We are lashing out at each other too much. Have you noticed it?
Murder, violence, expressions of hatred and vicious verbal attacks. There is absolutely too much of it these days. What is the reason for it?
The Puritans had an insightful saying, “Practice the presence of Christ.” This thought is powerfully suggestive. If we believe that Jesus Christ can change lives, it is equally important to believe that the presence of Christ can change circumstances.
The presence of Jesus Christ can change hostile environments into peaceful environments. There is something about acknowledging the presence of Jesus Christ that overcomes the innate evils that reside in the hearts of men. The supreme ideal of His love, the effective eminence of His glory, and the omnipotence of His power supercede personal responses to hurtful circumstances.
The current mindsets for sedating man’s relationships with men these days are way off base and far from being sufficient. Practicing the presence of government is a pitiful expectation. Practicing the presence of relativistic values does not solve a single thing. Even the call to merely follow your heart presents the effects of a namby-pamby perspective.
Nonetheless, practicing the presence of Christ requires that the principle be exemplified. It is the people of the Church that bear this responsibility. People must see the example before there is any hope of it being embraced by society at large. In some measure, perhaps, the principle is being practiced, but the intensity and consistency of it must be improved to meet the demands and dangers of the day.
The Scripture stipulates that judgment must begin with the House of God. It follows, then, that, if there is to be any spiritual affect or change on the conditions of society, it must first begin with the people of the Church and diligently practiced by the people of the Church. But, in what ways?
First, the people of the Church must practice the presence of Christ by rejecting a racial mindset. Yes, there yet exists in the overall ranks of people associated with the Church too much of a racial attitude. But, that runs contrary to will of God. And, it is proven by the fact that Jesus Christ died for all men of all races. If we are to ever practice the presence of Christ it must begin with the House of God that treats the various races with the love of Christ. Racial divides may be ended or averted with such a mindset influenced by the overwhelming, environmental-changing love of Jesus Christ. How can we lash out at each other when the presence of Christ is manifested by the love of Christ for each other?
Second, the people of the Church must practice the presence of Christ by faithfulness to the Law of God. This is more important than we realize. If our evil environment is to be affected for good, people must see that the people of the Church are living according to a different divine standard, and that this divine standard makes a difference for people to emulate.
The Law of God stipulates that society is best served when people are right with God. If people notice the difference that people of the Church right with God have in their lives, it leads people to want to have the same experience.
Furthermore, the Law of God stipulates that society is best served when people are in right relationships with others. God wants us to live well with each other. His law expects it. The people of the Church should demonstrate the importance of relating well with other people by relating well with others in their own ranks. Do not fail on this point.
Speech is a critical consideration. Vicious speech is used to lash out at other people. Things are often said that only exacerbates a tense situation. Speech seasoned with grace should begin at the House of God..
The main way to quell the current propensity of the people of our culture from lashing out so frequently against each other is to practice the presence of Christ. It is actually that simple. The people of the Church must be committed to exemplify the truth and effectiveness of it.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.
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