The other day I heard someone ask, “With all that is going on in our world, wouldn’t it be a good time to get back to being close to Jesus?”
I don’t want to step on that person’s toes, but all the time, every day, day or night, good times or bad times, times of joy or times of sorrow, it is always time to walk close with Jesus.
These days are particularly challenging. Biblical precepts are being trounced upon every day from almost every direction. Many are calling for a removal of God from almost every venue in our nation. Many leaders who claim to be Christians are siding with religions that would destroy Christianity and force their ways on the “free people” of this nation. Many leaders cry out for respect for people in all their rainbow expressions and variations, yet deny the most basic respect to the unborn — the expression of their lives.
We live in a time in which many say with more seriousness than in the past that they are considering leaving this nation for a place less disingenuous and hypocritical. Many would like to find a place to live where they don’t have to put up with those of the 1970s who cried out for free speech, but now that they are in power want to bring about thought control.
I am as human as you are. I struggle with my disgust over what I see transpiring in our nation as much, if not more, than most.
But for the Christian, the question is not, “How do I feel?” or “What would I do if I were king?” The question is, “What would Christ have us do today and every day?”
One of the most well-known verses of Christian principle is, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus is talking to people who follow Him. He is talking to those that come to learn that “apart from Jesus, we can do nothing that is pleasing to God.” He is talking to those who are supposed to “imitate Him.”
In other words, He is talking to those who would want to be treated respectfully and in love by those who would disrespect and disenfranchise them. Thus, we must treat our leaders, and those of special interest groups, with love and respect. Do they deserve it? That is not the question. The question must be what does Jesus require of us?
Jesus is talking to people (hopefully you and me) who have come to know they have been forgiven of sins against God and people while under a shroud of darkness and being spiritually dead. Since the ones who are disrespecting us and attempting to disenfranchise us are spiritually dead, and do not truly understand or possibly even know what they are doing, why should we be surprised? And, why should we not do everything we can to shine the bright light of Christ and His Word into their dark and depraved world?
I know you would like to get away from all the disgust and deception that is becoming devoid of even a modicum of decency. But God through Christ has not called you to get away; He has called you to take a stand for Him. He has called you to care about those who are so deep in darkness that they do not truly care about themselves in any godly way.
Every time a heroin addict goes for another fix, he is telling himself that it is good for him, yet all the while he is destroying himself. That is a picture of the “politically correct” American culture today.
If we want to be a part of God’s work for this nation, we must become a part of the counter-culture. We must boldly take a stand for Jesus, caring about those who do not care about themselves.
How can we do that? With patience, integrity, and godly wisdom. It requires that we walk closely with Jesus every moment of every day, asking Him to help us filter all the garbage we are bombarded with, so that we can know what to respond to, and how to respond to it. It requires us to quit wanting to “get away from it all,” and to ask God to help us be content in the situation we find ourselves in. As God told us through Paul, “… godliness with contentment is of great value.”
So the questions are, “How can we be bold, and yet humble?” “How can we speak out, without speaking out of bounds?” “How can we draw the line, without crossing out the value of the person whose values we are standing against?”
These can be difficult questions, but questions God’s Word can answer. Acting on the answers to these questions will require great strength and integrity, but God’s Spirit is more than able to supply what we need. Remember, Jesus is “… able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond anything you could ask or even imagine, through the power that is already at work within you …”
Jesus felt the people of this nation were worth dying for. You and I need to be willing to die to self so that His love and light might reach them.
McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.