• Making a Difference Begins With Unlocking God’s Forgiveness
• Change Starts With Our Heart
• Change Starts With Prayer
• Change Starts With Humility
• A Prayer for America
According to Rick Steves, there are two kinds of European tourists: “Those who view Europe through air-conditioned bus windows, socializing with their noisy American friends, and those who are taking a vacation from America, immersing themselves in different cultures, experiencing different people and lifestyles, and broadening their perspectives.”1 If we hope to avoid being lumped with the “Ugly Americans” of the first group, Steves recommends behaving more like guests than critics. This requires taking a genuine interest in the people and places we visit. We may prefer our American customs and culture, but expecting locals to share our feelings would be insensitive.
Christians living in America, or any modern nation, would be wise to follow this advice. As citizens of heaven, we yearn for the holiness and customs of our homeland. But we cannot expect our neighbors and politicians to adopt the Bible as their Magna Carta if Jesus Christ is not their Lord. Rather than pointing out all of the ways our culture falls short of God’s standards, we can conduct ourselves like travel agents who are appointed to promote heaven—and all that it entails—as the ideal destination. Our life and ministry will be more fruitful and pleasant if we take a thoughtful approach.
Making a Difference Begins With Unlocking God’s Forgiveness
It’s been an interesting study to watch believers stand in pulpits and criticize our culture as evil. Indeed, it would be hard to disagree with the truth of that statement. Yet, there is a Bible verse that outlines simple steps for making a difference in our lives and our nation, and we don’t find a commentary on cultural finger-pointing. What we find is a call for God’s people to repent. This is the key to unlock God’s forgiveness and healing for our nation.
Second Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Change Starts With Our Heart
Everyone who has conducted a definitive study on revival has pointed out that renewal doesn’t start in the culture. It begins in the Church. It begins in the heart of the Christian. And perhaps one of the things we can learn from some of our past failures is that if we ever get to the place where we become so culture-minded that we are not Christ-minded, we are doomed to failure. We offer the world only the emptiness of our own rhetoric. We must come to them with hearts that are overflowing with the love of God and the peace of Jesus Christ. And then we can make a difference in this world.
• A Prayer for National Unity and Hope for Tomorrow
• Making Sense of God and Politics in America: A Bible Study for the Christian Voter
• How to Experience God's Blessing
Change Starts With Prayer
I could prove to you from history that the most significant changes in American culture have not started in crowded rallies or even in patriotic demonstrations. They have begun in quiet, small gatherings where people began to pray. And they began to pray that God would make a difference in their country. The four great spiritual awakenings that have been historically chronicled in this country were fueled by a few people seeking after God. And it began to grow until it exploded into a revival that no one could understand if they didn’t know God.
Change Starts With Humility
If we stand up and don’t kneel down, we will have ignored the most powerful resource God has given us to win the battle before us. A Christian stands the tallest when he is on his knees. We have forgotten that humility cultivates change in the culture. Some evangelical leaders call us to political mobilization and strategic marketing. Those may not be bad ideas, but God wants the Church to begin with mourning for what’s happening in our culture—and to take responsibility for whatever part we have had in it.
We shake our heads at the demise of prayer in schools, and then we don’t pray when we have the freedom and the right to do it. Statistics suggest that, while we champion the sanctity of life, we abandon our children at the same rate as non-Christians. The problem is not entirely “out there.” It’s in our hearts. And the rebuilding begins with humbling ourselves before God.
Please join me in praying for the future of our nation and searching the Scriptures for godly wisdom.
In all history, there has been only one nation like America—founded by pilgrims seeking freedom to worship, established on a vast continent between two oceans, dedicated to the proposition that we are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights: One nation under God.
You have delivered us in war, prospered us in peace, and raised up generations willing to offer the last full measure of their devotion for the preservation of liberty at home and abroad.
We have been a light for the world.
From our shores has gone the greatest missionary force in history.
But now, Lord, America has fallen into darkness, disobedience, and indifference.
We have sinned; and we, Your people, Lord, humble ourselves, and pray and seek Your face, and turn from our wicked ways. Please forgive our sin and heal our land.
Give us leaders who understand the times and know what we should do. May the torch of liberty burn brightly, inflamed by the goodness of Your people.
God, bless America.
In Jesus’ Name.