Ok, I hear you, saints.
Fear is not of God, and has no long-term place in the hearts of Christians.
Fear is a spirit, a cunning one at that. Fear waves have swept America in the wake of a future Trump Administration. Immigrants fear their family members will be separated and deported back to crime and poverty-filled countries. Muslims fear persecution and deportation for their religious beliefs. African-Americans fear white nationalism and supremacy will be normalized, and many Civil Rights achievements will be eradicated.
What about followers of Christ in the U.S.?
Has the epidemic of fear in America infected you? Have you engaged in election protests, as if your hope is built on earthly process versus Christ the solid rock?
I carry no harsh judgment as one who’s never been afraid before – because I have. However, I would like to remind Team Jesus of one, simple truth that, to some, will make the current fear in America look like a Sunday School picnic.
God has no respect of His children. Christians in America are equal opportunity martyrs just like Christians persecuted all over the world.
I know. Deep breath.
Now, What Were We Thinking?
I’m sorry-not-sorry, but – many Christians in America are some of the weakest, softest soldiers in the Body of Christ. (Hand raised – ouch!)
Yep. I said it. How?
First, to be able to live in America, with all of its flaws and shortcomings, is a blessing. There are so many people who dream of living in America. Many Christians around the world would die for the opportunity to worship Jesus Christ freely and openly – and some have died trying! Just imagine living in 1 of the top 25 worst places to live as a Christian. Check out their laws. We take our freedom for granted on a daily basis.
Second, we are over-consumed by the “work” of the church that there’s little effective room to do our Father’s business. Sadly, many have made the next church conference, meeting, or leadership appointment their “life’s work”. And, because there’s intrinsic good that comes from it, we’ve stamped God’s signature on many of our projects in the “name of the Lord”. How much, Team, do we do in our own names and forge God’s stamp of approval?
Third, we want to be liked way too much. Our incessant need for acceptance by everyone often waters down the Word of God and His standards in exchange for smiles, handshakes, like buttons, hearts, applause, and offerings. How concerned are we that God “likes” the way we live and the decisions we make? If your life was a Facebook post, would God be compelled to click the like button?
Fourth, how many of us could make it as a lone survivor? You’ve invested consistent time and energy in your walk and relationship with God to where, if you had to walk alone – no Sunday services, no Wednesday night Bible Study, or small group meetings – you would be ok? If you were imprisoned for Christ, Bible confiscated like that of Pastors Peter and Michael from Sudan, would you have enough “word” hid in your heart to carry your faith through?
The days are coming when we’ll need to run with the horses? But how can we when the footmen, i.e. someone talked about us, have worn us out?!
Strength in the Lord’s Joy
So, how do we do better, Team?
Well, for starters, we’ve been infected by pride, idols, and stuff. Lord, forgive us. Disinfect your people from worldly, self-serving pursuits that make us complacent when it comes to Kingdom work. Create in us clean hearts that will obey your voice.
What time is it? It’s time we become more “soul beggars”, than “X” beggars.
What’s your X?
When’s the last time you told someone about Jesus? Ok. Now, when’s the last time you told someone about your new car, your raise at work, or how your “X” was a huge success?
We have a values problem in the Body of Christ – what should mean more to us, means less. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t tell of God’s benefits and blessings, but are we simply recycling testimonies among people who already believe? How do we reach the sin-sick soul who could care less that you prayed for a spouse, and God sent him/her?!
The Team will only get stronger as we bring the Lord joy. We must seek to please God and make Him smile – far beyond pleasing ourselves.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Let’s get back to basic training. While it’s great to plan for an abundant life, and set goals for yourself, be sure to keep God’s work at the front – not the back – of your minds.
The work of soul-winning is not an afterthought, but it’s all God thought about seeing His Son on the cross. Be a contender for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Stand, Team, stand on Christ the solid rock.