The World's Not Safe!

Intro

The world is not safe. It’s true. And it’s probably something you have already figured out on your own. Or, at least, you’re starting to realize that more and more everyday. Who can’t help thinking about how dangerous the world is when everyday we are bombarded with news about death and famine and sex trafficking; everywhere we see images of devastation and war and pain.
Everything seems like it’s ready to fall apart at any minute. There is heartache and corruption in every corner of the earth and the problems that plague humanity seem enormous – world hunger, tsunamis, genocide, terrorism, lack of natural resources. Not to mention that all this big huge stuff that the world is dealing with is piled on top of your life and your parents being stressed or gone and friends leaving or you having to move again. Then there’s school and college coming at you with life and choices and mistakes and failure all looming over you! How can you possibly be expected to handle all this instability with faith, hope, and love when you’re not even sure you can survive it?! There are some answers that God offers because he understands; so dig in to find out more.

Story

When I first went to college, I got so excited about my classes. I was amazed at the way my justice class applied to my psychology class and those two were relevant to my literature and history classes also. My whole perspective of the world began to shift and widen. I understood in a new way that everything in the world’s history led to or influenced everything else in some way or another. The whole universe was connected and it flowed and moved in tandem.

It clicked many of the truths I already knew into place and I couldn’t get enough of it! But soon I became overwhelmed by the enormity of this world’s problems. The corruption of government and people’s hatemongering appears in every chapter of history. War, rape, murder, orphans, disease, famine, and earthquakes have all happened over and over for years upon years. The pain and the brokenness and the absolute instability of the world crashed in on top of me and I almost couldn’t breathe. I was so overcome.

In the midst of all that pain and brokenness and ugliness, Jesus came down to earth and taught us how to live with love – to respond to the hate and malice of the world with words of his love and promises of peace. How bizarre is that? Rather than fighting or hiding or anything else, he asks us to commit ourselves to living a life focused on bringing his kingdom to earth.

It was really in my freshmen “intro” class that every student had to take their first semester that I found God’s answer on how to handle this unsafe world. This class was all about how to study and be healthy and survive in college and it was easy to brush it off and sleep through it. But the basics they took us through are the essential pieces of living a healthy and God-honoring life! Some of it we cover in "Overwhelmed - Life It’s a Balancing Act," like how to keep a healthy balance of growth and nurture for your body, mind, and heart.

What really stuck out to me, though, was that God tells us really simply how to handle the world’s instability in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

That’s it! It’s such a basic truth, but putting it into action day in and day out is a major challenge, especially in this unstable and constantly shifting military life! But the truth remains that having a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and submitting to his lordship over your life is the true way to find stability in this unsafe world. By acting in faith and with commitment to bringing about God’s kingdom on earth in order to restore this broken world, we will not only find strength and resilience in the face of the world’s uncertainty, but we will act as God’s messengers of hope and love to those who still don’t know there is an answer to their brokenness.

Bible intro

God gives us each a choice on how we will live our life. That’s really the crux of this issue. Scripture clearly tells us that the pain and brokenness of the world will continue to exist until the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is only by transforming the whole world and restoring it to its original state that it will ever be truly stable again. So what you have to figure out is whether you are going to remain broken and unstable just like this unsafe world or if you’re going to choose to follow God and be transformed through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Personal Questions
1. What do you think is your biggest obstacle keeping you from following Romans 12:2?
2. Do you think living according to God’s standards and not the world’s is a good idea?
3. What do you think about living as a ‘witness?’ Do you believe you can really make an impact on the world?
4. If the world will never be free from pain and instability until the return of Jesus, why do you think it matters how we live our lives?
5. If you have already committed your life to following Jesus, how have you already begun to experience being transformed by God?
6. Do you think being transformed makes it easier to handle the instability of an unsafe world?
7. How else have you experienced God’s presence and help in the past?
Prayer

Father God, I believe that you created this whole world, and that you created us too. I know that we turned away from you long ago and since then everything has been so screwed up. The world is unstable and everything is just falling apart – I’m falling apart! Help me handle this. Help me know what it means to live a life honoring you. I believe that following Jesus is the only way to find true life, and I believe that one day he will return to make this world new; but in the meantime, can you please help me? I’m so overwhelmed with the enormity of the world’s brokenness, and I just need your help knowing how to respond. I trust you! In the Name of Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Challenge

1 John 2:15-17 says:

Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father. Everything that belongs to the world—what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of—none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world. The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever.

Make a list right now of things “of this world” that you love – yelling at strangers, getting drunk, getting the last word, making someone pay for what they did, tricking someone, cheating, manipulating, getting a new smart phone, whatever it is. After you make the list, pray over each one for God to begin to change your heart. Spend some time looking for Scripture that applies to your list and be honest with God about where you are at in this process. Sometimes we have to begin to change by asking God to give us the desire to want to change. I encourage you to start today!

Quizical

When we live our lives according to the truth in Scripture, and not according to the world’s guidance, we are working to bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth! This is really amazing since Jesus was talking about it 2000 years ago and you are actually a part of it!! So let’s test your knowledge about the parables that cover the Kingdom of God; and, if you don’t know them, don’t worry! You can read up on them later in Matthew and try again!

http://www.christianbiblereference.org/cgi-bin/web_quiz1.pl?Parables_Kingdom.txt&0

The World's Not Safe! - 1

The World's Not Safe! - 2

The World's Not Safe! - 3

The World's Not Safe! - 4

The World's Not Safe! - 5

Scripture

Matthew 17:20 - It is through faith in Christ that we can find stability and confidence in this world.

John 16:33 - In the face of all the uncertainty and instability in the world around us, it’s good to keep Jesus’ words in mind!

Revelation 21:1-8 - A look at what the will happen when Jesus returns and the world is made new!

2 Samuel 22:31-35 - Another promise of protection and strength from our amazing and personally engaged Creator!

John 15:26-27 - You don’t have to face the world’s instability alone!

Video

Take a look at this music video by the Newsboys, and, as you do, think about how you can begin to tell the world that your God is not dead – in fact, he offers the answers this world so desperately needs!

Here is the trailer for a movie that came out Easter 2014 called Heaven is for Real! It tells the true story of a young boy who died and was brought back and remembered his experience in heaven during those brief moments of death! Think about the ways that Jesus has shown up for you in your life, clearly showing you that he is present and involved in your story and you have to make the decision of how you are going to respond.

Life Questions
1. Think back over the past day or week, or even your whole life if that’s easier. Consider the different times you were faced with a choice to follow God or the ways of the world. Spend some time talking to God about where your heart is now and how you see his presence in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you need – faith, hope, strength, etc. The Lord is so eager to bring restoration into your heart and show you the life he intended you to have!
2. Look over the different Scriptures in the previous sections and choose one (or part of one) to memorize this week. Put it by your bed, fridge, locker, or somewhere you will see it multiple times a day. Tell a family member or close friend why you chose that verse and ask for their prayer support and encouragement as you try to live out the truth in the verses you are memorizing.
Reflect

Read through this scripture and think about what it is teaching us about the world. It’s obvious if you spend any time in Proverbs that God values intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge, so why do you think he spends so much time belittling it here? What is the Lord teaching us about this world?

 

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

 

For the message about Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God's power. The scripture says,

 

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise

    and set aside the understanding of the scholars.”

 

So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skillful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world's wisdom is foolishness!

 

For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For what seems to be God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

 

Now remember what you were, my friends, when God called you. From the human point of view few of you were wise or powerful or of high social standing. God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. This means that no one can boast in God's presence. But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God's holy people and are set free. So then, as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”

Lol

It’s amazing how choosing to follow God can change everything about who you are and begin to transform the entire way you view life. Take a look at one artist’s humorous imaginings on what it would look like if cartoons got saved!