The problem is not only ‘out there’; it is also ‘in here’

The problem is not only ‘out there’; it is also ‘in here’

There is so much wrong with the world. Everyone can see that. There are issues with the environment. There are geopolitical issues. Wherever you live, the government needs to make hard decisions and often (in our opinion) ends up making the wrong ones. Our boss is unreasonable. Our spouse is causing us problems. Our friends are not supportive. We can easily identify all the issues out there. And many of them might well be true.

The people in Jerusalem when Jesus entered on a donkey in Matthew 21 also thought they had identified what the biggest issue in their lives was. It was the Roman occupation. They wanted to see Jesus as the great king who would liberate them. They saw him like that despite his intentional entry on a donkey in line with the prophecy from Zechariah 9. Jesus was indeed a king, and he did come to fix their problems. It was just that their biggest problem was not the Romans; it was their own hearts. Jesus came, as he said in Matt 20:28, to give his life as a ransom for many. Not for a political fix but a much longer-term spiritual fix.

We can all be quick to point the finger at the big issues around us. And there is nothing wrong with trying to fix the injustices we see. But we need to get this in perspective. Jesus coming to fix our sin problem is a bigger deal than any of the other issues we face. The real issue is not ‘out there’ but ‘in here’.

This means that Christians should not primarily be about getting the right party or political party into power, or about fixing specific laws. Our main task is to point people to Jesus and thank Him for what He has already done for us. This perspective will mean we are fundamentally joyful people and not just those who complain about all the problems in the world.

And if the real problem is in our hearts, we need to be prepared to work on ourselves and not just blame everyone else. Sure, our boss might be unreasonable, but how can I as an employee serve them as I serve God? Sure, my marriage might be hard work right now, but how can I improve my own godliness and thinking instead of only identifying issues in my spouse? Knowing sin is the biggest problem, and we are all sinners, will lead to humility rather than a critical spirit. Let’s strive to work on our own hearts and not only see the problem in everyone else’s.