Wednesday, June 3

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

The word “lawlessness” has this biblical definition: “1. properly, the condition of one without law — either because ignorant of it, or because violating it. 2. contempt and violation of law; iniquity, wickedness” ( Thayer’s Greek Lexicon ). The Greek word  anomia  is reflected almost letter for letter in the English word, anomie, which is defined as “the condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals” ( Wikipedia ). With all the speeches and protests lately there seems to be no lack of moral guidance. But then actions have spoken louder than words. It is lawlessness when police use excessive force leading to injury and death. It is lawlessness when vigilantes take justice into their own hands. And it is lawlessness when crowds react by rioting, destroying property, looting, and violence.

The word of God warns us that lawlessness is the very spirit of antichrist which is continually at work in our world. But it also encourages us to recognize there is One who restrains it: “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). This writer believes that the one who holds back lawlessness is the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit is still very much at work among us. He may work through some whom God calls to stand up in front of a crowd and speak wisdom and truth. There are likely many more of us whom God has called to pray to him in secret, trusting that these prayers do indeed make a difference. 

What if the problems that we see in our society are evidence that not enough of us have been praying, or that we have not been praying “in the Spirit,” that is, as He leads and with the faith He inspires? 

Prayer: Lord God, we acknowledge that we have sometimes tended to operate as a law unto ourselves, rather than demonstrating the rule of your love in our hearts. We tend to get careless about the things you care about. We thank you, however, that you forgive all our lawlessness through Christ Jesus. We pray for you to restrain lawlessness in our society. Overcome the inertia and complacency that allows injustice to fester. Frustrate the plans of the instigators of rioting and violence. Comfort and heal those who have been abused. Bring peace and tranquility to our land. Work in believers everywhere to be examples of what is good, right, and just. And pour out upon us, O Lord, a spirit of intercession.