Look around, evil seems to be winning. It seems as if people everywhere are disregarding God’s teachings. Modern culture appears to be shifting away from God. Christianity seems to be dwindling away. Anxiety and fear are on the rise. Is it time to push the panic button? Is Christianity in trouble? Find out, I invite you to read more.
Let’s face it, our crystal balls are cloudy. We all have a limited ability to predict the future. There is, however, one prediction we can make with certainty. God has things under control, and good triumphs over evil in the end. We need not grow weary. 2 Peter 3:13 gives us this hope, “But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
While it may seem as if Christianity is in trouble, facts don’t bear this out. According to a recent study, Christianity is growing at a faster pace than the world’s population. Currently there are over 2.5 billion Christians. Both Protestantism and Catholicism are growing. Percentagewise, Pentecostals and Evangelicals have seen the fastest growth. In real numbers, Catholicism has gained the largest number of new members. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of Catholics alone grew by more than 15 million. Worldwide there is a marked decline in the number of people who claim to be atheists.
Lest we become too elated about the growth in Christianity worldwide, let’s take a closer look at home. The number of Protestants, Catholics, and Christianity in general is declining in Europe, the United States and in other wealthy countries around the world.
There seems to be a direct correlation between wealth and decreasing faith in God. This should be our wake-up call! As people pursue wealth, they often abandon their pursuit of God. At best, God is relegated to second place. Wealth can become a god. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-38, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.”
Perhaps the decline of Christianity in wealthy countries is a clear indication that God is no longer of primary importance in people’s lives. Maybe this is why there is so much anxiety and fear. Could it be that this is why the world seems to be in trouble?
Close to home, Christianity appears to be in trouble, but globally we see a different story. God is hard at work, changing the hearts, minds, and souls of millions of people. Perhaps this is less of a world issue and more a personal issue. Rather than getting ourselves in a panic over doomsday predictions for Christianity, we need to do a little more soul searching. Has materialism taken hold in our own life?
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” 1 Timothy 6:10 warns us, “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.”
To find lasting joy and contentment, we should heed the words of Hebrews 13:5 which states, “Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”
Alone, none of us can change the world. Together, with Christ in our hearts and at our side, we can. So, what must we do? We must first look inward and do a thorough self-examination. We must root out sinfulness and selfishness.
Next, we must look upward. We must give God primacy over our life. We must set forth a plan to live a life pleasing to God. We must make sure that we are not serving mammon.
How do we do this? To begin with, we should set aside at least one hour every week to gather with other Christian friends to discuss our relationship with God. An isolated Christian is an ineffective Christian. We find strength in friendships rooted in Christ. We must make sure we are growing in faith and knowledge of God. We must hold each other accountable.
Finally, we must go forth to grow the Kingdom. If change is going to happen, it will happen one person, and one life, at a time. We must go out and tell our stories. We need to tell others that we were once lost but now we’re found. We need to tell them how Jesus saved us from ourselves. They need to see that God comes first in our life. This is the good news that will change the world. We must share our own conversion story. It will be far more compelling and effective in leading others to Christ than all of the theological, historical, and heady philosophical knowledge we might be inclined to share.
Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37). We have no reason to be anxious about the state of Christianity in the world (Philippians 4:6-7). Worldwide, Christianity is not in trouble. But this doesn’t mean that it may not be in trouble in our own life and in the lives’ of those we care about. Is God first in your life?
Heavenly Father, Psalm 95 tells us to sing joyfully to the Lord. It calls us to bow down and worship you. It makes clear that you are our God, and we are your people. Our pursuit of worldly things blinds us to this truth sometimes. Help us to never forget that you always have us in the palm of your hand. Help us to never worship anything before you Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!
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