In this particular world, there is relentless war, killing, and enslavement.
The weak are made to serve the strong. And while others do the work of farming and performing menial tasks, the conquerors spend their time enslaving others to increase or replenish their slave workforce. In this world, there is mass genocide. One ethnicity kills off another, only to expand its living space and rob others of the land’s resources. Some of the most gruesome mass murders occur down here, in which a handful of thugs decapitates and dismembers the residents of an entire community. It’s all occurring, every day.
All this killing, cruelty, and enslavement is enough to break one’s heart and make them despair. But do we allow it to bring us down? Hardly. Why? Because it’s all happening beneath our feet. That’s right. The world I’ve just described pertains to species of slave-making ants (e.g. Polyergus lucidus), raiding-killing ants (e.g. Megaponera analis), and honeybee-slaughtering hornets (Vespa mandarinia japonica).
Cruelty, killing, and enslavement abound in our biosphere—all the effects of sin’s ravages and God’s curse upon the earth (Genesis 3:17–19; Romans 5:12–21; 8:18–25). Sure, I can let it bring me down. But aren’t there majestic mountains to behold? Aren’t there spectacular sunsets to enjoy and canyon–overlooks to inspire? Aren’t the starry heavens worth our attention? To neglect these wonders so I can focus on what’s happening at toe-level would be tragic.
What happens below is disturbing and might even be used to excuse cruelty among people. But the radiant beauty above draws me out of myself and away from the world’s cruelty. It humbles me, turns me to my Creator, and makes me more like Him.
I don’t mean to minimize humanity’s inhumanity against itself. But it can overwhelm us. It can drain us of what little power we have to make a change for the good. Sometimes we need to, we must lift our eyes to the heavens and with the eyes of faith see Christ (Hebrews 12:3–4). Christ has the power to change our world for good—beginning in our own hearts. Looking to Jesus Christ in faith will bring about the transformation of our souls, raising them incorruptible and eternal.
By changing our hearts He can change our behavior (Romans 6:3–7). And through the changed behavior of redeemed people, God can transform society for the good. At the resurrection, He will transform the rest of our existence—namely, our bodies—so that they will never suffer injury, pain, sickness, or death (1 Corinthians 15:51–58). In fact, God promises to resurrect all of creation, bringing about a new heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:7, 10–13; Revelation 21:1). All of the earth’s disfigurement and pollution will be removed. All of the earth’s curse and the ravages of sin will be erased as well.
Christ, the Firstborn
And all began with Christ’s resurrection. He was the Firstborn among the dead, the first to be raised incorruptible (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5). He is the Firstborn among many brethren, sharing His resurrection with those who believe in Him (Romans 8:29). And He is the Firstborn of all Creation. He will resurrect the entire universe from its irreparable damage and waste, into one that is glorious and fully habitable (Colossians 1:15).
Do you still want to focus on the misery around us? Isn’t Jesus Christ worth embracing, serving, and worshipping? Isn’t Jesus worthy of our undivided attention and undying loyalty? Stop focusing on the bigotry, racism, sexism, and cruelty around us. Christ is the answer? Follow Him.
Lord Jesus, please open my eyes to behold Your glory, power, and love for me. Save me, Lord Jesus. Make me a brand new person on the inside and renew me day by day. Help me to place faith in Your redemptive work on the cross. Help me to draw strength and inspiration from Your example. As I behold You, transform me by Your glory into Your own image. And let me be Your instrument of peace and healing in our broken world. Amen.