Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think And Act 10.30.13 – Why We Shouldn’t Focus On The Negative

It is very tempting to focus on the negative.  Let me start locally.  Akron is a city that find itself in great turmoil. There is a lot of crime, some of it in my own neighborhood.  Things seem unsettled, certainly it’s unnerving, and there is plenty of evidence to prove that.

So I should panic, right? Moving out in fear seems to be a great option. Sound sensible?

I’m not here to criticize anyone for where they choose to live.  I want to challenge the thinking that because bad things are happening, we should panic.  The answer to the question about moving? It’s not for us. As believers, our sense of call is way bigger than the negative going on around us. Here are a few reasons we shouldn’t focus so much on the negative around us.

1. We can’t escape the negative. 

Once the world was perfect. Then, Adam and Eve sinned. And one of their first two offspring killed the other.  I’m pretty sure the world has been a messed up place from the beginning.  Sin is everywhere. Romans 3:23 clearly states that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Even if they have a lot of money.

Nice big houses and pretty streets may be a bit safer, but the people are just as crooked. Crime rates may be lower elsewhere, but the sin is just as wicked. Guaranteed. “Desperate Housewives” is popular for a reason.

2. Calling is bigger than danger.

This is very Biblical. Character after character (ultimately Jesus) pursued God’s design for their lives despite great danger. It seems like when you have a strong calling and a desire to tell the truth, danger is going to be a part of it somehow.  Not always, to be sure, but there’s no way the two are mutually exclusive.  Missionaries all the world over put themselves (and, gasp, their families) at great danger in the name of telling the truth about Jesus.

We MUST ask ourselves about our calling. Might God call us to live in a place that feels a bit unsafe? Jesus did. Jeremiah did. Paul did. I’m not saying everyone has to live in dangerous areas to be considered spiritual. What I’m saying is that because there is negativity and danger doesn’t necessarily mean we should shy away. When I think of the multiple murders in our neighborhood, attempted murder on our street, multiple break-ins, seemingly crazy crimes fueled by hatred , large fights at 2:00 a.m. outside our window, theft, etc (this is inclusive of the 12 years we’ve lived here)., I remember verses like these:

Matthew 10:28 (ESV): And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

3. The criminals will make good evangelists.

The goal isn’t to control, avoid, compartmentalize, or marginalize the criminals.  Certainly the wicked bent on ill intent should face the law.  But, there is no way we should avoid praying, engaging, interacting, and trying to find an opportunity to share. One of the Bible’s greatest evangelists was a criminal – Saul of Tarsus, known to us as the apostle Paul. If no one evangelizes people in trouble, they never get the hope of Jesus.

There was an incident over the weekend where a 13 year old young man stole a truck, went on a brief joy ride, and rammed a police car. Praise God the whole incident ended with no serious injuries. But, the young man is in trouble.  Do we simply read a story and shake our head? No, we pray for his salvation. We pray that God will work in our city, our region, our globe, and show us His glory in people’s lives. We’ve seen some seemingly out of control lives dramatically changed for the better because of Jesus, and so we press on, believing God can work in any situation and any life.

It can definitely be the purpose of God to use the outwardly dangerous and hardened to glorify Himself. The outwardly sinful often are the most ripe for inward transformation.

 

Think. These are a few thoughts about why I think we should focus on breathing hope rather than focusing on the negative. Would you ever be willing to risk your comfort if God called you to live in a dangerous place?

Act. Pray. Seek. And, no matter where you live, smash the idols of comfort and be ready to lay down your life in service to Jesus!

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