, every church, must work to reach children and teach them to obey God. Whatever you do, don't forget the children who will inhabit tomorrow's world.
Fourth, the American church is returning to what has been the norm for Christians throughout the centuries -- a pilgrim people, out of step with society, often poor and sometimes persecuted. The American church has escaped the norm for much of our history, but that is changing. We need to prepare for this. Most of the world's believers are already poor and persecuted. There are more Christians in Africa than in Europe and the United States combined, and they are mostly poor. China has about the same number of weekly worshippers as the USA does, and they are persecuted. I'm not saying the American church will experience what the Asian church does today, but a bright tomorrow requires that we put our hope in God and not in the American political process. Not that we should abandon political participation, but spiritual work is done on our knees before an open Bible.
God's Word tells us that the day will come when time will be no more. On that day the curse will be removed and the daylight will vanquish the night forever (Revelation 22:3-5). Until that day, with every tomorrow the Lord gives, fix your eyes on Jesus and join Him in the spiritual battle for souls.