Are You Making the Great Escape?

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Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Are you making the “great escape”? You may not have yet packed your bags but you’ve decided to get as far away from America’s craziness without being touched by it.

What do I mean by the “great escape”? I’m not referring to the book or movie, but to the chaos of our society. Erosion of morals and values. Erosion of economic, government, justice, law enforcement and political systems have caught many of you by surprise and outright disbelief. Rather than viewing the chaos as a continuous unraveling over decades and generations, you may view it as everything going to hell overnight. A dumpster fire on wheels, careening down the street out of control.

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CNN reporter talks in the crush of April 2015 protests in Baltimore, Md., that erupted over death of 25-year-old African American resident Freddie Gray, who suffered fatal injuries to his neck and spine while in police custody. (Photo courtesy: CNN)

 

But the chaos has been a steady hatching of chickens coming home to roost. America has risen up through slavery, poverty and war; from agrarian labor to industrialization. New technologies, higher education, entrepreneurism and better wages have enabled some to fatten our bank accounts, live in decent neighborhoods and ease the work of our hands.

More of us used to help community and neighbors. But soon, our happiness became our priority and serving became an inconvenience. We moved away from personal action and invited the government to provide solutions. The anonymous (massive government and computers) began helping the anonymous (your neighbor whom the government does not know as you do). We encouraged and supported policies that liberated us from the responsibilities of our neighbor so we could pursue “getting ours” and comfortably “hold onto ours” once we got it. We didn’t want to be bothered by whoever was still “trying to get theirs.” Let government handle it.

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This began our “great escape.” This “great escape” was further emboldened by an arrogance and self-assuredness that once we got ours, we no longer needed God. In our bad times we cleaved to God. Our dependence upon Him was dire and childlike. Now that we’ve made it, we say, “I got this. What can God do for me that I can’t do?” Now that things are on fire and appear out of control, people want to escape unscathed—not realizing how their inaction has contributed to the chaos.

Some people have forgotten how to be servants. Self-interest has set in. Human selfishness ultimately, when it grows, causes communities to perish because of selfishness.

Granted, and thankfully, the aforementioned does not describe many of you reading this or those I know. But like Nehemiah, let us as a nation repent, rise, respond to the need and rebuild.

And yes: there will be a cost. There is always a cost to sacrificing our comfort for someone else’s. 

As Christians, our calling is to engage with the world, not seek escape from it. We’re called to be light in darkness. If you’re serving, thank you! If not: Be bold enough to leave the familiar and secure places to follow God’s voice to serve others. Die to self to become more like Christ. Invest in others. Where you invest, it certainly will give you a return. Christ is our world’s greatest hope and Good News. He is the Light of the world (John 8:12) and others need to see Him through you.

Yes, there is darkness in our world. Our world is a spiritual battleground with darkness and light contending for the same territory. Yet, as a dear sister in Christ reminded me, God is using these same conditions to be Light through His People.

Are you willing to be Light? Are you willing to serve or are you planning your escape to comfort?

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

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Jesus: The Light of the World

Joy! Yesterday I received wonderful news from a friend who testified to the power of our God through Christ Jesus to make necessary behavior changes in their life. When God moves on your heart, you can do nothing but change and in fact become “a new creation,” as said in 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Praise God! While I believe programs can also assist people in making behavioral changes, nothing matches the heart encounter one has with Christ and how he can make changes “suddenly.” Now, this friend is shining their light before others, a witness to God’s goodness and awesome power. We know Satan hates an empowered Believer because they will likely equip and empower others in the Spirit. Nevertheless, shine your light so others may be drawn to know Him.

Today’s post is from the daily devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Each devotional is written from the perspective of Jesus speaking to you.  The post reminds us Who is the Light of the world. There is no need to remain in darkness. Walk in the light. God bless you.   -Nicole

I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Men crawl through their lives cursing the darkness, but all the while I am shining brightly. I desire each of My followers to be a Light-bearer. The Holy Spirit who lives in you can shine from your face, making Me visible to people around you. Ask My Spirit to live through you, as you wend your way through this day. Hold My hand in joyful trust, for I never leave your side. The Light of My Presence is shining upon you. Brighten up the world by reflecting who I AM.

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Accompanying Scriptures: Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15- Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16- In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” John 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  2 Corinthians 3:18, And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (New International Version)