See the World as Christ Saw the World
Remember the extent to which God loves the world and gave Himself for it (John 3:16). The world continues to demonstrate why, without God, life becomes tragic. All is vanity and striving after wind (Eccl 1:14-15). The more the world shows itself as “the world,” with its godless, passing lusts and clear opposition to the gospel, the clearer and more unequivocal our choice must be.
Yet it also highlights the extent to which God loved the world when He could have justly destroyed everyone and provided no hope. Take a moment to read Ephesians 2:1-10. Without the grace offered by God, we would remain dead in our trespasses and sins, captive to the spirit at work in the sons of disobedience, and children of wrath. There would be hope whatsoever. This is why God’s grace is so rich and powerful. God is offering to pull us out of this fire.
We cannot fix the world, but the world can be saved, and the gospel of God’s grace is the only means by which this can happen. The more the world tries to fix itself, the worse things seem to get. This is because we don’t have a good solution from ourselves to deal with sin. We are the ones in sin and in need of the Savior. Our answer is not to try to fix things ourselves, but rather to submit to the One who holds the plan of salvation, forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation.
Seeing the world as Jesus does means understanding that the depth of antagonism means that we may well be called on to suffer for His sake. Peter wrote,
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (1 Pet 4:12-16).
This also means that opportunities to glorify God will abound. When the world is so antagonistic toward God, there is an opportunity to show what the gospel can do. There is an opportunity to highlight the contrast of what Christians stand for in Christ. In the first century, for example, what really sparked the spread of the gospel was that initial persecution (cf. Acts 8:1). While no one wants to be persecuted, there is going to be a purging effect that attends the world’s antagonism. The message of repentance will take on an even stronger meaning. The decision to follow Christ cannot be done in secret. Who we are and how we have chosen to live in Christ will demand a commitment that we may never have yet known.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory” (Phil 2:14-16).
“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Pet 2:12)
Seeing the world as Jesus means seeing a world that is lost and helpless. This is what Jesus saw: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt 9:36)
Have compassion on a world that is lost and helpless. Jesus did. It does not mean ignoring sin, but it does mean providing the means by which people may be freed from sin. It means providing the reason why repentance is needed. Rather than just complain about how bad things are in this world (and it ever will be), let us be concerned with bringing God's solution into the world through our lives and words. Bring the Gospel. Complaint without the Gospel does no one any good at all. God presents the solution right in front of us.