A “day” has arrived—a day I never thought I’d live to see. It’s a day when many things that I took for granted growing up are no longer the norm in America and in many churches.
When I was growing up, I knew exactly what married and family meant. I knew that the moral compass in my home, my church, my schools, and my nation generally pointed in the same direction—right and wrong meant the same thing in all those venues. Jesus Christ was honored—respected even by non-Christians. Churches and pastors had a relevant role in the life of most communities.
But now few if any of those markers for life remain. Take the opposite of the realities I mentioned—plus others I could name—and you have a sad picture of our world and the Church of Jesus Christ today.
So how do we care for ourselves spiritually in a day such as this? How do we make sure that while the world and Church are changing around us we get stronger instead of weaker? How do we continue to be transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) instead of being conformed to the image of this world (Romans 12:2)?
The “day” I’m discussing is both new and old. As to “old,” the people of God have always had to be strong in a spiritually unfriendly world. Israel was warned about becoming like her neighbors when she inherited the Promised Land (2 Kings 17:15). And we can summarize the apostles’ exhortations to the Church on the same subject with Paul’s words in Romans 12:2: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould” (PHILLIPS). As for “new,” the day we are in now is more spiritually challenging than ever before. It is time for Christians to beef up their daily spiritual program in order to stand against the tide that is rising.
Commit to Staying Strong
In order to ensure your spiritual and emotional health on a day-to-day basis, adopt the following five activities into your daily regimen to stay strong:
Feeding: I’m talking here about your spiritual feeding—and there is one thing on the menu: the Word of God. The apostle Paul told the Roman church that they needed to “be transformed by the renewing of [their] mind” (Romans 12:2). In other words, the philosophies, opinions, values, and instructions of this world must be replaced by God’s truth. The Word of God can be taken in through Bible study, biographies of great Christians, Scripture memory, Christian hymns and music, sermons and teachings.
Protection: Protection implies danger. Exactly! Spiritual warfare is intense, yet many Christians are oblivious to it. If you are a Christian, the forces of hell are marshaled against you, and you must protect yourself with the spiritual armor God has provided (Ephesians 6:10-18). You must protect your mind through Scripture memory, your heart through worship, and your desires through accountability.
Education: There is a progression in spiritual maturity (from “milk” to “meat” and from “carnal” to Christlike as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2). Our pursuit to know more about the Lord needs to be ongoing. As Christians we need to grow in wisdom and knowledge (Ephesians 4:11-16) so we see life in this world as God sees it. And that will only come through diligent study and the pursuit of godliness.
Recreation: Do you depend on this world to provide your entertainment? Are you willing to risk being looked at strangely when you choose not to participate in activities that many people accept as acceptable? (See Ephesians 5:25-27.) Moral standards are at all-time lows in our culture, and Christians will be taken down to that level unless they carefully choose activities that are not in conflict with God’s standard for us today.
Social Development: Surrounding yourself with godly Christian friends will keep you accountable as well as provide role models for your own maturity. Once we are free to worship together again, be a regular participant in Bible studies, home groups, and practical classes and seminars. God never intended the Christian life to be lived alone. To be spiritually strong, develop godly friends who will not only encourage you but will also hold you accountable in your walk with God (Hebrews 10:25).
The conflict is real, but we have the tools available to us to stay strong amidst the conflict—to be transformed by God and not conformed to this world.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information on Turning Point, go to
A fruit is an edible product of a plant that’s designed to mature and detach from the plant for the sake of reproduction—like an apple falling from the tree.
On the other hand, a vegetable is the edible portion of a plant that isn’t specifically designed to separate from the plant for reproduction. Typically a vegetable is an edible part of a plant that typically involves leaves (lettuce), stalks (celery), roots (potatoes), bulbs (onions), or flowers (broccoli). We need to reproduce fruit in our lives and to avoid the “nots.”.PTL!
In 1 Samuel, David was fleeing from King Saul through the cavernous deserts of lower Israel. On one occasion during those desperate days when David was deeply troubled, his friend Jonathan came and “strengthened his hand in God” (1 Samuel 23:16).
But later David found himself in an even deeper hole in the town of Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30. His mentor, Samuel, was dead. David had been rejected and denied safety by the Philistines. The Amalekites had invaded his camp and kidnapped his family and those of his men. His friends were turning on him, and his loyal band of followers were ready to stone him. Saddest of all, his dear Jonathan was unable to come to him, for Jonathan was loyally preparing with his father for their final battle.
God the Promise Keeper
I cannot remember a time in my lifetime when the American mood has been so . . . pessimistic? sour? negative? fearful? I’m not sure what the right word is, but it’s not healthy.
But let’s stop for a reality check. The picture I just painted is not a pretty one, but it is reality; it’s the way the culture is feeling. But there is a different kind of reality that we, as Christians, are to embrace. And that is the reality that this world is not our home. We are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13) because our “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). But we are on this earth! And therein lies our tension as believers: living in the world while not being of the world.
We have two realities as Christian believers. So how do we keep our focus, our joy, our priorities, and our endurance in a world that seems to be doing everything it can to drag us down instead of lifting us up?
He was a humble carpenter who lived a quiet life; in fact, the Bible doesn’t record a single word he said. Yet Joseph was hand-picked by God to be the earthly father of the Messiah. Dr. David Jeremiah profiles this man who was both tough-minded and tender-hearted, a man of faith and integrity.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah