Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Romans 8:23, 24a - And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved…
Posted by Steven at 10:23 PM
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I typically try to avoid speaking my mind too openly on my blog, facebook, etc, when it comes to politics. Not because I don't have strong political opinions (just ask my family about some of our Friday night discussions!) but because I have always felt that it's more important to love people than to express my political leanings. This is not to say that I have a problem with you if you are one who enjoys speaking their mind openly about politics. I am simply saying that, for myself, I want to be careful that I keep myself in a position to minister the love of Christ to people regardless of their politics and not alienate people based on something as temporary and fleeting as politics. Again, I don't wish to appear "holier-than-thou" or come across as though I'm in any way looking down on those who choose to be more open about their political beliefs. If you read this post and go away feeling like I've just been judgmental and unkind, then you've missed the point entirely and I encourage to go back and read it again. With that disclaimer, I approach the topic of politics and revival.
Even though I do not have a problem with people expressing their political beliefs openly, I do have to say that I am often grieved and deeply concerned by some of the trends I see out there. It seems that most Christians today have bought into the "American Dream" and our "right" to pursue liberty, happiness, etc, to the point where we come across as if we hold the Constitution of the United States in higher regard than anything else, including the Bible. Don't get me wrong. I am often grieved and frustrated by the things that are happening in this country that I love and call my home. But as a Christian, I am primarily called to follow Christ and witness His love to others. No matter how much I may be frustrated by government or the loss of freedoms, none of those things will matter at all on Judgment Day. What will matter is, will I be able to stand before God with the knowledge that all is well with my soul and will I be able to honestly say I've done my best to share His love with as many other people as I could along the way.
I fear that we American Christians have bought into the "American Dream" so deeply that we forget that this world is a broken and fallen place that is but a fleeting vapor that we pass through in our rapid advance toward eternity. I know many Christians find themselves frustrated and alarmed with the SCOTUS ruling today. I understand that. What I don't understand is the levels of despair that I've seen in some places. How can a child of God find themselves in despair over politics when the Bible clearly teaches us that Christ is supreme over all things, including all world leaders, all politics, all freedoms people enjoy or don't have opportunity to enjoy in this world, and all events that shape the world we live in. Further the Bible teaches that, as children of God, Christ is actively engaged in making ALL things work together for our GOOD. This includes political decisions; the ones we like and the ones we don't.
Further, I have seen the idea put forth that things are growing so desperate and dark in America that surely God must have to return soon to claim His bride because it can't get much worse and God still be able to put up with it. Where does that idea come from? Do we read the Bible? How much evil has been perpetrated upon people throughout history and still God waits, giving men extended opportunity to repent and be saved. I don't presume to know the motives of people who say these kinds of things, but it seems to come across (whether intentionally or not) that we American Christians think we are so special to God that surely He cannot abide seeing our freedoms taken away from us and not come in His final judgment upon those who would presume to strip these freedoms away. This is the primary reason I say it seems as though we have bought entirely too much stock in our "right" to pursue the "American Dream." If God did not see fit to come in final judgment against those who devastated His chosen people in the Holocaust (among many other times throughout history), how is it that we can reasonably espouse the idea that God MUST come and avenge us? And sooner rather than later?
Don't misunderstand. I believe we should be always looking for and praying for the soon return of Christ. But are we looking for and praying for it in the right spirit and for the right reasons? Or have we really allowed pride and arrogance to so invade our thinking that we actually believe that God's final judgment is to avenge the wrongs done to us? God's final judgment will be to avenge Himself and the crimes that every single one of us has committed against Him! In His mercy, He has chosen to provide a way of escape from the penalty of that judgment by pouring out His wrath on His own Son and making salvation available to all who will repent and turn to Him. But none of us deserves that mercy. No matter how much we may have been lulled into the belief that we deserve our freedoms and don't deserve to have them take away from us, it's not true. As sinners, we don't deserve any good thing; only eternal damnation. So it bothers me that we can get so exercised about every little change thrust upon us in the political arena but seem nearly incapable of showing even a small portion of that kind of outrage toward sin and the lives that are being destroyed all around us by sin! Even if we were to lose every freedom we hold dear in this life, we cannot afford to let our focus drift from the all-encompassing supremacy of Christ and His Lordship over ALL things no matter how out of control or disorder they may seem from our very limited point of view.
And finally, I come to revival. There seems to be an increasing interest in revival within the Church in recent days and I pray that God will once again hear the cries of His people and send revival to our land so that many souls will be set free from bondage and come to know the inexpressible beauty of Christ and His love. But I fear that if we are not careful, we will end up sacrificing revival on the altar of the "American Dream" and fail to see God work among us because we are more interested in holding on to our political freedoms than we are in anything else. Again, please don't misunderstand. We should fight for religious freedom in every way we can, but we need to balance that with the recognition that one of the biggest reasons America has drifted so far away from God is precisely because of the freedoms that we have enjoyed for so long. We've gotten lazy and arrogant; believing that it's all about our right to feel happy and fulfilled in this life. Revival may not come until freedom is stripped away and people are forced to face the harsh realities of life without those freedoms. My question is: are we as Christians willing to endure hardship and pain for the sake of seeing the lost saved? Or does our desire for revival end where our desire to pursue the "American Dream" begins?
Posted by Steven at 9:55 PM