Today it seems like everyone is divided by something. It might be by the way a government is handling the current pandemic. It could be over the reopening of the economy in the midst of all this division, or, maybe it’s because of the civil unrest brought about by the brutality of a few “bad apples” in a police department. Whatever the case, we are a people divided.
Unfortunately, this spirit of division has not left the Christian Church unscathed. Today the church is fighting with divisions based on sexuality, justice for all, black lives, all lives and institutional priorities. That’s just a few. But what is most important as a Christian is the way I prioritize and respond to these issues. What do I do? When do I do it? What do I do first, and what takes priority over something else? These, and others, are all valid questions as I ponder my personal response to a world in turmoil around me.
I think that our response needs to emanate from a heart with a clear perspective of who we are as Christians. Why, because as a Christian I am no longer “of the world,” I am a new creation in Christ, and now follow the Spirit and not the world. So, lets clear up a few things in advance. First, God does not need our help figuring things out. That’s right, God does not need me to do anything in order for Him to accomplish His will. He’s got this! But in my human heart I want to “take action” and see results. Friends, that’s not always the response God is looking for, many times He simply wants us to be living examples of faith in Him for others.
Having enough faith in God to do our best to follow His will during times of upheaval is a witness that God wants to use to bring others to faith. You find this played out in many of the battles listed in the Old Testament as Israel fought against other nations. How ridiculous they looked as the demonstrated their trust in God at a time when they felt like they should be doing other things to prepare.
Joshua 6:15 On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times.
Are you kidding me! What a bunch of idiots! Maybe so, but this bunch of idiots were faithful to God and did what He prescribed even though it looked ridiculous and made no sense. In fact, they were putting themselves in harm’s way! But in the end, God used their faithfulness to bring His will to fruition and many to faith.
Moses. Remember him? He led the Israelites out into the desert, then to a dead end by the seashore, and with the Egyptian Army closing in to kill them. Really? “If we are gonna get out of this alive, we had better get ready for battle!” Not! God required that they have faith in Him, don’t worry, be calm, have more faith than ever in Me and watch what I’ll do! And the rest is history. The entire Egyptian Army was decimated. And the list goes on …
It’s an extremely fine line between approaching a situation from a human perspective or a faith perspective. It demands that we put into action our level of faith. That means letting God control the situation. Doing our best to follow God’s council and direction. It might even mean submitting our understanding and will to His. Isn’t that what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane? This is a very difficult and touchy situation, and actually, one that has a lot of opinion, discussion and emotion behind it.
Let me share with you a few thoughts. I’ve been told lately that Christians are to stand up to oppression in all forms and are to resist. While that is true there is a question that begs to be answered: “What gives you the right to be the judge of what is right or wrong? Certainly, if something goes against God’s Law it is sinful and wrong. But, if the issue is based on personal opinion or desire, as Christians we are to yield to obedience to God. Let me explain.
When it comes to the issue of abortion, as a Christian I accept God’s Law and see it as sinful and wrong. I am to resist it in all fashions and do my part to change it. But, if the issue is simply to wear a mask or not, I am to submit my personal feelings in obedience to God as those in authority over me have been appointed by God. Hmmmm, I’m not sure I like this!