Most people who are Christians today try make their faith fit the ways of the world. We see it all the time… the meek and mild Sunday morning churchgoer becomes a knucklehead the rest of the week. The wealthy person who drops $1 in the offering plate and then drops $1000 at Atlantic City. The hardworking career person who trades family, church, and service to the community for more work, work, work to get ahead and be secure and successful.
It is no wonder that people inside the church are disappointed and people outside the church are crying, “hypocrites”. All of this is because the way God intends things to be is this: we change the world to fit our faith.
By getting out and making peace, doing good deeds in love, building hope and health and renewal in our lives our families and our communities, we are putting God’s Kingdom first. Instead of trying to talk Christian talk while living like the troubled ways of the world, we walk the Christian walk and transform the troubles of the world for the better.
This is hard work… and subject to criticism. I mean, after all, the ways of the world are such that most folks put ‘self’ first… so anyone coming around and saying it’s not about self it’s about God is bound to meet resistance.
After Jesus told his followers some pretty depressing things about the way he was going to be treated (and ultimately killed) by the troubled selfish folks of the world, he says this:
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33)
As we hope for all kinds of peace this Christmas season (inner peace, family peace, peace of mind, peace in areas of war and conflict) let’s remember that the reason for the season is the coming of the Kingdom of God in Jesus. With that coming there is a plan for peace and renewal.