In our last devotion, we discussed the concept of neutrality and explored how this is sometimes linked to people pleasing. Today we will consider the term advocacy and consider what role the church has to play in this area. An advocate is someone who publicly supports a cause or who champions a case on someone’s behalf. Lawyers are considered advocates as they attend courts to present a case on behalf of a client.
John makes reference to Jesus Christ being an advocate for the church. The encouragement is that we do not fall into sin, but if we do sin, we have an advocate in the person of Jesus. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). A propitiator is someone who stands in the gap to appease or make amends for the wrongs done by others.
Our aim and assignment is to be like Jesus and to do greater works than he did. This often means standing in the gap for the less fortunate and being a voice for people who do not have a voice. There are many groups of people in the world who are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination. The church cannot afford to be silent on issues that affect the marginalised and oppressed. Neither can the church choose only to be vocal around issues that encourage ‘religious posturing’ such as abortion.
We are salt and light. Light cannot be hidden but shines brighter in the darkness. We are the salt of the earth and salt preserves and adds flavour to what would otherwise be bland and tasteless (Matthew 5:13-16). The church represents the heartbeat of the world and it is our presence on earth which keeps the Devil from having complete dominion.
Our prayers are powerful and effective and we have a role to play in prayer for our nations and the world. However, there are circumstances when we have to do more than praying. Some occasions require a helping hand or a voice crying out to the darkness to stand back and allow the light to shine through.
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).