It can be easy, sometimes, to get numb to the evil that we see in the world. Perhaps at first, the things we saw bothered us, but as time passed, we started getting “used to it all.” Now we barely notice it at all.
Paul certainly didn’t have that problem. He walked into Athens and saw a number of idols all over the place. And Luke tells us,
He was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols (16).
The NASB puts it this way,
His spirit was being provoked within him.
The word provoked is used only twice in the New Testament, once here, and second, in of all places, I Corinthians 13:5 where Paul writes that love is not easily provoked or angered.
Yet Paul was provoked here. Why? Because people were going to hell because of these idols. Satan had deceived them and was making a mess of their lives. And so he did something about it. He boldly took the gospel to these people that they might be saved.
How about you? Are you provoked by the evil around you? By the injustice? By people calling what’s evil good? By Satan’s work that causes people to be destroyed every day? If not, there is something wrong. People inhabited by God’s Spirit cannot just look at evil and yawn. We cannot be indifferent. We need to go out led by God’s Spirit and be light and salt to the world around us. Jesus said,
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (Matthew 5:13-15)
Are you tasteless salt because you’ve become numb to the evil that’s in the world? Are you a hidden light because of your indifference?
Let us be neither. Rather let us be provoked in our spirit to the point that we do something about it. Let us no longer sit in silence, but go as God’s light in a darkened world.