Though I grew up in the chruch, I very quickly understood and assimilated the message of our secular culture: Keep your faith to yourself! Keep it hidden, don't talk about it, and don't share it with anyone else. But that's not what Jesus told us to do. He instructs us to share our faith and teach people about the Gospel. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Moreover, Jesus calls us to be salt and light. Does salt not affect the flavor of the food it seasons? And does light not illuminate the area in which it shines? Has the Church in America quietly bowed under the intimidation of a secular society, and hidden its light under a basket? Jesus clearly intends for us as individual believers and the Body of Christ as a whole to have an impact on the world in which we live. But sometimes it seems like the Church is hiding in a hole, disconnected from the rest of the world.
It's very important to read, to hear, to study and to know God's word, and understand how to apply God's word to your own life, to walk in purity and to allow the Word of God to make you more and more like Jesus every day. And the churches I've attended over the last 25 years have done a pretty good job of helping people to do this. But it occurs to me that there's another step beyond this that seems to be missing.
Now, I haven't conducted any polls — which would be interesting — but ask yourself these questions:
- Does your church, from the pulpit, talk about what's going on around us today in our society, culture, and government?
- Does your pastor help you to analyze these events from a biblical worldview, and discuss what we can do as individual believers and together as the Body of Christ to influence our society for godliness?
- Does your church train its members — all of them! — on how to share their faith effectively, and how to defend their faith in a secular, atheistic and often hostile world?
Truly we cannot be salt and light if our only focus is internal, and we fail to collectively engage with the culture around us and the important events of our day.
So What Can You Do?
The first thing that every believer can do immediately is to pray! Pray for the Church, and pray for this nation. Ask the Lord to be speaking to the leaders of His Church to give them vision and strategy on how to be more relevant and impactful on the society in which we live, and how to most effectively share the Gospel with people in today's cultural context. Be aware of what's going on in the world! Get connected, and pray specifically in each situation for God's will, and for His righteousness to prevail.
Individual and corporate prayer can have a great impact! As the Lord leads, perhaps you can then consider ways in which your church can train and empower its members to share the truth of the Gospel with others and influence our nation for righteousness, that the light of our faith and the love of Jesus may shine brightly over all our land.