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Are We Desperate Enough?

What does it mean to be desperate?

If you look it up in the dictionary (or on your phone), you’ll find a variety of definitions, including: “involving or employing extreme measures in an attempt to escape defeat or frustration,” “of extreme intensity,” “(of a person) having a great need or desire for something” and “(of a situation) extremely bad, serious or dangerous.”

Whichever definition you choose, it’s easy to see that desperation should not be taken lightly.

Throughout history we can recognize periods of desperation that overwhelmed entire people groups. In America alone, we’ve witnessed desperation in times such as the Great Depression, 9/11, the Civil Rights Movement and the assassinations of Lincoln, Kennedy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In other countries, desperation followed events like the Rwandan Genocide, the Holocaust and the Nanjing Massacre. Back in Biblical times, the Israelites were desperate during their 40-year exile from Egypt, as were their descendants during the vicious reign of the Roman emperor Nero.

Desperation, in one form or another, is something all of us have experienced at least once in our lifetimes. For some, those moments are frequent and intense, while others few and mild. However we experience it and whatever its cause, desperation is part of being human.

Civil Rights Movement march on the street

Therefore, the question is not if you will experience desperation, but when. And if that’s the case, what will you do when it happens?

We’d all like to think we would react in the ideal way, depending on the situation; strong and dependable in a time of tragedy, patient and wise in a time of confusion, bold and just in a time of atrocity. Yet, what we’d like to happen and what actually does are often not the same, and in some cases, are entirely opposite. Truth is, none of us will know how we will act in a given situation unless it actually happens. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t really want to experience those moments of desperation just to find out.

But what if we don’t have a choice? What if we are forced into a time of desperation? When our circumstances are no longer within our control, how will we react?

Unfortunately, we need not wait long before we get our answer. After all, we are living in a world marred by desperation, but that’s not the only problem; in fact, it’s not even the main problem. What truly is the main concern is not how desperate our world has become, but that so few people are even aware of it, let alone prepared to do anything to change it.

Let me make a note here though. When I say “so few people are even aware of it,” I’m not referring to people in general. No, I’m referring to those of us whose lives have been changed by the One and only God and identify ourselves as Christians. It is our blindness, not the world’s (those who do not identify as Christians), that is the problem. And if we are the ones responsible, it is up to us to deliver the remedy. But how?

What if we are forced into a time of desperation? When our circumstances are no longer within our control, how will we react?

Now, at this point, some, if not most, of you are wondering how we as Christians could be the main problem in today’s world. We are not the ones whose sins run unchecked. We are not the ones who are influenced by those around us. We are not the ones who are more concerned with things of this world than not.

But, friends, we are.

We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 8:28), and our sins do not end when we become a Christian. Just like the apostle Paul, we continue to do the things we don’t want to do and don’t do the things we want to do (Romans 7:15-20). We are guilty of sins of commission and sins of omission. We allow our anger to get the best of us, we long for things we don’t have, we worry about things of this world like money and status, we gossip, we lie, we do it all. But there are also things we don’t do; we don’t stand up for the unborn, we don’t hold one another accountable, we don’t demand Godly marriages. We compromise on big issues and condemn on small.

We are the ones who claim to be heirs with Christ and representatives of God the Father, but do we act like it?

Look at our world and then answer.

Sonogram lying next to white newborn onesie

To further the point, let’s look at some analogies.

I don’t have the faintest idea on the inner workings of our brains and nervous systems. Would I then be expected to perform a brain surgery if I were to walk into an operating room tomorrow, donning some scrubs and gloves? What about fixing a car? My dad can fix just about any car, but I know little beyond the basics of checking the oil, rotating tires and bleeding the brakes. Would I be expected to fill in for my dad and know exactly how to fix the cars he has scheduled to work on this week?

If people have no knowledge of (or love for) God and zero understanding of what He requires of those who follow Him, how are they to live as those who do?

Before you became a Christian, how much did you know about concepts like sanctification and propitiation (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:21; 1 John 2:2, 4:10)? Did you realize why it’s important for us as God’s people to deny ourselves and carry our cross (Luke 9:23, 14:27)? Did you understand how our earthly marriages are based on the relationship between Jesus the groom and His people the bride, and that’s why we believe in things like marriage between one man and one woman, sex only within marriage and only with your spouse, and husbands who respect their wives and wives who respect their husbands (Eph. 5:25-33)? Did you see how indulging in things of this world could harm your relationship with Jesus (1 John 2:15-17)?

If you grew up in a practicing Christian home, you may have been aware of these things, but even then, it was part of your everyday life. You had some foreknowledge. What about those who were never taught why to pray, who Jesus is and what the Bible says? If we tried to explain any of these ideas to nonbelievers, chances are they wouldn’t understand. They haven’t up until this point.

If people have no knowledge of (or love for) God and zero understanding of what He requires of those who follow Him, how are they to live as those who do?

And yes, some of that is because they don’t want to listen and try to understand, but again, we’re only looking at half the problem when we see it like that. When you look at the entire problem, you will also see how we as God’s people have contributed to the problem.

When you tell your teenager not to have sex before marriage, do you have a discussion with them about it, explaining the reason based on God’s Word? When you tell your homosexual friend not to get involved in a same-sex relationship, do you explain why, based on God’s Word? And do you do it with love, truly wanting their eyes to be opened and see the beauty that is Jesus?

We as Christians have gotten a bad rap for pointing out others’ sins and overlooking our own, and some of that is warranted. We’ll be the first to condemn same-sex relationships but will stand mute when yet another couple in our congregation gets divorced following an affair. We’ll berate nonbelievers for their intolerance of our beliefs but will complain when the music on Sundays gets a little too contemporary or loud. We’ll demand the freedom to assemble but choose to attend our neighbor’s football watch party (or watch online) instead of going to church. We’ll fight for God’s name to be kept in the Pledge of Allegiance but forsake it in our prayers as we think about what we’re having for lunch rather than the God who’s listening to us. We’ll sign pro-life petitions and participate in pro-life walks but turn a cold shoulder to the young couple who are terrified at the idea of bringing a life into this world.

Woman in motorcycle helmet holding sign saying "Praying for you"

Friends, when much has been given to us, more will be expected (Luke 12:47-48). God has entrusted us with His message and has given us His indwelling Holy Spirit, and all He expects in return is for us to love Him. No, it’s not easy because, well, we’re sinners and our sin nature literally runs opposite of God’s. Every bit of sin in us fights for our allegiance and convinces us this way is more comfortable, but we have to choose to say no. We have to consciously look our sin in the eye and tell it to get behind Jesus. It’s a difficult decision to make, yes, and it’s one we must make every second for the rest of our lives on Earth. But, oh, will it be worth it.

Jesus was desperate enough for us to spend the rest of eternity with Him in Heaven, He willingly gave up His place next to the Father, despised the shame and endured the cross on our behalf (Romans 5:6, Hebrews 12:2). He wanted you so badly, He took on flesh, came down to Earth and lived in the midst of sin despite being the perfect God who knew no sin, only to be mocked, beaten, tortured and eventually killed just so you could live with Him and God the Father in Heaven (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18). However, unlike our desperation, which is often plagued with despair and hopelessness, Jesus’ desperation was only as the result of His intense desire for people (Ephesians 5:2, 1 John 3:16).

So, as one of His people, you need to ask yourself, “Am I desperate like Jesus? Am I desperate enough for this world, those who do not yet know Him, to do something?”

Before you answer, remember Jesus’ words to us in Matthew 24:14, “‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’”

Am I desperate like Jesus? Am I desperate enough for this world, those who do not yet know Him, to do something?

No, Jesus doesn’t need our help to reach the ends of the earth with the Gospel, but He wants us to do it with Him. He’s calling us to bring His Gospel to the whole world. Once we do, He will come.

Are you desperate enough to see that happen? Are you willing to put aside your comfort and opinions to help bring it about? Or does our world need to fall deeper into sin, causing more death, disease, hatred, destruction and violence, before you decide to move?

C’mon, Church, are we desperate enough?


English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.

This post originally appeared on County News Online.

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