Q. Why are Christians so powerless in impacting the world? We’re not like the old pioneers of the Faith. What went wrong?
A. Satan’s purpose is to make us ineffective in believing and using the authority and truth of God’s Word. He foists on us a minority status, getting us to believe that Christians are irrelevant in this world. In Matt 5:13-16 Jesus says that we are to be salt and light in the world. Salt is for taste and a preservative. Light represents seeing and exposes what is in the dark. His warning of the danger of not being salt and light is an insightful prediction of two major reactions minority groups display under pressure.
Take the salt-less scenario first. To be salt-less, salt gets diluted, no longer salty and so becomes useless. This happens when Christians blend into society, going along and compromising with it. Christians become indistinguishable from the world in thought and life.
The second scenario is a laager mentality. A candle hidden under a measuring can shows Christians holding tightly to their truths, resisting compromise, circling the wagons, and retreating into a tribal subculture. Behind this fortress they form a ghetto, which they feel to be right, good, spiritual and safe. They even speak in a tribal Christian jargon.
Jesus says that both these directions are wrong. We must see that we are at war and get into the battle, resisting the enormous pressures that push us in either direction. His people are to be salt and light in the world!
Without saltiness we blend in and sync with the world. There’s no tension or conflict and we’re so comfortable. With our light hidden in a tribal mentality, we become so isolated that we have no contact with the world; more comfortable! But both strategies are ungodly; here we get more security from our relationship to society, and less security from God.
Thus the salt-less people see evangelism as less and less necessary because it’s awfully divisive, so why cause trouble? For the tribals, evangelism is more difficult. They have no worldly friends, do not speak their language, and have to invent unnatural ways for it to happen. This polarisation will not get better by itself. And Satan’s forces against us are getting worse.
Can we solve the problem? We HAVE to – and we can!
- Find your security in depending on the Lord Himself and in His Word – stop worrying about how the world sees us; their vision is distorted by Satan.
- Honour your God-given part in the Body of Christ – and make it strong by your commitment to Christ and each member in Him; we need each other! But avoid becoming ‘tribal’ – develop an aggressive outward look, taking the simple Gospel to the world, and a heart that loves and cares.
- Discuss with, and learn from, your brethren in Christ how you could become more effective in winning the lost for Christ. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to interface with the world and minister Christ into hopeless hearts.
- Christians are afraid of meeting challenges about their faith. Let Jesus’ love conquer those fears. Think through the arguments unbelievers pose and seek God’s answers for them. Fear will make you either reticent and timid, or belligerent and bombastic. Speak calmly; be natural; don’t be weird.
- Peter tells Christians to be prepared to give a defence for their hope – 1 Pet 3:15-16. He doesn’t say, “Just wing it”; he says to be prepared.
- Never forget that the whole of the Godhead is with you and behind you – and so are your brothers in the Lord!
- Be filled with the Spirit Who gives you power to witness – Acts 1:8.