FIRST-PERSON: Today is the day to reach the world
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- If you're like me, there are days when I have to scratch my head at the state of our world -- days when I have to say, "How can that be true?" Sometimes I wonder if what I feel about our world matches up with what I know about our world.
What I know about our world
1. Communication: The reality is, we know far more about our world than any generation in history. Since the mid-1990s when the Internet began to grow, the flow of information has grown exponentially and continues to do so. Nothing happens in our world in secret. Every tragedy, every disaster, every battle in every war, every moral failure, every immoral trend, everything of the sort that has happened throughout history but no one knew about -- it's all in our faces every day.
2. The nature of threats. Today, things like nuclear weapons, biohazards, terrorism and drug-resistant diseases have created a new sense of fear.
3. Global economics. Nations are subject to the actions of other nations as never before. An economic or political decision in one nation can send shock waves around the world. Everyone feels the tension present in the global village.
4. End-time prophecy. The Bible tells me that as we get closer to the end of the age, life is going to become dramatic and dangerous on planet earth.
What I must do about our world
Is life on planet Earth actually getting worse or does it just feel like it's getting worse because of the communication revolution in our digital age? In a sense, the answer doesn't matter for this reason: Perception is reality in most people's minds.
Even if people don't have actual reasons to be afraid, if they feel afraid -- that's what matters. They will live their lives as if the world is about to end and they have no hope.
And that is where many people in our world are living at this very moment -- fearful, hopeless and looking for "salvation." They may not define salvation in a biblical sense, but what they are looking for is exactly what the Bible calls deliverance, or salvation, from the uncertainty of this world.
That reality leads to two inescapable conclusions for us who follow Jesus Christ:
1. Urgency. Uncertainty about the present and fear of the future creates a huge sense of urgency in the average person. People begin looking for answers, for help, for assurance and for solutions. It's a natural response.
Think about it: When life is comfortable and good, what motivation is there to change? The subconscious message people send themselves is, "Maintain the status quo. What you're doing is working." Again, perception becomes reality. But when people perceive "the world" is broken, they immediately adopt a posture of urgency. Which leads to the second point: Urgency means …
2. Opportunity. The answers we have for people during times of stress are exactly the same as during times of comfort. What changes is people's willingness to listen to the answers we have to offer them from the Bible.
And that means fresh opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a searching world. Biblically speaking, every day is a day for salvation (Luke 19:9; Acts 2:37-41). But we are at the crossroads of stress and relief, of questions and answers, of fear and confidence -- and that crossroads equals opportunity. Today is the day to reach the lost for Christ!
Is the world worse off than it has ever been? All I know is that most people believe it is. Those of us who know the biblical story know that God is in control. That means that we must make today the day to reach the lost with a new perspective -- a way to replace fear with hope in Christ.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org. This column has been approved by Turning Point for redistribution in Baptist state newspapers; for other reprint requests, contact Myrna Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.