We live in rapidly changing times. More scientists, more technology, more information, more capacity to communicate and travel, more of nearly everything exists today than once existed, and more is being added as I write. Nothing stands still.
Meanwhile, Christians are supposed to live “in the world” while being “not of the world” even as they go “into the world” (John 17). We’re here in 2011 for a purpose. We’re supposed to be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation.
But how do we do this if we don’t understand the principles and values God gave us in his Word, and how do we do this if we don’t understand the times in which we live?
In the Old Testament, we read the story of King David's effort to unite the kingdom of Israel. To help King David win the battles ahead of him, God sends to David a long list of "mighty men of valor." These men were seasoned soldiers who knew battle tactics and weaponry and who were men of great courage.
But right in the middle of this long list of mighty soldiers, God sends the men of Issachar, and the only thing on their resume is that they were men "who understood the times, to know what Israel ought to do." While they could fight, their main contribution was to give King David sound advice.
Their value to David was that they not only understood what was happening but why it was happening and whether or not it was a good thing.
Now, this is what we need today. We need Christian "men and women of Issachar" who understand their times. This means that Christians must understand the Bible, God's Word, as well as learn about the ideas that influence our nation.
If you're a Christian, you should be able to relate God's unchanging biblical principles to these rapidly changing times. You and I should be able to apply the principles and values of a biblical worldview in our lives, in our cultures, and in our times. We should be able to “give the reason for the hope that you have” with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
What does a Christian worldview have to offer the environmental movement? What really does a biblical understanding of life and Christian faith suggest we should do in the Middle East? What is a truly Christian view of stem cell research? Is Christianity relevant to public morality? Are Christian values regarding family, sexuality, and personal morality still valid and meaningful in 2011? When should, if ever, a Christian go to war? Is there really a Christian view on capital punishment? How can Christian values be fairly represented in education, entertainment, law, medicine, politics?
My point is this. The Christian life must be lived-out in the world. That's what James meant when he said, "Faith without works is dead." We should live our faith in a relevant way.
How many Christians do you know who have faith but don't do anything with it? And how many Christians do you know who know a little about the Bible but have never learned how to connect Bible truths to the everyday world?
Let's read, learn, and "study to show ourselves approved." Let's become a man or woman of Issachar who understands the times. Let's change the world.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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