The current issue of our Intermission magazine is about the ‘battle’ humanity finds itself in. The battle against spiritual evil. The battle against injustice. The battle against ourselves. There’s some pretty deep stuff in here.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Jairus, I don’t actually think I’m in a battle.” Well, whether you believe you’re in one or not, you’re bound to recognise that there’s something not quite ‘right’ with the world you live in. And there’s something not quite right with humanity either. With me. With you.
Paul wrote in Romans 7:15-16, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” How perfectly does this describe the battle raging within us and the world? The division of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and lies. Something is broken. And I believe it’s time we start recognising that God does not intend for it to stay that way. And, perhaps more importantly, he doesn’t mean for us to passively watch on either!
The kingdom of evil and the Kingdom of Heaven
This realm, this kingdom of brokenness and lies, is visible every day. It rules in the news, where we see what subjective, biased producers want us to see.
We see it in romance movies, where teenagers are taught that the most important things about a relationship are how physically attracted you are to the other and how they make you feel.
We see it in politics and bills that are passed, where men and women push forward policies, not based on the common good and the public majority, but upon their own personal agendas and vendettas.
This is not what God intends for our world to look like. This is not how God intends for us to act. So what do I think of when I imagine the Kingdom of God? And what could God be calling us to? What does this “Kingdom of Heaven” that his Son talked about so often look like?
Does it look like a marriage, in which the foundation of the relationship is not about how the couple makes each other feel, but about serving and strengthening each other so that they can better follow God?
Does it look like a news reporter who pursues truth and the authentic presentation of facts to the public, so that the leaders of our country are held accountable for their actions?
Does it look like a God-follower throwing himself or herself into the political realms so they can walk into the public spheres of our communities and, instead of yelling, "I have all the answers!" humbly ask, "What are the questions I should be asking?"
I’m sure you can agree that, when you imagine the Kingdom of Heaven, it looks entirely different to what we often experience. Or even how we ourselves tend to act.
So what now?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m not writing this article just for the sake of it. I’m not trying to sound enthusiastic and passionate for fun. I am genuinely pleading with you to begin considering this question: “Am I happy about the current condition of the world?”
I, for one, feel my heart starting to beat a little bit faster when I ask myself that question. My imagination takes over, and I feel my faith beginning to grow and anger – yes anger - bubbling up as I come to realise how subtly and how effectively Satan has twisted things. Or how we've twisted them ourselves.
This article isn’t your typical Intermission piece in which I write a thousand words and ask you some questions to reflect on at the end. This article is meant to create a hunger within you for change. It’s supposed to remind you that God intends for us to do something about the brokenness and evil we see in this world. And it’s supposed to help you realise that first: we need to become aware of the enemy we are facing. And second: we need to devise some strategies so we can fight back. I'm sure that, without both of these working together, we will lack the power that God intends to give us.
In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says this:
"Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
So how about it, fellow Christians? Will you be someone who walks through the evil and broken places of this world and overcomes and restores it into the image of the Kingdom of Heaven? Will you move as Jesus did through the shadows and call on God to fill them with light? Will you be a soldier in the battle for the Kingdom of Heaven? Because the enemy is out there. And God is continuously looking for someone who is willing to put up a fight.