Ephesians 4:17 -19 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
It sounds as if Paul’s writing to us today doesn’t it? It describes the world outside my door perfectly. My son tells me many in his generation are wondering if they really should have children nowadays. They wonder if it would be right to bring kids into the world when it is in such a mess. What a sad, defeatist attitude.
When we look at the world around us, with all the horrendous acts of violence and the overtolerance of sexual deviations, greed and corrupt human behavior, it almost is tempting to pull an ostrich stunt. Just tuck out heads in the sand and close our eyes. Hide under the bushel. Run into the church for shelter from all the bombs of evil and immorality raining down and huddle together with the faithful, isolated from all that destruction out there. Pray for Jesus to protect us, and to hurry up and come back for us. Take us away.
But is that what we are called to do? Later on in this letter to the Ephesians Paul talks about putting on the full armor of God. To me that means we are to get out here and battle for lives. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to equip us to go out amongst all that is wrong and help people find what is right. We need to go out with the shrapnel of evil peltering all around us and tend to the wounded.
In Romans, Paul says this – “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”(vv. 29-31)
It is passages like these that make me realize the world probably has not changed as much as I think. Paul wrote this over 2000 years ago. It didn’t stop him from getting out there and spreading the Truth of the Gospel. Many people thought then it was the end times and Jesus’ return was eminent. Many today believe that as well. The signs are there, but weren’t they also there in the first century? These passages seem to say so.
God is the only one who knows. What we know is that in these in-between times, we can call on Him to break through the evil and protect us so we can do our job – to carry on what He did on earth, healing souls, one victim at a time. It was our Lord’s last command on earth and the reason He sent the Holy Spirit. If the end times are eminent, isn’t it all the more reason to get out there?