I’m tired of hearing about how America is falling apart as a nation. I’m wearied by the people claiming that we’ve abandoned our Christian roots. It’s frustrating to me that Christians are responding out of fear and sounding the alarm of future persecution. Why? Because Christians aren’t supposed to be characterized by fear, we are to be characterized by peace. We aren’t supposed to embrace the victim mentality, we are to embrace and love the victims. We aren’t supposed to be concerned with the future, because today has enough cares of it’s own.
I’m not saying that America isn’t falling apart nor am I implying that there isn’t some form of Christian heritage that America is moving away from—I’m saying that the ebb and flow of culture doesn’t define or re-define who we are to be or impact our faith.
So how are we to live intentionally as Christians in this “new world” called America?
1. By standing firm on the core message of the Gospel. That Christ died for our sins and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. That through Christ we find redemption, and it is only through Christ that people can be saved. That life in Christ is abundant life, intended to be full of the fruit of the Spirit including: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That is the core message of Christianity.
2. By standing unaffected and unafraid by the decisions and movements of our culture. Our culture doesn’t define our faith, our faith defines how we interact with our culture. To be frank, it doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court decides on marriage because they don’t have the privilege or place to define or re-define something that God created. They can yell, argue, debate, and try to play the part of God, but they’re still not God. I get that it’s a big deal because of the affect it will have on future generations, but if the Supreme Court has power to influence future generations it’s because the Church isn’t doing her job to stand on truth unaffected and unafraid.
3. By standing up for victims instead of attempting to stand in their place. We are not called to act like victims or embrace the victim mentality, we are called to care for the victims of the world. Again to be frank, we don’t know what persecution is! Look at the Middle East, China, India, Africa, Cuba—places where persecution really takes place, places where people are abused, tortured, and killed for following Christ. How silly is it for us to look to the future and complain about possibly losing special tax status. No special tax status = persecution? Really? Instead of spending so much time and energy complaining about what might happen, and the victims we might become, what if we instead, spent that same time caring for the orphans, widows, and those imprisoned unjustly? What if we took a homeless person out to lunch or sponsored a child? What if we fought against human trafficking and slavery? Those are victims.
Here’s my plea to the American Church—stop complaining about what’s happening in the culture and stop spending your energy on the wrong things. Stop being characterized by fear, and start living in the confidence we have as followers of Christ. Start acting like the church by being unified through the Spirit for the purposes of bringing God’s kingdom and will to earth. Stop worrying about how a Supreme Court decision—that we can’t change—will affect future generations, and instead do everything you can to reach future generations with the truth. That way, when our children’s children hear the culture say something that’s unBiblical, they will be full of the Spirit of Truth and recognize it for the false-teaching that it is. If there’s one thing our culture should remind us of, it’s that we live in a hostile place to the Gospel of Christ. We live in a fallen world, that has exchanged the truth of God for a lie. That is the mission field in which God has placed us. Instead of being afraid, let’s put on the full armor of God and stand firm in the peaceful confidence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For those of you—like me—who sometimes forget the different parts of the armor of God here’s a quick summary. (Eph. 6:10-18)
Put on the helmet of salvation that protects our minds from the false-teachings and ideas of our culture and the world.
Put on the breastplate of righteousness, which is a gift of God that leads to right living in which our good deeds witness to the unbeliever.
Put on the belt of truth—meaning you know, understand, pursue, embrace, and meditate on the truth of God found in the Scriptures.
Put on the shoes of the Gospel of peace. Not the shoes of fear. Not the shoes of worry or anxiety. The shoes that are ready to dwell in and share the Gospel of peace with all who will listen.
Put on the shield of faith, which can extinguish—did you catch that?—it can EXTINGUISH the flaming arrows of the evil one. Not block. Not divert. The shield of faith extinguishes the weapons that satan has especially designed against you.
Finally, pick up the sword of the Spirit for it is only through the power of God in you that you can go on the offensive and fight back against the strategies of the evil one. Remember, it’s through walking in the Spirit that we do not gratify the desires of the sinful nature, and instead live into the fullness of who God created us to be.