April 17, 2013
READ: 2 Chronicles 7:1-22
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land (v.14).
I was speaking with three friends about the lamentable condition of our country, America. They mentioned the continued practice of abortion, the rise of homosexual marriage, and the debt crisis. One friend cited
2 Chronicles 7:14 and said that our nation’s problems will only be solved when our country turns to God. I said that would be difficult to pull off, as America believes in the separation of church and state. We Americans cannot compel Muslims, Buddhists or atheists to worship Yahweh. Nor would we want to. Life goes badly—both for those inside and outside the church—whenever Christianity becomes the religion of the state.
But this doesn’t mean that 2 Chronicles 7:14 doesn’t apply to us. Peter declares that God’s people are the church, which is a kingdom of “royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Our problem is not that my country is failing to live Christianly, but that the church is failing to live as God’s holy nation. Christians have the same marriage challenges and other problems as people who don’t claim to know Jesus. This is a scandalous black eye on the bride of Christ.
We can’t compel others to live righteously, but what if we followed Peter’s command to “show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light”? (v.9). We may be outnumbered, but we could still make a difference.
The early church did so much for so many that in AD 362, Julian the Apostate complained he couldn’t return the Roman Empire to paganism. How could he persuade the average Roman that Christians were bad, when “the impious Galileans support not only their own poor but ours as well”?
May revival come to my nation, and may it start with me. —Mike Wittmer
Read 1 Peter 2:9-25 to learn how you can make a difference for Jesus in your world.
How does it affect unbelievers when ‘Christians’ are unholy and unloving and seem to sin as much as they do? How can you more selflessly model Jesus?