So many Christians today are doing their best Chicken Little impressions. With every new economic policy from Washington, with each new Supreme Court decision concerning same sex marriage, with the discovery of the rising popularity of preaching and teaching that is not gospel centered and (insert your own crisis here), the voices of Christian leadership rise as one to declare that “the sky is falling.” It is almost as if our generation of Christians think that we have never faced crisis moments before. The truth is that the Christians who preceded us faced far more more serious conflicts than we in our current Western culture have ever experienced. I am not trying to minimize the cultural offenses that are perpetrated against people of faith – I just want us to keep things in perspective. We are not more persecuted now than before – it’s just that the first century church did not have a 24 news cycle to fill and hundreds of channels (not to mention internet resources) with which to catalog the struggle. The enemy, his goal and his strategy – as well as his commitment to accomplishing his goal – has never wavered. So let me remind you of a couple of things that I think we seem to have begun to forget.
1) You are not imagining things – things are definitely getting worse. (Warning – my eschatalogical colors are about to be on display.) The Word of God assures us that things are going to continue to deteriorate. There will be a consistent worsening of the world situation until Jesus raptures the church and inaugurates the events that will wrap this thing up. So don’t despair at the degrading of our culture – rather see is as confirmation that the Word of God is true and can be depended on. If the Word of God is right about this, it is also right about the ultimate victory of God and vindication of his children. So come on – stop your belly-aching. This is what is supposed to happen. Your complaining reveals that you are surprised that the bible is true! Don’t sound like a loser Christian – you are MORE than a conqueror.
2) President Obama is not the enemy of Christianity. Satan is the enemy of Christianity. The president is a man who occupies a position of authority because God placed him there. You don’t have to like him, you don’t have to agree with him, you don’t have to support his ideas and you don’t have to vote for him. But you do have to pray for him – regularly and sincerely. And you cannot pray for someone you hate. Paul teaches us that when we rebel against authority we are actually rebelling against the one who has placed them in authority. In those instance where you are compelled by an authority’s apparent violation of biblical principles to be “civilly” disobedient, even then you have to do it in a Godly manner. I will repeat it – President Obama is not the enemy. And just for the record – homosexuals are not the enemy, abortionists are not the enemy, etc… We do have an enemy – he is Satan. ( Remember our battle is not against flesh and blood). Believe it or not Satan is pleased for Christians to rail against these faux enemies. It makes us look like blowhards and gets us off his back, Fight Satan – pray for your president. There is a difference.
So what is the upshot of all this? I defer to that great bastion of theological thinking – the Andy Griffith Show – for my conclusion. In one of my favorite episodes Andy’s 5 year old son, Opie, stops by his dad’s office (the courthouse) on his way to school. As Opie goes out the door Andy pats him on the rear end and says “Have a good day and ACT LIKE SOMEBODY!” Brother/sister – you are a redeemed child of the most high God. You are a possessor of all the treasures of heaven and guaranteed and exalted place in God’s eternal kingdom. You are not some hopeless, helpless, desperate, whining, wimp. (Which is – by the way – what the world thinks you are, largely because that is often what you sound like.) Replace your endless criticism for the president and all our other elected leaders with consistent prayer and fasting on their behalf. Replace your endless belly-aching about the worsening of our society with faithful proclamation that God’s Word saw it coming. And replace your validation of the world’s insulting characterization of you as a whiny, wimpy child of God with a declaration that you are assuming your rightful role as a child of the most high God. Go ahead and enjoy life! Have a good day and (Andy was right) act like somebody. If you belong to Jesus – you are!