From “I Have Control” to “Cease Fire”

conscience

“I have control. I have control.  In 3…2…1” BOOM! These are the words you would hear over the radio immediately before a demolition charge explodes at the start of a combat mission.  

Normally, there are a lot of conversations happening over a special operations radio network leading up to the start of a combat mission. However, during this moment, the radio becomes silent as everyone in the mission listens for the mission leader’s voice seconds before the battle begins. 

“I have control” doesn’t tell warriors who is “in charge” of this mission; rather it’s a predetermined phrase designed to signal the start of a combat operation. It’s the verbal equivalent of lighting the time fuse on a demolitions charge.

This phrase is also a warning to everyone involved that the demolition charge will explode “in 3…2…1”. Once the charge goes off, the radio network becomes a cacophony of voices as special operations warriors react to the enemy immediately in front of them.

“I have control” is one of the few uninterrupted statements on a chaotic radio network until the mission is accomplished and all the enemy are dead on the objective.  Because it’s such an important statement, everyone stops and listens for the voice of the combat leader. Only the boss can make the statement “I have control”.

Anyone can call a ceasefire

There is one other statement that is equally important. However, anyone on the mission can make this statement: CEASE FIRE, CEASE FIRE! It has always fascinated me that only the big boss can take control and start the combat operation, yet anyone can pause the combat mission by yelling, “CEASE FIRE!”

Every warrior has the authority to call a ceasefire any time they see something deadly is about to happen. The authority to call for a ceasefire is given to anyone in the operation. 

“I have control” is a warning to everyone on the radio network that this violent combat operation is about to start.  CEASE FIRE Is also a warning to everyone who listens that something bad is about to happen to you or the warriors around you.

God sent his prophets to announce to people and societies that something bad was about to happen in Bible times. Because the God of the Bible is gracious and patient, he often sent messengers to announce beforehand what he was about to do. These prophets announced God’s message in an attempt to convince people to change their wicked ways.  

Unfortunately, people in Bible times often mistook God’s patience for uncaring or unconcern. They assumed that because he didn’t respond immediately to wickedness, that he didn’t care or wasn’t powerful enough to stop it.

What voice is the conscience of a society?

Conscience is that small voice inside your heart that describes right and wrong. Some people are really careful to listen to their conscience. Others … not so much.  The fact that all people have a conscious voice inside them steering them away from wrong and toward right is an indication that God is at work in humanity. I believe the Spirit of God is the small voice of conscience inside all human beings.  God wants us to listen carefully to our conscience. 

I also believe that God has a voice of conscience for society. Just like he speaks to individuals in their conscience, God speaks to entire cities and countries through a voice. This is the message the prophet, Amos, was trying to communicate in Amos 1:2.

God chose Amos to be a voice of conscience for his society. He wanted his fellow countrymen to hear the voice of God as he roars from Mount Zion. Amos was trying to convince people to listen to God’s voice before they would have to feel God’s hand of judgement. 

I am convinced that God still has a voice of conscience for societies today. Christians are supposed to be the voice of conscience in their societies. The prophet, Amos, is an excellent example of this voice of conscience. This simple sheep breeder became the voice God used to communicate with his people.

Amos’ message gave people an opportunity to return to God before it was too late. In that sense, Amos was trying to convince his society that “God has control”.  When people no longer believed that God “had control”, Amos tried to call a “ceasefire” to the sin and wickedness that he saw around him.

God’s common grace and the good of your city

Let me take this concept one step further with you. I believe God is still speaking to societies and individual’s today. Sometimes he raises up a prophet like in the Old Testament. However, in every case, Jesus’ church is supposed to be his voice in society. In other words, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is supposed to be the conscience of your community. 

When the church is silent, now other voices start to become the conscience. This is a dangerous scenario. Perhaps this is what is happening in the United States and other countries around the world. When Christians no longer are the voice of conscience in their societies, people start to look to the government to become that voice. Government has no capacity to play the role of conscience in a society. The role of government is to set the rule of law over a society. 

Governments, no matter how powerful, cannot prevent a crime from happening. It can only define what a crime is and set the punishment for that crime. For this reason, government cannot play the role of conscience in a society. Only God is capable of convicting the human heart that an action is morally wrong before a crime is committed. 

When Christians no longer become the conscience of a society, government is left with this responsibility. It is a disaster every time Christians cease to become the voice of God in their societies.

A challenge

I want to challenge you today. If you have a genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, find a way to engage your society. Become a voice for change in your society. Call “CEASE FIRE” to the sin and crimes that you see around you.

Reclaim the God-given role as the mouthpiece for the common good for your city.  Write a blog.  Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.  Record a video and send it to your local TV station.   Use your voice!  Be the conscience of your society. 

Watch or read Jeff’s recent sermon about using your voice HERE.

Read about Jeff’s Army career in his book!

The Road to Unafraid

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