It is all too often that I encounter people with with a criticism for everything. The state of the economy. Hollywood. Politics. The color of the wall. It’s not that they are particularly angry or hypercritical people- I catch myself doing this, too, if I’m in a bad mood. I also understand the reasons for the malcontent because this world is not heaven, and there are bound to be problems. The bigger problem (in my opinion) is living solely on defensive mode.
“In the world, not of it” is one statement that is important to how a Christian should live his or her life. However, there are those that seem to misinterpret this to mean lock yourself in a closet and throw away the key. You may stay fairly safe there. But what will happen in your absence? It sounds dramatic to say “all hell will break loose”, but in some area you could have made a difference in.. it just might. Where there is an absence of godly activity, it’s easy to see what fills the gap- but sadly, Christians have a tendency to withdraw from the areas they are needed most.
Everyone was made for a purpose, and is equipped to alter the future of other people’s lives. You can be engaged in the world while not pursuing being adversely affected by the world, and that engagement versus disengagement is a big part of your stay here on earth. You were meant to engage others with Christ’s love (e.g. hold their attention, not propose 😉 ). When I hear someone share a complaint, I often mentally take note, because it makes me curious- could that individual be just the right person to make a difference in the very area that drives them crazy? I think that, in many cases, yes.
Being a soldier for Christ means more than ducking for cover. It also means engaging in battle and winning. Maybe not in every battle. Maybe not right away- and things are liable to get a lot worse in this world before Christ’s return. Yet that does not mean that we have any right to throw in the towel and give up on righting wrongs and changing lives- altering industries and improving what we can. We not only have the ability, but the obligation to be on the oppositional offensive.
Opposition is characterized by being against something, and being on the offensive is characterized by aggressiveness. Neither of these words suggest apathy, but instead active resistance. Living on the oppositional offensive means that rather than living on defense and only fretting at how bad things are, you choose to make every effort to actively participate in changing the state of things for the better through positive means. Even if it only creates one little corner of improvement in the world, that is one beacon of light in the darkness. There is a possibility that it could be used to light other lights if somebody were to continue or join your effort and clear another corner of the world with God’s light and love. Like in battle, you might fall on your face and get scraped and scarred. That’s okay because this isn’t a “safe” world, and if you fight battles, you’re going to get hurt- but it will be worth it.
Don’t get me wrong: sometimes we need to duck, and to run fast. However, we wouldn’t have been given the armor of God if we weren’t going to have to use it in battle. What annoys you? Rude people? Be kind. Bad music? Make better music. Politics? Run for office or participate in a campaign to get someone elected. Know that you won’t always go noticed, and you may not have George Lucas-sized influence on Hollywood. You may not have the publishing agent of a popular book, but you might be able to get published anyway. It is never, though, a question of whether you can be on the offensive. You can. God can equip you (at the right time and in the right way for the right reasons).
Imagine what would happen if everyone stopped complaining and started creating. Nothing would ever be the same.