Although I’ve had a number of jobs throughout my life, my first career was in the newspaper business where I was a reporter and editor. I’ve always enjoyed reading the news and keeping up on current events, but lately the headlines just seem so dour. Here’s a sampling from some of today’s newspapers:
- Iraqi PM Says ISIS planned to hit subways in Paris, US
- “Your Body Makes Me Crazy” PA gym teacher, father of three with pregnant wife, accused of having sex with 15-year-old student in office
- Brooklyn elementary school teacher sexually abused five students
- Jones paid stripper hush money to silence sex assault accusation: suit
- Disturbed Slovak couple give 4-month-old crystal meth to stop him from crying, leaving baby brain dead
- Frenchman Beheaded: Algerian terrorist execute French mountain guide in grisly video
- Woman punched by California Highway Patrolman gets $1.5 million settlement; cop resigns
I know a lot of people who don’t even read or watch the news because it’s so depressing. I can’t say I blame them. And I have to admit that when I was in the newsroom I was part of the problem; sex, drugs, violence, and crime sell newspapers so those are the kinds of stories we would seek out.
But should we as Christians be surprised that our daily news is filled with the depravity of man in our society and our world? I don’t think so.
As Christians we know from scripture that Satan is the ruler of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; John 12:31). But do we really understand what that means? Here’s a pretty good description I just found while looking up these verses:
“The phrase ‘god of this world’ (or ‘god of this age’) indicates that Satan is the major influence on the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His influence also encompasses the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions. Satan is also called the ‘prince of the power of the air’ in Ephesians 2:2. He is the ‘ruler of this world’ in John 12:31. These titles and many more signify Satan’s capabilities. To say, for example, that Satan is the ‘prince of the power of the air’ is to signify that in some way he rules over the world and the people in it. (http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-god-world.html)
So if you buy that definition, it basically means that men and women using their free will are heavily influenced by Satan so that they choose to do things Satan suggests instead of doing things God wants. That may help explain war, terrorism, violence, sexual perversions, drugs, exploitation, child abuse, domestic violence, lying, cheating, stealing and all the other things that seem to make the headlines nowadays.
But as Christians we also should not be consumed by all of this. Scripture is very clear about our role in this world so let me remind you in these days of evil how we are to act:
- Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
- You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Matthew 24:6)
- You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
While our daily grind may feel like a physical battle, it really is a spiritual one – a battle for our souls between God and Satan. And like a lot of battles it may feel as if we’re losing ground as we read those headlines each and every day. It just gets worse and worse out there and you may feel like retreating.
But here’s the good news: we’ve all read the end of the book and we all know we win!
Satan knows this, too, but is going to fight until the bitter end, taking as many with him as he can! But we are already victors – more than conquerors – which means that nothing Satan does in this world should alarm us. Instead we must continue to do what Jesus calls us to do – shine our light and tell others how to join the winning side!
Sometimes it’s hard to think that way – what can one person really do to make a difference? I was just saying to myself the other day that well-known verse from David, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). But then the Holy Spirit told me told me to tell everyone to try something!
This may sound hokey, but I really want you to consider doing it. Go to your bathroom, shut the door and turn off the light. It should be pretty dark depending on what type of bathroom you have. Then light a match – one little, insignificant match. What happens? You can see the entire room.
My friends, each and every one of us is a match that can chase away darkness in our own way – the way that God ordained for each of us individually before the beginning of the world (Ephesians 2:10). You were made on purpose so that you could do the thing God created you to do in this battle behind enemy lines!
All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. (Matthew 28:18) While Satan will rule for a short time, God’s saints must continue to not be discouraged and shine Christ’s light everywhere we go – no matter what the headlines say.