Do you ever feel like the problems of the world are so overwhelming, there’s nothing you can do?
I’ve felt that way—consumed by fear of the future with a paralyzing inability to know what to do about it. Want to know the positive difference I made in the world while I was feeling that way? Not much.
Imagine a war between two forces. One army deploys a weapon against the other that, instead of blowing them up, it warps their minds. It makes the other army fight against anything except their real enemy. They fight themselves, they fight things that aren’t real, or they get so overwhelmed that they give up. The first army would win the war with little physical effort, since their deception would make the other army destroy itself.
If you knew you were in that second army, being inoculated against a real enemy, would you want to know? Would you do something about it?
I think many of us are living like we are in that second army, unable to make positive changes that may require a battle because we are too distracted, or overwhelmed, or apathetic.
Here’s something everyone has in common—we all want to make a positive difference. At least, we start out that way. Pain, abuse, deception, and other evil may diminish that desire, but somewhere, at the core, we all want to matter.
We especially want to fight injustice, to right wrongs, and to promote the good. The greatest stories are inspiring because they feed that desire inside of us. Storybook heroes fight to defeat a seemingly impossible evil and restore the good even when winning seems hopeless.
The gaming industry knows this common desire, and uses it to entice us to spend more time consuming their products. It’s become almost a cliché: the young man who spends all of his time fighting virtual enemies in increasingly complex alternate realities, while not knowing what to do with his life in the real world.
Our common desire to fight evil, especially on behalf of those who can’t fight for themselves, is God-given. In fact, it’s the reason He sent Jesus Christ on that first Christmas—to enable us to overcome evil.
Yet, as the Bible teaches, there is still a battle raging in our world, and it will continue until Christ returns to renew all things.
While we wait for that awesome day, our daily battles are real. They really matter. Hearts and minds of young and old alike are under constant attack from relentless forces that seek to steal, kill, and destroy all that is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and good.
The great risk of our technology-saturated culture is that our desire to right wrongs and fight injustice is being satisfied in virtual, make-believe ways, preventing those desires from motivating us to right real wrongs and fight true injustices. It’s like many of us have received a vaccine that kills our motivation to fight the real battles of our age.
I’m specifically thinking of young men right now. Full of potential, vitality, and strength, many young men have no vision for what they could do on behalf of the Good. What if the millennial generation became known for its courage, its character, and its ability to overcome impossible odds?
Some say that the odds have been stacked against our current generation. They think that troubles have never been greater, the deception never more complete. People say the governments have never been more corrupt, the education system never less effective, the debts have never been higher, the possibility for economic prosperity never less likely. Some even suggest that the ability to know Truth, to know the reality of God and Christ and the power of the Spirit has never been more hindered by a resistant and hostile cultural context.
Even if those things are true, what should we do? Give up? Spend our precious hours fighting pretend battles that don’t matter?
Real warriors have been willing to lay down their lives for causes they believe in. Our Greatest Generation was willing to storm the impossible beaches of Normandy, many soldiers knowing that their role would be to sacrifice themselves as a stepping-stone of freedom for others. They didn’t stay home, but gave everything to overcome the real evil of the Nazi regime.
Many people believe there’s nothing that can be done. Or, they believe that other people are already taking care of it. They are so overwhelmed with the information, the scenes on every screen of refugees or protests or corrupt politicians or bankers, they don’t see how they could make a difference. Others are so concerned about the latest trend, the popular show, the hottest device, or the fake lives of celebrities, that they waste all of their attention on things that really don’t matter.
The Bible says that right now, the whole world is in the power of the evil one. If that is true, is it any wonder that such a huge effort has been expended to make western, secular society scoff at that idea? Even some my friends who are still reading this might think I’m not right in the head by promoting an ancient, mythical ideal of an unseen realm of spiritual warfare.
Whether or not you believe the Bible’s perspective, you can see the outcome of forces who are destabilizing our world for their own purposes. You can see people becoming more afraid of the future. You can see significant evils in the world that need correcting, while millions of people sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else to come in and save the day.
My hope is that in reading this, you can see the need to take the gift of life you’ve been given and apply it to the real battles of the world. What pain or evil or problem in the world breaks your heart? If you don’t know, consider some of these battlefronts:
- There are marriages facing overwhelming problems, where divorce will leave hurting children in the wake. Fight this!
- There are hungry kids being raised by struggling single moms because their dads are absent, enslaved in addictions or pleasures or ignorant of the value of commitment. Fight this!
- Porn is poisoning the minds of countless millions, making them unable to see people as anything but objects of pleasure, resulting in rampant addiction and brokenness. Fight this!
- The porn industry creates an insatiable demand for human trafficking, now a gigantic worldwide market of young slaves, who enter a life of unthinkable abuse. Fight this!
- The academic establishment is using science as a shroud to promote a materialistic, atheistic worldview, teaching the lie that our lives are the result of an accident. Fight this!
- There is significant economic instability because of the overwhelming personal and governmental debt. Fight this!
- Our devices are leading us to desire things that are enslaving us. Fight this!
What other battles do you see, where we need warriors to be trained and equipped to engage and overcome? I’d love to read your ideas in the comments below.