“Stop your fighting–and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” Psalm 46:10
“We win!” These are the words I continue to hear from the mouths and fingertips of christians in this volatile political and social season.
What does that mean?
- If your preferred candidate wins office who most closely represents Biblical values?
- If justice prevails in the courts?
- If corruption is exposed and justice meted?
I’ve been baffled by these statements. Haven’t christians already won? Was the cross not enough of a victory? Did we forget God showed us the ending? Or have we misapplied His words and promises to fit our desires?
We have an idolatry problem. We have placed our rights, our comforts, and our freedoms on the altar. We’ve decided we will do anything and everything to keep what we want. In our desperation to protect our idols, we attack, we fight, and we demand.
We’ve idolized understanding, believing it is our right to know and understand all that is taking place. “Wisdom and strength belong to God; counsel and understanding are His.” Job 12:13
Please don’t misunderstand me. I love my life, my rights, and my comforts. I desire to stay informed. But are we desiring these in the name of justice and righteousness to the point we stopped caring about the watching world observing our fight?
Have we bitten the apple which bites back? Eve bit the apple, which she believed would give her wisdom and understanding of good and evil. We follow in her footsteps desiring to know more than God has unveiled for us to know. As it turns out we live in an age of more information than a soul or mind can handle. May we consume with great caution.
Information is “uncovered” and shared, and believers claim God is unveiling. Friends, satan appears as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) A friend posted the most dangerous tool we’ve used in the last year is the share button. I tend to agree with her.
What have we won? We can be right and lose.
Steve’s words echo in my mind, “You can be right and still lose.” More than being right is communicating the message. God has tasked us as His ambassadors to tell the world about all the corruption and demand justice. Oh, wait. No He hasn’t.
We can be absolutely right about much going on in the world, but how we communicate to a hopeless world is the difference between life and death for eternity.
Here’s our actual assignments:
- Go and make disciples – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19
- In our fighting, demanding, and posting, we are losing disciples. We are absolutely pushing away those God desires come to Him.
- Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44
- The christian culture is slaying the enemies with words and posts and calls to rise up.
- The American church doesn’t understand persecution, so when our fears become a potential threat, we fight. The majority of the world on the other side of the globe lives under true persecution.
- We are different. We can love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
- Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, to love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
- I don’t interpret act justly as demand justice. Yes, God is a just God. He demands justice. But He brings it. Some of us are used in our vocations or callings to do just that. But others of us are taking scripture and modifying it to give us permission to act out of our idolatrous desires.
- Act. Love. Walk. These are all what we do, not demand of those around us. We act justly to all. We love mercy and show it. We walk humbly, not as one who is right and knows all.
Don’t be surprised by trouble.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Our peace isn’t in this world. It’s in Him. Christians we’ve veered off course and it’s time to come back. The world needs peace. It’s not found in a political system. Doesn’t history reveal this?
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:19
Silence the world to hear God
God directed me off social media several weeks ago. He didn’t say why. He didn’t say it was temporary or permeant. I’ve stopped asking God to give me explanations and understanding and have found the freedom in simply saying yes to Him.
Everything has changed in my heart as it relates to what is happening in our country right now.
I’ve been sad, mad, and scared. I started 2020 quite vocal in my thoughts and opinions. Some of those may be right, but my love began to grow cold. I was becoming cynical, self-righteous, and prideful.
I began seeing people through the lens of social media posts, narrowing them down to judgements based on 100 words they shared.
God called me out of it into a time of resting in His embrace.
Expect persecution and prepare now. How should christians respond?
It’s only in America we feel surprised by persecution. In his book, The Blessing of Humility, Jerry Bridges writes, “I predict the various types of nonphysical persecution will become more widespread and intense.”
“So we need to be prepared to respond in ways that honor God.”
This is what is weighing down my heart. How are we responding to the idea or threat of coming persecution?
Bridges continues, “I suspect that our own court system will eventually fail us, as more and more judges are appointed who have been trained in law schools that at best are indifferent to biblical righteousness and at worst are openly hostile to it.”
“It is quite apparent that the Bible no longer has moral authority in society as a whole. So we should expect increasing marginalization of Christians, and in some instances curtailment of our religious freedom. How should we respond? Certainly not in a combative cultural-warfare attitude. Rather, it should be based on the principle Jesus taught in Matthew 5:44: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
“As I observe the response of so many Christians to the eroding of what have been called “traditional values,” I am concerned that we are acting no differently than many nonbelievers who may care nothing about the Bible but who want to defend those values. Instead of loving those whose actions and lifestyles we oppose, we seem to engage in some form of action that is inconsistent with Jesus’ admonition to love our enemies.”
Persecution brings blessing
In the following quote, Bridges sums up what has been stirring in my heart during my social media absence.
“Another important question is, How will we respond if our religious freedom is curtailed and our court protection fails us? Will we consider ourselves to be blessed because of being reviled or persecuted for righteousness’ sake? When push comes to shove, will we really believe that God is sovereign over all the affairs of humanity?”
“Will we believe that, despite many appearances to the contrary, Jesus is building His church and ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18)?”
Bridges states he asks these questions because he himself doesn’t know how he would respond when that day should come.
I’m realizing about myself that my eternal mindset needs to be sharpened. It’s time to live what we claim to believe. It’s time to smash our idols and be willing to love our enemies and pray for them. It’s time to see that it’s an honor to join Christ in His sufferings.
The American church, the American political system were never promised in the Bible. I love America. But we are not of this world. (John 17:16) Maybe we should live that way.
What do I want Jesus to say to me?
I don’t imagine Jesus will say to me, “Great political posts that incited your friends and enemies.” He likely won’t say, “Great job in turning the eyes of all who watched back onto world events and leading a crusade to protect your rights.” It’s unlikely He will say, “Great job using your wisdom to seek out all the mysteries I had hidden for your protection.”
You know what I want to hear Him say? Something along these lines:
- “You joined in my sufferings well. Well done, faithful servant.”
- “Well done, faithful servant, you kept your eyes fixed on me, what was unseen rather than seen.”
- “Good job, child of Mine, you trusted in My righteousness and justice to prevail rather than fighting for your own.”
- “Thank you for praying for those who persecuted my church. Many of them have joined you here today because of those prayers.”
- “Well done waiting for my timing. It was but a mist. Here is your reward.”
Friends, I’m repenting. I’ve fought God in my heart as I claimed to fight for His ways. I’ve been wrong in many ways as I’ve navigated this unsettling season. But God is good, patient, and kind.
It’s our responsibility as the church to represent the truth of who He is. Jesus is the only answer. The only solution. The only way to true peace.
Peace will not be found here apart from Christ.
I encourage you to read Isaiah 41 as you ponder these words and seek God for your next steps in this season.
He will return for His church. We will stand in eternity and realize our time on earth was quite short. We have work to do to bring souls with us. Let’s be careful and wise as we move forward.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12