Following Their Examples
God’s salvation and redemption of our sinful world will not be fast and easy. God’s redemption is not something happens “out there” nor is it only for a few. It will be complete. Governments, political and economic systems, social structures will be exposed for their inability to make a safe and free world and will be judged for the injustice and oppression they create. Personal sin will be judged. Our lives will be shaken to the core and tested by fire, until all that remains is what matters to God, what counts for eternity. Jesus’ coming will mean the fall of the oppressive status quo and the rising of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. There will be a great upheaval and reversal which will be opposed and resisted by those who have the most to lose, but welcomed and embraced by the powerless and marginalized.
If we are to be those who long for God’s redemption, then we must be like Simeon and Anna, whose lives were completely oriented toward God, full of prayer and worship. They recognized in this tiny infant, the “consolation of Israel” which Zechariah prayed for in the temple. Though in their old age, Simeon and Anna must have seen many false prophets claiming to be the Messiah. Like Simeon and Anna, we must be careful not to be deceived by today’s false prophets promising life apart from God, salvation without cost and suffering. We must discern the still, small voice of God calling us to walk in the narrow way of the kingdom, and shut out the clamoring voices beckoning us to pursue the way of the American dream. When we do this, then we, too, will rest in the peace of God.
—Ms. Susie Wong
- Name examples of institutional/systemic sin where people have been or are being oppressed and exploited.
- Who or what are today’s “false prophets”? (Don’t just think in religious terms.) What kinds of promises do they make?
- How are your pursuing the American dream? How does this compromise or work against your following Jesus?
How Do I Act?
- Look for places in the news where people are being oppressed and exploited. Put up a reminder of this news in a prominent place. Pray for them every day.
- Examine your life goals and ambitions. Begin to align them with the poor and powerless.
- Look at how you spend your time. Set aside a regular time each week to invest in ministering to needy people in your area. Be creative about work hours. Use flex time or a company volunteer program, etc.
- These questions and actions are not meant to be quick and easy, one-time things but are an attempt to reorient our whole lives towards obedience and discipleship in light of God’s coming kingdom. Pray and work consistently to take the little steps necessary in this direction.