|Illustration courtesy of Idea go, Free Digital Photos|
This was the news one day last week:
- Three separate terrorist attacks (Tunisia, France, and Kuwait)
- The U. S. Supreme Court rules for the legal right to same-sex marriage in all fifty states.
- The funeral service for Pastor Clementa Pinkney in Charleston, SC. He was one of the nine victims of a church massacre the previous week.
- Greece is offered a cash-for-reforms deal.
The news isn’t pretty. The world’s in a mess. It’s nothing new. Every day brings similar news items with similar sadness and awful consequences. There’s sorrow, immorality, financial burdens, and innocent people lose their lives.
That same day, I saw a poster on social media: “Keep Calm and Share the Gospel.” What a wonderful perspective! What’s the gospel? It’s defined as the death of Jesus Christ for our sins, His burial, and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) It’s the Good News that anyone who personally puts his faith in Jesus for salvation from sin can have eternal life in heaven. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Philippians 4:8 instructs Christians to think on what’s good: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
So, in the face of sweeping violence, terrorism, social change, uncertainty, and mourning, how’s a Christian to act?
- Bury our head in our hands and say, “woe is me.”
- Focus on how bad things are.
- Look up into the clouds and prepare for the Lord’s return.
- Ignore the news.
- Feel all alone and oppressed.
- Live in fear.
- Start a protest group.
- Get all out of whack emotionally.
Back in the Apostle Paul’s day, things were rotten, too. The Roman government was corrupt and oppressing Christians. The persecution was real and palpable. In fact, when Paul wrote Philippians, he was in prison. I’m sure some of the Christians threw their hands up in the air in frustration and others tried to stop up their ears from the daily news.
The Bible tells us God’s will for healthy thinking. Everything true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy goes on the list of permitted topics.
- We’re also to think realistically and humbly about ourselves. (Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 8:2; Galatians 6:3)
- We’re to consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24). That means to think about others and encourage them to love and to do right.
- We’re to pray without ceasing and for others (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 25).
- We’re to meditate—repeatedly think about—on the Word of God. (Psalm 119: 97, 99).
- We’re to think about God. (Psalm 104:34)
Yes, we know about the news, and we don’t ignore what’s going on in the world, but we don’t let it highjack our faith.
Let’s think about what God wants us to think about. May we, like David, encourage ourselves in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6)