Problem solving is one of the driving forces of innovation. The innovator encounters a problem, and then seeks a way to fix it. Problems provide the need for innovation.
When we don’t understand the problem, or worse yet, if we don’t even realize that there is a problem, then we will not seek a solution. Understanding the problem is key to finding the answer.
I believe this is the reason why many Christians are not involved in true discipleship. They go to the worship service, pray through the prayer list, listen to the sermon, and put a few dollars in the offering plate. No real effort to change is made. Sadly, it seems, they are unaware of what is at stake.
In Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard wrote:
One of the greatest obstacles to effective spiritual formation in Christ today is simple failure to understand and acknowledge the reality of the human situation as it affects Christians and nonChristians alike. We must start from where we really are. (p. 45)
Too many of us have bought into the notion that we are not all that bad, and that the world isn’t really evil. We might sin every once in awhile, and bad things might happen here and there, but over all things are good. In the end God’s grace will take care of our short comings.
The reality is quite different. Humankind has joined Satan in his rebellion, and evil is a constant reality in the world. We shouldn’t look at things like ISIS beheading people or professional athletes abusing people as tragic isolated incidents. These things are the natural progression of evil working in the hearts of people.
In Ephesians 5:15-20, the apostle Paul wrote:
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NLT)
According to Paul, we live in evil days. The fact that we are somewhat insulated from this reality in the United States is a testament to the difference Christianity has had on our society. As the Christian foundations of Western Civilization crumble, we are once again confronted with the reality that the days are evil.
The solution, Paul says, is for us to make the most of the time given to us. We do this by knowing God’s will. This is more than understanding what God wants us to do, it is also striving to become the type of people who obediently do God’s will.
This is why a constant and consistent effort must be made to have our spirits formed by Christ. The best way to combat the evil in the world is to live like Jesus. (Tweet this) That can only happen if we put forth the effort to live like he did. Living like Jesus won’t happen by accident.
Spiritual formation in Christ is not a luxury. It is the process through which we learn to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), and living like Jesus is what empowers us to combat the evil that is in the world. We live in a world that has been corrupted by evil, and the only way to fight this evil is to live like Jesus