As Christians in the 21st century, we often hear how God made each one of us with a unique calling and identity. Lou Engle sums it up well and echoes Psalm 139 when he says, “God had a dream and He wrapped your body around it.”
Day to day, another aspect of God’s ways is little discussed and often misunderstood: His heart for justice.
Photo: Thomas Hawk / Flickr
The word justice instantly brings to mind efforts to end the great injustices of our day: sex slavery, abortion, extreme poverty and racism, among others. It’s man against man, or a people group preying on those weaker or disadvantaged.
Do we have any idea how important justice is to God? In Psalm 89:14, it says Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne. Acts 22:14 describes Jesus as the Just One. Yet it goes so much deeper.
I believe truly engaging with God’s heart for justice can change so much—how we view the world, how we personally respond to circumstances and even how we view our everyday interactions.
To start, we have to go to Isaiah 59. For 58 chapters God has been pouring out His word to Isaiah about injustice, righteousness and the coming Messiah. We find here in chapter 59 that justice is not just an abstract concept to God, nor a rally cry or human response.
Look at verses 15-16: “The LORD saw it and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede.”
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The word “displeased” actually means to be broken or shattered. And the word for “wonder” literally means astonished, amazed.
The picture here is of our Heavenly Father’s heart being rent in two when He beholds injustice; He looks around aghast that there is no one who cares to stand in the gap. This isn’t the heart of a cold, legalistic, aloof judge. He is a zealous Father whose heart is burning to make wrong things right.
This truth can transform our lives. It’s why we can stand with confidence praying before courthouses and abortion centers. As we stand in faith, we are not trying to get Heaven’s attention; we are responding to the tug on our hearts by the Great Intercessor who earnestly desires for minds to be changed, hearts to be softened and lives to be saved.
We need to expand our definition of justice. Justice is simply, at its core: making wrong things right. When people hear this, often our hearts respond in one of three ways—let’s consider each one.
1. Where wrongs have been committed against you, know your Father will not cease until He brings justice.
Isaiah 42 talks about the fact that Jesus will not grow faint or be discouraged until He establishes justice in the earth. Perhaps you are facing a current injustice, or maybe it was the way a loved one treated you as a child.
No matter what it is, you need to know that God not only sees it all, but He feels it too. And He is committed to making these wrong things right. It may not look like how you would have planned, or come on your timetable—but you can trust the caring leadership of Jesus.
2. If you already work on behalf of a justice issue, press into God’s heart.
Perhaps you work in public policy, law enforcement or another field related to justice issues—you know making wrong things right is part of your calling, your DNA. I challenge you to press into God’s heart.
Get to know what He thinks and feels about the issue, for He is already burning with desire and plans; He is earnestly looking for partners who will intercede and bring His kingdom into the present circumstances.
Don’t just follow the emotions of concern or human zeal. The human heart was not made to confront such evil alone. At best, you’ll burn out. At worst, if your heart is disconnected from the humbling and mercy-inspiring place of prayer, you can become like the very beast you set out to fight.
Photo: Andrew Lee / Flickr
The Bible is crystal clear that there is no good in us—absolutely none—apart from God.
3. When your daily vocation doesn’t seem to be tied to justice, expand your vision.
You may be asking, That’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with my calling and identity? I’m a paper-pusher, a nanny, a nurse. This has everything to do with you… if you open up how you define justice.
The greatest injustice is that Jesus Christ is not known, loved and worshiped by every human being—for we were made in His image to be in relationship with Him and carriers of His glory.
His heart is shattered over this most of all. Believe me, He has allowed me to feel a tiny fraction of it in prayer for different unsaved people groups.
You may even be thinking, I have no idea what my calling is. I can tell you with absolute confidence.
The final words Jesus spoke as a Man echo in answer today: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
It’s the great commission—the great calling of God on every single one of us to be fishers of men. It will look different for each of us, because He has given us unique talents, gifts, voices and positions of influence with others.
For some, it will look like ministering to the homeless. For others, it may be honing your ability to hear God’s voice so that you can prick up your spiritual ears during a lunch break with coworkers. For others, it will be loving the little ones in your charge with the love of Christ and practicing His presence when everything’s going haywire.
Maybe it’s seeking His strategic revelation as you’re writing lines of code for a software application that will help others. Maybe it’s not responding the way I want to towards one of my coworkers or family members.
Maybe it’s writing a song or blog post that draws others towards His heart in some small way, or gives them language to pour out their own. Maybe it’s worshipping and praying as you’re driving around town, giving Jesus some of the love and adoration He deserves.
None of us can do this on our own. It won’t work. Father God desires your collaboration with Him, not just participation.
Jesus said, Lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest, therefore go—Wait, no, He didn’t!
In Matthew 9:38, after lamenting how few laborers there are, our Savior exhorts His disciples: “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
The first step we so often skip over is to pray and listen. Come before the Lord and ask for His heart and strategies; Heaven knows we need it in the pro-life movement. Only after over 40 years under Roe v. Wade has a heart cry of compassion and adoption superseded our human impulse to stand in outrage or offense.
We must pray until we get the breakthrough in the Spirit. Father God is burning with desire to come into our lives and make wrong things right.
LifeNews Note: For over a decade, Terri Shepherd has taken part in pro-life advocacy with Bound4LIFE —a grassroots movement to pray for the ending of abortion and for revival worldwide. She graduated from TheCall Institute at the International House of Prayer University in Kansas City, and earned a degree in social work from the University of Central Florida. Living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Terri works at a leading Christian public policy organization. Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life.