Whatever happened to the “shining city on a hill,” as President Reagan and other leadersonce used to describe America? The description, of course, originated with Jesus Christ. Yet our nation, once a shining flame of freedom, is well on its way to becoming a flickering ember of debt, despair, dissension, and defeat. It does not have to continue.
Who bears the greatest responsibility for this predicament? I believe Christians do—those believers who are called to be light and reveal “The Light” of the world in order to inspire the ongoing presence of a true shining city that cannot be hidden.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that we as believers are both salt and light. Salt helps preserve that which is precious and important while enhancing the flavor. Likewise, the Christian witness should have a positive effect on every aspect of life and culture. Jesus said that if salt loses its effect, it is good for nothing but to be trampled under the feet of men. Sure enough, everything sacred is being trampled under the feet of those who consider God unimportant or non-existent. Faith, family, and freedom are being trampled by many who call themselves liberals, socialists, progressives, and activists.
The multitudes are stumbling in darkness because many who have been commanded to put the light in a prominent place—on a lampstand—have actually hidden and diminished their influence on the public by accepting religious coverings, false comfort, compromise, and complacency. Light reveals danger and pitfalls while illuminating the path to security and success. Is it any wonder we are in such trouble when salt and light fails to fulfill its divine assignment?
While it’s true that these are “the last days,” this in no way justifies a lack of commitment and action. Don’t use foolish, fatalistic apathy to dismiss personal responsibility or reassign blame. The apostle Paul, the disciples, and New Testament Christians believed they were living in the last days. Still, they did not rest. They faithfully began a spiritual revolution, turning their upside-down world right-side up. They were bold, fearless, and uncompromising witnesses. They could not help but speak the things they had seen and heard because they had experienced more than mere words or religion. They were moved to action by the Spirit of God, overflowing from them and controlling every aspect of their lives.
Paul continually warned people day and night with tears, calling for repentance. He challenged every one of us as true believers to “fight the fight of faith as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He urged us to put on the whole armor of God, fighting against the principalities and powers of darkness. Peter commanded believers to be alert and diligent because their adversary continuallystalks like a “roaring lion.” Jesus commanded us to make disciples of the nations. He sent us in the midst of wolves but not to be devoured by the wolves. We are to be ambassadors for truth, overcomers in this life, more than conquerors, walking over all the power of the enemy because the might of His kingdom presence prevails in our personal lives, enabling us to lift Jesus up so high He draws all men unto Himself.
Do not accept “last days” apathy. We are to be witnesses until He comes. We do not accept defeat, and we do not give one square inch of our lives or our land to the enemy without fighting for everything Jesus died to redeem. We do not love the world or the things in this world at the expense of loving God and our neighbors. We are anxious to share and bless as we are blessed, and we do not allow our possessions to possess us. Remember, it’s not what we have that’s the issue, but what “has” us. Do not be distracted from your divine assignment. Now is the time to awaken, gird up your loins, lift the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit, and go out to win the battle against the devil and the godless, self-serving, and meaningless promises of mere men.
The Lord is our hope and Christ in us, the hope of glory revealed through us to a world in darkness, despair, and defeat. Arise and shine! Become salt, preserving and protecting the precious—beginning with the lives of the unborn—and freely offer help to the hurting. Become the light, revealing the way out of the pit and back into the promised blessings of God upon all who acknowledge He is Lord! We can rejoice again in the blessings of the Lord and freely share them with others.