Cultural influencers are people who are convinced. Martin Luther King Jr. was convinced that the challenges of African Americans could be changed through nonviolence and civil disobedience. Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, was convinced that the good news of Jesus Christ needed to get to the remotest parts of the earth. Alexander the Great was convinced that he should rule the world. Living out of conviction is a trademark of those who bring about change—whether that change is for better or for worse.
What about you? Of what are you convinced? Do your beliefs propel you? Scripture reveals that personal conviction was at the heart of those who influenced their cultures.
Noah was so convinced global judgment was coming through a flood that he built an ark and became a “preacher of righteousness” (Gen. 6:11–17; 2 Peter 2:5). Joseph was so convinced seven years of abundance were to be followed by seven years of severe drought that he orchestrated an ancient prepping plan to save lives throughout the entire known-world (Gen. 41:1–49). Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel were so convinced the sins of Israel were provoking God’s judgment that they preached repentance at almost every turn. John the Baptist was so convinced the Messiah was about to appear that he preached at mass truth-encounter events to “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17; 3:1–18; 7:27).
Like these cultural influencers, it would be impossible for me to carry the message and burden of Forerunners of America if the Lord had not convinced me of two things: America will be humbled through a devastating judgment, and before or in the midst of this judgment, God will draw a multitude to Himself. One could say that I don’t hold these ideas; instead, God has so convinced me that these ideas hold me! However, this level of conviction was not produced through an instantaneous epiphany but has developed over years.
For example, when I came to faith in Christ as a college sophomore, I immediately observed that Christians—the serious ones—lived in utter contrast to the lifestyle I had been living and to what I observed throughout most of the campus. In those early years, two things became obvious: Jesus died to bring as many lost people to faith as possible (John 15:1-31; 1 John 2:2), and God is going to bring the righteous into everlasting life while He simultaneously judges the wicked (Matt. 25:31–46). In summary, I can look back decades and see an embryonic form of the Forerunners message forming inside me.
Further, almost every major or minor prophet in Scripture communicated God’s heart to see people turn from their sin and come to faith—He is a forgiving and loving God—as well as the divine judgment that awaits individuals and nations who repeatedly harden their hearts to Him. Finding that the message God has put in my heart is also repeated throughout Scripture is tremendously motivating.
Also, as I’ve watched the news, read the newspaper, and surfed the internet, it has become obvious that if God exists, and He is holy, He will judge the world by putting an end to much of what we see taking place today (Isa. 24:1–23; Rev. 18:1–24). But I am also assured in Scripture that His intention is to save as many people as possible before the end comes (2 Pet. 3:1–15). In other words, God has used real-life current events to deepen the message in my soul.
Last, as I have walked with the Lord for over 30 years, I have had various experiences where the Lord has impressed upon me something I needed to know (John 10:4; Rom. 10:17; Eph. 1:17). Even so, my subjective experiences with the Lord are more for my edification and calling than for you—just as yours are more for you than they are for me. Nevertheless, these experiences resting on the truth of Scripture are a powerful combination and should not be ignored.
In summary, because I am convinced of the message that God has honed in me over many years, I actively seek opportunities to influence our culture. I am compelled to warn people that America will be greatly humbled—and to encourage and equip Christians to prepare themselves to stand firm both now and through increasing difficulties so that we can see dramatically more fruit. But this is my testimony. What about you? Of what you are convinced? And how does God want to use you as a cultural influencer?