2016 is upon us and it’s certain to be accompanied by a relentless barrage of political, social, and culturally driven agendas. Election years only seem to emphasize the deep rifts that already exist. The ideological differences in our society play out among people in every season. You see these differences punctuated during election cycles, times of crisis, and during the holidays. Herein lies the problem: Many Christians are using carnal weapons to fight the culture. Let’s look at the futility of fighting the worldly culture instead of relying on the weapons the Lord has given to us to engage this dark world. Will this be another year when Christians, culture, and carnal weapons collide?
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
The past years are replete with instances of ‘Christians’ responding to the culture with the same shrill, vitriolic, angry stance found in unbelievers. Just look at what happens every year when Christmas rolls around. There is a war of words, tit for tat, and an eye for an eye approach taken by some Christians who just have to…..fight for their rights. If a town clerk shelves a manger scene or a school district renames the Christmas program to the ‘holiday or Winter program’…..some folks come unglued. Letters to the school board are sent in abundance and shouting matches ensue at board meetings…..all in the name of religious liberty.
Abortion is a practice and a word I wish could be struck from this land for good. Along with it…..I wish the practice of shoving, nose to nose confrontations, and shrill yelling from some ‘Christians’ would stop. I’m all for voting with our values and writing to our elected officials. I’m all for defunding Planned Parenthood and other so called ‘health services’ that murder babies. The spiritual battle is waged peacefully by handing out tracts where legally allowed near clinics. This battle can include engaging, counseling, and praying with desperate lost women who are hungry for the truth. Giving out tracts, contact information to adoption/Christian based services, and offering counsel and prayer are how lives are changed and possibly saved……..not by marching, yelling, and fighting toe to toe. It’s godly sorrow that brings lasting change because it brings people to repentance. Many women walking into abortion clinics are desperate and broken. They need your help, a gospel tract, and certainly need to know there is hope in Jesus.
We see this same scenario played out in the homosexuality issue. We witnessed in just this past year….a showdown around many statehouses, including here in Indiana over RIFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act). We see this clash of cultures replayed everywhere from classrooms to pride parades. Why is it that the media is stocked with footage of some Christians standing nose to nose with sign in hand, and shouting to the top of their lungs? This has much more to do with being heard than it does seeing lost souls come to saving faith.
The truth of what the Bible says about homosexuality and judgement for sin…all sin, and conviction only the Spirit brings will produce godly sorrow that leads to repentance…..nothing else. Am I advocating sitting on our hands, putting our heads in the sand, and moving to a sparsely populated Christian commune on some mountaintop until the Lord returns? Of Course not…….anyone who’s read Concerning The Times for any length of time will know I stand for conservative Christian values. We believe in the sanctity of life and that homosexuality is a bondage that can be broken just like every other sin.
We should vote our conscience, write our legislators, and believe the constitution should be interpreted and employed as the founders intended. We should attempt to vote out rogue judges and legislators who don’t represent conservative traditional values. Moreover, we should earnestly for our nation and those in authority, even if we don’t agree with them. but is a far cry from what I see happening across the political and religious spectrum now.
There is a new ‘Christian movement’ I see emerging……and it’s nothing short of being rooted in dominionism and kingdom now beliefs. This ‘Christian’ is a person who demands that the world stand up and take notice….a religious zealot of sorts. They will get on facebook, twitter, and other social media to bring the fight to the world. The fight they bring is often politically motivated by the belief that: If we just get the right person in office, the right party in majority, or ‘vote them all out’…….we will win America back for Jesus and stop the mouths of the opposition.
I’ve been around for many election cycles. I’ve seen movements and boycotts come and go. I’ve seen preachers become politicians and the result is still the same: The world is as dark as ever. Why do some expect to usher in the kingdom and win right now when the Bible doesn’t promise this?
When the world is dark, violent, and evil…it’s just the world being the world. Why do we expect anything different?
When a true Christian relies on the mighty weapons God has provided……our outlook changes. Here is what a great Bible commentator said about worldly versus godly weapons and our interaction with lost souls:
– Matthew Henry on 2 Cor 10:1-6 The work of the ministry is a spiritual warfare with spiritual enemies, and for spiritual purposes. Outward force is not the method of the gospel, but strong persuasions, by the power of truth and the meekness of wisdom. Conscience is accountable to God only; and people must be persuaded to God and their duty, not driven by force. Thus the weapons of our warfare are very powerful; the evidence of truth is convincing. What opposition is made against the gospel, by the powers of sin and Satan in the hearts of men! But observe the conquest the word of God gains. The appointed means, however feeble they appear to some, will be mighty through God. And the preaching of the cross, by men of faith and prayer, has always been fatal to idolatry, impiety, and wickedness.
What would happen if we engage, expose, and when necessary, confront people with the truth from God’s word? Some would certainly come to saving faith in Jesus and leave homosexuality, plans for abortion, and promoting darkness behind. The keyword is some, because others will choose to remain in darkness. The good news is the Lord brings the harvest and the results are up to Him. The Word of God (the Bible) is one of our primary weapons to fight the onslaught of evil. Another powerful weapon is prayer and we need to do more of it.
What would happen if the shrill shouts for religious beliefs and rights in the public square were replaced by prayer? What if we prayed for desperate women around abortion clinics and prayed with desperate homosexuals stuck in a lifestyle of abuse, perpetual loneliness, and guilt? God hears the prayer that comes from a broken and contrite heart. He will make a repentant person brand new. No amount of political or religious fervor will change a person…only God can.
That brings me to a third weapon Christians have. Faith is one of the most powerful weapons we have. Instead of putting faith in a political party, a man, a government, or a movement…what would happen if we placed our faith squarely on the Lord where it belongs? We wouldn’t feel hopeless even when it looks like we are loosing and evil is prevailing. It is true that the world is dark and growing darker. None of the entities listed above have the power to make this world better and banish evil. Wars still rage, economies will fail, disease will increase, disasters will continue, and some will choose to ignore the gospel and go on sinning. We can still remain hopeful because the battle is the Lord’s. He will bring some to saving faith, He will answer prayer and stay the grip of evil where He chooses, and ultimately He will rule the world and bring in perfect peace.
Until that day comes, we must resolve to take heart, fight the good fight, and finish well. We are in this world….not of it. We are strangers, aliens, and exiles. We need to stop trying to change the world by ‘Christianizing’ the culture…..it hasn’t worked & will not work. Carnal weapons won’t bring one soul to the Lord.
It’s a sad day when some ‘Christians’ spend more time reading the latest gossip about Kaitlin Jenner than the do reading the Bible. Only by prayer, fasting, faith, and bringing the Bible’s truths to people will we see people transformed…..even as the culture grows darker.
Instead of worrying about who comes out of the closet…….we should spend time in our prayer closet!
Look at the example Jesus and the Apostles left us. They lived in and among the Roman Empire. They were among multitudes of people oppressed, living, and often thriving in the darkness of the generation. They didn’t march on Rome. They didn’t organize boycotts and galvanize the early Christians to bring the fight to the streets. They didn’t work alongside Rome or the Sanhedrin and get the right guy into power to make Rome or Judea a Christian nation.The early Christians spoke the word of God unashamedly, prayed continuously, fasted earnestly, and preached Jesus boldly. People were saved, lives were changed, and the early Christian’s hope wasn’t diminished…..even in the face of fierce persecution and cultural pressure.
Early believers were looking for the Kingdom to come…..not trying to create it down here.
If many of today’s believers would quit clamoring for ‘their rights’, fighting the world, and demanding action: we could know the blessings of what it means to share in the trials, suffering, and ultimate victory of Jesus, much like the early church experienced. Instead of getting behind the campaign efforts of our favorite man or woman, we should be bold witnesses for Jesus.
Instead of working to bolster a political campaign, we should be telling people about heaven and hell. Instead of worrying that the nation will be doomed if the other one gets voted in, we should be looking forward to a city who’s architect and builder is the Lord. Most importantly, instead of making sure all of the Christians are all geared up for election day, believers should be busy warning lost souls about judgement day.
Trump, Clinton, Sanders, Obama, Biden: this all pales in comparison to where lost souls will be 100 years from now. It’s a bit wearisome and disheartening to see nationally well known evangelists and teachers conducting rallies and gatherings in order to tell Christians how to vote. Yes, I believe we should vote and do what we can to vote for moral legislation that reflects our values. But when I see evangelical leaders spending large amounts of time preparing Christians for the election, I believe it’s indicative of movement that places it’s hope in a nation and not God even though the flavor of the movement is religious and even evangelical.
2 Peter 3:9-10 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
We need to be broken over people going to hell and dying. Trying and even succeeding at fixing America won’t add souls to the Lamb’s Book of Life. This world is passing away and will soon be under God’s righteous falling judgement. I’m not being fatalistic here because I made it clear that how and why we should vote. But trying to stem the tide of lawlessness and evil in this nation by banning religious people together in some sort of movement, is like trying to stop the water coming over Niagara Falls with a popsicle stick. We are not at war with this culture, we are at war with the enemy of people’s souls.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
There is no need to place your faith in a political party, a person, a movement, or a fight. My hope isn’t in the Republican party, the Democrat party, or hoping we get the right amount of Christians in Congress. My hope is in the Lord. As much as I care about the United States and I call it my home, I go through each day knowing we are strangers and aliens here because heaven is truly my eternal home.
Believers have every weapon at our disposal to engage the world……not to be like it. We don’t have to fight, shout, or post outrageous statements on social media to be heard. No amount of likes, up votes, or kudos will bring you the lasting peace only God brings. May your faith and hope be placed squarely on the Lord Jesus no matter what the new year brings.
The great classic hymn by Edward Mote rings true in our dark day:
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
All for Him,
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