There have been times when I have felt sadness looking at the state of the world and that of the church. I feel like people care less and less about God. They have no respect for His Word and don’t care about His Son dying on the cross for us. God’s people are becoming fewer and fewer, perhaps because the world doesn’t think it cool to have morals anymore. We are mocked and ridiculed for our conservative values. We cannot openly talk about God in the public schools and publicly profess our views on family and personal integrity. The world sees us as narrow-minded and judgmental. I fear that soon we won’t enjoy the freedom to assemble in worship without being persecuted. And so, I ask myself, are we losing? Is God losing?
Sometimes, a good way to predict the future is by looking at the past. History has a tendency to repeat itself. If we look at Israel’s history, we realize that they didn’t always have it so great. They were in captivity not once, but twice – once in Egypt and once in Babylon. And, maybe we can say they are in slavery now – at war with Palestine for over 65 years. Isn’t Israel God’s chosen nation? Why is the Temple in Jerusalem destroyed? Why are Christians beheaded in the Middle East? Why are “God’s people” in such turmoil? Well, partly because of disobedience and unbelief (Heb 3:16-19). But, mostly because our reign is not in this world:
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. – John 15:19 NKJV
The thing to remember is this, God is a Spirit. As His children, we are Spirit too since we have been born of the Spirit (John 3:6). The kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36) and neither are we. Our treasures are in Heaven, our abode is in Heaven (Eph 2:6, Col 3:1), the true Temple is in Heaven (Rev 11:19, Acts 17:24,25), the New Jerusalem is in Heaven (Rev 21:2), the Spiritual Israel (God’s chosen people – the church) is in Heaven (Rom 2:28,29; Phil 3:3), our reign is in Heaven. We are here temporarily and we wait for something better.
God never loses. I am sure the Devil thought he had won the day he had crucified God’s son. Even Jesus’ disciples were feeling down thinking their Savior had died for good. But this was all part of God’s redemption plan. Sometimes we forget God’s Word and get saddened for nothing:
And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
And He said to them, “What things?”
So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. – Luke 24:17-21,25-27 NKJV
Let us not make the same mistakes Israel did by trying to conform to the world and thus getting farther and farther away from God to the point of failure. There is nothing better than to be part of God’s people, even if we do stand out in this world. God promises to be with us, guide us and prosper us IF we keep His commandments (Deut 4:39,40; Jos 1:7,8). Jesus did warn us that in this world we would have tribulation. But, he also said, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV). Thus, let us not lose hope. In Jesus we have the victory and we are MORE than conquerors!