“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We’re facing cultural upheaval as never before, but it does not take Jesus by surprise.
Owen Strachan, author of the book Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome, says Christians are called to radical faith when culture around us is shifting. Long-held values and identities, including those extending to gender, have been altogether rejected. Believers in biblical values are quickly finding themselves in the minority in the workplace and in many churches. However, there is hope.
“Jesus predicted this sort of situation and He called us not simply to endure it with a grim look on our face.”
Instead we are challenged to be of good cheer.
“Be of good cheer in the midst of a fallen world. Not because we escape to the desert. Not because when we become a Christian, God magically makes all of our serious and pains and struggles go away.”
“Be of good cheer because God is with us.”
Jesus promise to never leave us or forsake us, should lead us to joy.
“Be of good cheer. No matter what’s going on.”
It takes an intention of perspective to hold this hope as we see challenge after challenge on the horizon.
When the definition of marriage changes, when biblical values are seen as narrow-minded rather than solid and timeless, when praying in public can cause backlash and hostility, our temptation is to withdraw and wait for God to come for us. Owen says that’s the wrong approach – and it’s an approach that says our God is not big enough to care for us.
“So many people just lives out of fear. They live their life in bitterness. [They think] life is not about positive change; life is not about growth. It’s about simply existing and getting by, and too many of us find ourselves in that trap. Even as believers!”
Owen wants to shake us from our stupor to live sacrificial, joyfully abandoned lives for God.
“Jesus is trying to dislodge us from our stasis. Jesus wants us to be on the move.”