I have been hearing a lot of anxious comments and concerns lately. News of S&P’s downgrade of U.S. debt, riots in the United Kingdom, congressional dysfunction, stock market craziness, speculation on candidates for the next presidential election – all of these things can and do raise our anxiety levels.
As a Christian, it helps me to think back to what things were like when Jesus walked the earth. Jesus lived in a country that was occupied by a hostile power, taxes were insanely exorbitant to fund Roman debt and expenditures, corruption and prostitution were rampant, puppet governors ruled - and women and children were not even counted in biblical measures of people. In Jesus’ world, I imagine that anxiety levels were high.
So what is a Christian to do in the face of anxious times? The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome in very anxious times: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect (12:2).”
Do not conform and get sucked into the mass hysteria and anxiety of the times. Instead, be transformed – changed – by the renewing of our minds and hearts. Let us reform and renew the face of the earth through what is good and loving, beginning with the reforming of our own hearts.
The message for us in anxious times, I believe, is not to conform to this world, but to reform this world - by doing justice, by loving mercy and by walking humbly with our God.