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Remaining focused on Jesus within a troubling world

In today’s volatile climate, heinous acts continue to occur. I’d highlight a few, but you could pretty much take your pick.

Of course, evil acts happen all the time in places and situations of which we’re not even aware.

But when we see them splashed across the news with such frequency, it can feel like evil is winning in one way or another.

When this is the case, it can be easy to focus on the negative emotions that naturally occur within us. As for me, I get angry, frustrated, and sometimes a bit overwhelmed by the apparent tailspin of our society.

Maintaining an eternal perspective

However, as a Christian, it helps me to keep an eternal perspective.

To remind myself that Jesus has an eternal Home waiting for his followers that will be glorious beyond our wildest dreams (John 14: 1-3; Revelation 21: 1-4).

And regardless of what’s going on here, God is still and forever in control—and his justice will prevail.

Throughout Scripture, there are many references to Satan’s influence regarding this world (John 12:31; John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; John 16:11).

In fact, the very prayer that Jesus taught his disciples includes this reference: “…deliver us from the evil one…” (Matthew 6: 13, NIV).

So what’s happening today and has been happening ever since Adam and Eve took the first juicy bite of that apple is no surprise (Genesis 3).

Since then, the freewill God has given mankind has often been used for evil instead of good (Matthew 12: 35). I certainly don’t need to supply any references for that, since you can just turn on the news, read a few headlines, or pull out a history book or two—including the Bible.

We’re not powerless

Of course, we’re not as powerless as it may sometimes seem—since God calls us to persistent prayer (I Thessalonians 5: 17; Philippians 4:6), undaunted courage (Deuteronomy 31:7; I Corinthians 16:13) and unwavering obedience (Deuteronomy 11:1; Ecclesiastes 12: 13; John 14:15) as we serve as his ambassadors in this world (2 Corinthians 5:20).

And, he is clear that none will escape his judgement and justice—since each individual will face a final and divine reckoning (Ecclesiastes 12: 14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 2: 6-8).

During my devotions this week, as I was boiling about recent events, this passage gave me the assurance that God understands how I feel and has provided guidance within this context about where I should keep my focus:

“Do fret because of evil men…

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine the like dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn away from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land” (Psalm 37: 1-9, NIV).

God knows the nature of evil better than anyone, and he wants his followers to be careful not to get pulled into the negative dynamics that swirl around it.

Instead, he wants us to keep our focus on him and the unique hope only he can provide through Jesus—which he wants us to continue to share with those around us.

This post first appeared in the latest edition of The Empowered Traveler™ Newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can do that here: Subscribe to Sue’s newsletter.

Feature photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.

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