What Are You Staring At?

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

One of my favorite Facebook memes of all time is this “quote”:

“The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine.” – Abraham Lincoln

I laugh every time I see that.  But, as funny as it is, the world is filled with misinformation and skewed opinions.  The trivial has become the utmost important.  Morals are twisted to the point of being unrecognizable.  Accountability is merely a matter of blaming someone else and holding them accountable for the ills in our lives.

This world is a mess.

But I didn’t need to tell you that.  You live here, too.

It isn’t easy being a Christian these days.  And I don’t know that it is going to get any easier – at least not anytime soon.  Here in America we face minor discomfort, but in many countries Christians are truly persecuted, killed for their beliefs.

Very few of us in America know what persecution feels like. We can go to church freely, drive around with fish symbols on our cars, talk and write openly about the love of Christ and the wonder of having a relationship with Him.

Still many western Christians seem to be afraid.  Afraid of what laws the government might pass.  Afraid of being overrun by society’s acceptance of social mores we do not embrace.  Afraid of the far off-kilter portrayal Christians receive in the media.

Consider this: do you really believe the media are going to be objective toward Christians?  Allegations of hatred and “narrow-mindedness” – an astoundingly hypocritical charge to level against Christians if you think about who is truly being intolerant in this scenario – sell far more advertising in our dumbed-down, reality TV minded society than goodness and peace.  Sex and violence sells.  Christianity simply doesn’t deliver the salacious sizzle.

And that, dear friends, is a good thing.

Here in America, many of us suffer from media paralysis.   We search the Internet for information.  We watch the news to find out what’s going on.  We are overly consumed by the evil the swirls all around us.

And we wonder why we have such difficulty experiencing the peace of Christ.

We forget the words of God revealed to – and recorded by – men far wiser than I:

Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
and be not envious of the wicked,
for the evil man has no future;
the lamp of the wicked will be put out. – Proverbs 24:19-20 (ESV)

This is a point King David – a man who knew a thing or two about being pursued by evildoers – expounds upon:

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

– Psalm 37:1-20 (ESV)

In other words, don’t focus on the works of those who stand up against the Lord.  Do not fear their victory or worry about the outcome of their deeds.  Quit staring into the maelstrom of this world’s sinful ills.

Instead, focus on Christ.  Keep both hands on the wheel without distraction.  Do what God says to do.  Love one another.  Love your enemies.  Be generous.  Be kind.  Be humble.  Be peaceful and peaceable.  Be strong in your faith in Jesus.  Fix your gaze on Truth and Love and Hope, knowing God has a plan that is beyond our comprehension.

Don’t worry, friend.  Rest in Christ.  Walk faithfully in His Love.  Look upward.

And turn that TV off.


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