What the World Needs Now

A popular song in the mid-sixties went, "What the world needs now—is love, sweet love..." sung by Jackie DeShannon [http://tw.gs/Way9d for more info see– http://tw.gs/Way9g]. It's still one of my favorite songs from the sixties and the YouTube video (first link) captures the innocent hope of the sixties for a universal love. Another one of my favorites songs was by the Youngbloods called, "Get Together" [http://tw.gs/Wayba], which became somewhat of an anthem for the peace movement of the sixties. The sixties were a tumultuous time of expectant hope and altruistic (at first) belief in the goodness of humanity, with a divergent mix of protests and campus unrest, a war overseas, economic change, and a moral and spiritual vacuum.

The sixties came and went, and a certain naive hope seemed to die with the close of the decade and the beginning of the "Me Generation", the seventies. We seem to be in a time of another divergent clash of expectations, but without innocence. In fact, there's a whole lot of mud-slinging and name-calling, but it's not just the fury of another divisive election. It seems what the world needs now is humility. At least some civility.

When you look into the heart of God, who is love (1 John 4:7-8, 16), the nature of His love is humility. Out of His great love He gave His Son—for the whole world (John 3:16). And looking to the Son we see humility. The apostle Paul points this out as he exhorts the church in Philippi to be unified (Philippians 2:1-4) through humility towards one another. Then he points them to Jesus for an example (Phil 2:5-8 GWT)—

Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality.Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross.

Jesus, the personification of God's love, said this about Himself in Matthew 11:29 (GWT)

Place my yoke t over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves

We in the American church, including all evangelicals whatever their distinctives, are too often caught up in being "right" (and I don't mean politically). The focus of teaching and practice (how we are to live) is more on upholding moral standards and protecting our rights and freedoms. Having good moral standards is honorable, and it is the great privilege of living in America to enjoy certain rights and freedoms (see US Constitution for more details– http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html). But with privilege and freedom comes responsibility. And morality is based not on human goodness, but the nature of God.

I fear we (the church) are moving faster and faster in the direction of becoming modern-day Pharisees— self-righteous and hypocritical, and lacking in mercy, grace and humility. The Jewish leaders who longed for their messiah to come deliver Israel missed Him when He did come. They condemned Him and found a way of putting Him to death. They were to caught up in themselves and maintaining their sense of rightness.

How can this be reversed? Can it be? If it can't be we are hopeless. Ah, but a solution exists. Change comes one life at a time, one heart at a time. Then, and only then, will lasting significant change take place in our churches, our nation, and the world.

Jesus said, "Come learn of Me..." and He also called all believers, all true followers, to deny themselves (selfish ambitions, pride, self-centeredness, etc.), die to themselves (take up their cross), and then follow Him (Matt 16:24)—simple, relational, intentional, and personal discipleship. This has always been the Lord's "solution" to world peace.

It requires no degree or certificate or special training. It's a matter of sharing the life we have in Jesus with others. Really, it's that simple. But, it's an investment. It requires discipline and commitment. And it requires humility. Are you ready for a change?