The way we live is getting crazier every day. The pace of life is spinning out of control – the opinion-based striving, the desperation for outward success, the fight to be seen as important so that you can feel important.
In many ways, we see our personal lives as democracies – where we open ourselves up to everyone’s opinions and convictions. In an ideal world where everyone loves each other and where everyone is fully aware of the consequences of their actions, it could work. But as much as democracy could work to rule nations, it is a poor governance system for the soul.
Jesus was born into the world during the rule of the Roman Empire. Tyranny was the way authority was established. His nation was literally beaten into submission – their sacred places were defiled and their culture was ridiculed mercilessly. In many ways, this is a clear picture of our society today – where self-image is defiled and difference is ridiculed in many direct and subversive forms.
Yet in that chaos 2017 years ago, Jesus came with a simple message. One that preceded any miracle he performed:
“Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” Matthew 3:2 (ESV)
That phrase, “at hand”, actually indicates ‘extreme closeness’. Jesus brought God’s rule as close as it could ever get – close enough for us to reach out and take hold of it.
Instead of opening ourselves up to the fickle waves of this shallow world, we can ground ourselves upon the opinion of a God who has seen it all and who has authority that out-shadows the greatest successes on this earth.
All it takes is for us to reach out – to give up the concerns of this current world for something so much greater. That’s the essence of repentance. To shed what we have tried to build on our own and vulnerably invite the power of the Creator God to rule our lives instead.
This is my prayer – that my generation in South Africa would reach for God’s authority in the midst of our struggles; that there will be a clear desperation focused towards God instead of each other; and that we will live affirmed by God and nothing else.
David Webster – Powerhouse Stellies Leader