Imagine this—throughout human history there has existed two streams, the stream of good and the stream of evil. One might say light vs. dark—or God vs. anti God. A well known pastor once concluded that these two streams have been running in opposite directions throughout history at a slow enough speed to allow you and me to have a foot in both of them. I think you get the idea here—this is where so many of us who call ourselves followers of Christ tend to live.
Today we are finding that these streams are no longer slowly meandering. Rather, they are now moving so rapidly on opposite courses that if you try to have a foot in each—you will be torn apart. In other words, the light is becoming brighter and more obvious at the same time as the darkness is becoming more intense. In my lifetime I have never seen this much polarization in our nation. I am convinced that it is going to get substantially worse at a faster pace than we can imagine.
Consider the following list of controversial beliefs in our culture today:
- Homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexuality and should be celebrated
- A developing fetus in the womb is not a human being…you can destroy it if you choose
- Without a single shred of evidence to support the theory of evolution…you accept it as fact
- With incontrovertible evidence to support that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead…you deny it
- It is more important to give people who are down-and-out a handout instead of a hand up
- Mankind is causing global warming and it will inevitably lead to our demise. Though the evidence is inconclusive, those who are skeptical are ignorant
- We should have open borders and all people should be allowed to enter our country…no restrictions
- The US constitution should be a fluid document and we should be changing it to better suit the times we live in
- Racism is the worst it has ever been in our country and the police and white privilege are mostly to blame
- Socialism is preferable to Capitalism and the government has the answers to most of our problems
- Islam is a religion of peace
- All religions are equal and any who claim to possess the “truth” should be condemned as intolerant
If you could use only one word to describe someone who believes in 90 percent of this, what would it be?
I am suggesting this exercise because I think it is time for those of us who are truly Bible believing Christians to get our heads out of the sand. These and many other issues we are facing today are defining the battleground. Consensus on these ideological positions is no longer possible. The enemy of our soul is alive and well among us.
We have allowed our voices to be silenced by those who cleverly define Biblical/moral values as political…they are NOT! We cannot allow this to continue, but I fear we do not know how to stop it. We are awkward and intimidated in our response to a pervasive anti-God culture. So, what does all this mean? What can we take away from this?
Before I suggest what we need to do, let me tell you what we need to avoid. We do not need more Christian apologetics and worldview experts to help us define the problem. While the information is helpful and stirs a lot of emotions, it fails to get to the heart of what is necessary. We also do not need, nor can we tolerate, reluctance on the part of our pastors and leaders to call out sin and anti-Christian sentiment from our political leaders and institutions. Finally, we do not need more Christians getting angry and trying to argue our way through this quagmire. It only pushes people further away.
One of the greatest challenges we face in advancing the message of Jesus Christ in our world today comes from our inability to transition from anger and disgust to love and grace.
Ok, so what is the answer, Vince? Good question! I want to offer my best counsel here with a caveat—I am only a man. I am not God. Please take what I am about to share in a prayerful and measured way.
If you have been following my TargetPoint articles for some time you may recall back in November of 2008 I felt strongly that God gave me a word. In fact there were five words—MY PEOPLE ARE NOT PREPARED! I remember not completely understanding at that time what that meant. It was only a short time later that we experienced one of the worst financial meltdowns in recent history.
I remember how many of God’s people were devastated. Marriages and families were in crisis. We recognized later that very little of this had to do with our circumstances. In fact, all the circumstances did was shine a light on the lack of substance that was there all along. Someone once said, trials in life do not make a person…they reveal them.
Born out of intense personal experience and some hard knocks, I have come to understand what many of you have heard me share as, THE SECRET TO LIFE. If you have watched me speak, you may recall the hand illustration I use to suggest how we place God between ourselves and our circumstances. It is only then that we are able to see our world through His eyes—this is key.
It is not easy, however. I must admit that I am vulnerable to being sucked into the twenty-four hour news cycle with its unending array of hot news flashes. It is obvious that so much of this is embellished to persuade our views and increase ratings. DEAR ONES PLEASE HEAR ME—THERE IS NO WAY FOR ME TO TAKE MY EYES OFF ALL OF THIS UNLESS I PUT MY LORD IN FRONT.
So here is what I want you to consider as a takeaway; in order for us to truly put God between us and our current circumstances…to address where we are today in our world and be in a position to truly make a difference, we need to draw near to Him (James 4:8). There is no other way. God’s word calls us to love Him and each other—the two greatest commandments. Can you imagine how different our world would look if we could accomplish this?
Here are some ideas I would ask you to consider:
- Stop being a news junkie—you are being manipulated and brainwashed—there is no more objectivity
- Spend the time you use taking in information from the TV, internet and newspapers and add it up—then determine to use that time to meet with God—reading His word, praying, praising and listening.
- Bottom line, quit doing 360’s looking for answers—simply lift your head straight up to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings
- Surround yourself with people who are like minded for encouragement and prayer support—we so desperately need that
- Start or join a weekly support/accountability group—for men, women or as couples
Consider the giant Sequoia or Redwood Tree, one of the largest living organisms on the planet. They are enormous and strong, but did you know that just one Sequoia or Redwood is incapable of standing on its own? Their very shallow root structure, underground and unseen, is intertwined with their fellow giants. They literally hold each other up.
Dear friends, please understand that the winds of the world are blowing with more force today than at any time in recent history…if you try to go it alone—you will be blown over.
If you are able to do these few simple things I know that God, by His Spirit, will equip you to better navigate and ultimately become the man or woman He intended. It will not be by posturing, arguing or political maneuvering—it will be by His Spirit.
On a personal note, three years ago God impressed upon me the need to spend more time with Him. He told me I was not taking my responsibility as a minister of His word seriously enough. I will never forget that encounter. Since then I have been spending 2-3 hours every morning reading His word, praying, praising and listening. IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.
BY THE WAY, GOD HATES CONSENSUS!