Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
- Acts 17:16
To be able to reach our culture, to be able to reach our unbelieving friends and family, to be able to reach someone who doesn't believe in Jesus, we must first have a genuine concern for them.
While the apostle Paul was in Athens, "his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols" (Acts 17:16). Another translation of this verse says that Paul "was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city" (NLT).
Have you been angered by something in a spiritual way? I am talking about righteous indignation where you see how the devil is ripping people off, and you actually get a little angry about it.
In Athens, Paul was grieved to see the absolute absence of the living God, with every conceivable substitute in His place.
Do you ever feel that way as you look at our confused culture? It seems as though anything goes-except for Christianity.
Paul could have cursed the darkness in Athens. But he instead turned on the light.
Today we can wring our hands and talk about the state of affairs in our world. Or we can do something about it. All too often, we Christians are known for what we are against and not what we are for. We are for Jesus. And that is who we want to talk about. That is who we want to point people to. That is the primary message we need to give to our culture today. They need to hear the gospel.
If we dwell on other issues and forget the message of Jesus, then we have misplaced our priorities.