When I look at the condition of our nation, I fear that our culture has fallen into the deep abyss. Efforts to simply stop the erosion appear to be in vain. Lawlessness prevails. As Christians, we try to live our convictions and share our faith; yet, it seems that we are making little impact on the world around us.
Many Christians believe that God’s patience will soon run out and His judgement will come upon America. But what can ordinary people without a platform and a microphone do about it? We tend to think it’s simply too far gone at this point, maybe even hopeless. Why not just forget about it and go on with life? Seriously, what difference can one person make?
Recently, I found a scripture in Jeremiah 18:11 that encouraged me. Read what God told Jeremiah to tell the people of Judah about His coming judgment:
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am shaping a disaster and working out a plan against you. Turn back, each of you from his evil way; correct your habits and change your actions for the better.’”
The culture of God’s chosen nation had also fallen into a deep abyss, and Jeremiah was told to warn them of impending judgment. Yet, (I’m so glad God always includes a yet) God gave them something each one could do to remedy the situation—or we might say, be a part of the solution. You see, what each one does can make a difference with God.
So what was it that each one could do? Let’s look again: the Lord said, “Turn away from your evil ways and correct your habits and change your actions.”
When it seems that our nation is beyond hope, God says we can do something about it—we can change our own ways. He didn’t say change the ways of our leaders, or of Congress, or of Hollywood. He didn’t say change the ways of our church or our families. He didn’t say to change the ways of anyone else, but “You turn, you correct, and you change your ways.”
Ouch! It is always easier to blame the mess on others. We prefer to complain about what is wrong with everyone around us. But if we listen closely we can hear God say: “You can make a difference.”
Did the people in Jeremiah’s day accept that challenge? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Read what Jeremiah wrote in verse 12: “But they will say, ‘That is hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act in accordance with the stubbornness of his evil heart.’”
They may have heard what God said with their ears, but they didn’t hear with their hearts. Instead, they deemed it hopeless. They chose rather to follow their own plans and evil hearts.
What about you and me? Will we hear God’s Word with our hearts, or will we pronounce it hopeless and stubbornly follow our own plans? I hope not. Rather, I hope we will look within and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we need to change about ourselves. I challenge each one of us to be courageous enough to do this.
Did you know that God does change His mind? Don’t miss the powerful footprints below, and may we start to believe that each one of us can make a difference in the here and now. ~ Janie Kellogg
Key Scripture: “Who knows but that the Lord may relent of His plan to destroy us. And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was destroying, the Lord looked and relented of the disaster, and said to the angel who was destroying, ‘It is enough; now restrain your hand.’” 1 Chronicles 21:15
Key Quote: “All changes—spiritual revivals, a turnaround in a church, a barren life now bearing fruit—begin when there is a discontentment that say, “I refuse to accept this.”~ Jim Cymbala, “Storm,” Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2014, Pg. 38.