A few thoughts we should possess not only now, but at all times in the world in which we live – sorry about the writing…..
Grace and Peace Beloved,
Throughout this season of a pandemic, I have heard much of the same as before the coronavirus about politics, economy, the constitution, rights, theories about the direction of our country. However, godliness doesn’t concern Democratic or Republican ideologies, the right or the left, rather it looks straight forward and looks up. Godliness in the believer recognizes the institution of government, but also the time of the world in which we live and the bondage of corruption God’s creation is presently in. Therefore, hope, change, nor our outlook on this life is to be dictated by the perverseness that resides in any given nation no matter how free it says it is – it is a servant to sin. Instead, we should embark on campaigning in the hope, change, and glory that we are to bring the heavenly places in the life to come. We do not do this by residing in fear, nor having our attitudes be impacted by the currents of the course of this world. Therefore, godliness in the believer knows what to expect and what not to expect. Godliness in the believer will take advantage of the rights provided; however, understands they are not a prerequisite for godliness; therefore, godliness in the believer understands where the good fight is, as a soldier of Jesus Christ, and not entangle themselves in the affairs of this life. Godliness in the believer will utilize rights possessed, even vote (if they have this ability) and exercise the proper channels in advocation for those rights. Moreover, godliness will carry with it a godly sense of the time spent doing so, to make sure the teeter hasn’t tottered to vanity. Evaluate time by asking how much time am I spending on thinking and giving to the advocation of the affairs of this life? Why evaluate something that seems so right you might ask – to stand for rights? Because spending too much time can “entangle” you from godliness. As I mentioned before “rights” are not prerequisites for godliness, nor is godliness dependent upon them. The disciples were astonished that Christ said it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The thinking of the day had determined the minds of the disciples when they heard this, to chalk it up as “impossible.” Yet, it is easy for the American Christian to carry the same mentality of impossibility to carry out God’s business without our earthly, American freedoms. Yet, this thinking is grossly in error and the implications for God’s business are contrary. Wherefore, oftentimes, we find ourselves fighting for freedoms instead of sharing the gospel, living godly in Christ, edifying the body of Christ. Therefore, we substitute the fight of carrying out God’s instructions, no matter what, with fighting for freedoms that allow the ease of carrying out God’s instructions. Thus, we become “entangled” in advocation instead of partaking in the afflictions of the gospel of Christ.
One reason many entangle themselves is that they do not want to suffer. They think that these rights are God-given as if that means an atheistic culture will continue to grant them and not infringe upon them. Of course, no one wants to suffer therefore advocation is natural; however, it is the unfathomability of suffering for something that was a right before that I am concerned with. Herein we are tried and herein is our hearts searched. I speak for myself, oftentimes, I am shocked with things going on, but only when I forget the Word of God and what it teaches – thus I take stock of the grip this world still has on me. Yet, I do know rights do not change the heart, the place of God’s focus. For an unbeliever only can use freedom for the lusts of the flesh and for the believer oftentimes the same. The only thing that changes the heart of a person is the gospel, the Word of God, the word of life. I pray that through this time you become increasingly aware of the steadfastness of God’s Word, its power, its unwavering fortitude, its immutability, and its relativity for any situation and any time. I pray even more that you increase in finding your sufficiency in God’s Word and not in the media, culture, society, government, and economy. I pray that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened to things from God’s perspective that these things are true and to be understood no matter if the culture is moral or not, society is righteous or not, government good or corrupt, or the economy rich or poor. God’s business is altogether working in the midst of it all for another end – not for the better alternative of the two as we so often think. God’s kingdom isn’t in man’s righteousness, ideals, and laws.
Going back to the reality that our rights are not promised by God, we must understand that we are not guaranteed them by an atheistic culture. And although politicians and those in authority should function by the constitution this not only isn’t guaranteed: for one’s actions and advocation for a piece of legislature, who is voted in office, can change, they could be lying in their campaign promises. Therefore, the “vote” isn’t sure or immutable. In addition, our culture is becoming increasingly anti-God therefore the lust for corruption (a stumbling in the dark) will increasingly vote for its own image. In fact, this is all the more reason getting busy in God’s business, in His economy, His truth, His way, His promises, His hope, and His change. Yet, do we not know these things?, do we not know that in other countries rights have been or are continuing to be taken away? Moreover, do we not know we have no promise from God of “rights” or of not suffering? On the contrary, we are “appointed to afflictions”, “living godly in Christ Jesus” amounts to persecution, and we go through “the sufferings of this present time”? It seemingly is as if American Christians have thought, “all that suffering is in the Bible, but that was during Paul’s day, not in 2020 America – how dare they?” I am thankful for the men and women who fought and fight for our freedoms and the blood shed for them; however, they are freedoms not just of this world, but of this country and therefore are extremely fragile and temporal – they will not abide. What is more? I am abundantly more thankful for the eternal freedom I possess in Christ by His blood shed that grants me to count all loss to know Christ and shine as lights in a crooked and perverse nation – holding forth (not the constitution) but the word of life. Beloved, that word of life is not your life in America, it is an excellency of eternal life and the radiance of His glory that the Word can express now in your mortal body, no matter where you reside or situation you are in, of which, isn’t dependent upon earthly rights.
Therefore, what if your rights are being taken away? What if the world doesn’t go back to normal? What if your life is never the same? Will you fight for your rights? How will you fight? Is that the right fight to be in? How much time will you spend fighting? Will you fight to the point of disobedience of God’s Word toward your neighbor and enemy?
It is in and through all this with God’s Word lighting the way that we see what truly matters, what God is doing and therefore we ought to be doing, and the power source of God’s Word to work in us to His end. I believe God is body-building today, not building His kingdom on this earth. His law isn’t going forth from Zion; however, the Spirit is working to write His law on the hearts of men. The Word of God is His medium. Non-guaranteed rights backed by a human document has made so many not independent but dependent upon them. This, of course, can be understood and argued if something greater than the constitution exists and of course there is – the Word of God. This can not only be understood from having God’s Word preeminent in your life, but also is manifest when those rights are taken away – in our attitude, fear, and focus. These rights have done much throughout hundreds of years for people, both under and not under them, both good and bad – bad because they legislate change, this is law-keeping of the which isn’t designed to change the heart and because they grant liberty and freedom to the flesh and sin. If any law could have changed the heart it would be God’s law, but that was weak through the flesh, how much weaker the laws of this land.
Therefore, advocate meekly for your rights, but lead that quiet and peaceable life in all godliness because the word of God isn’t bound and ought not to be bound in the believer. The question is, is it bound in you, bound to the constitution, dependent upon the advocation of our rights, in accord with the normalcy it provides. The Lord, His apostles, and the apostle Paul say nothing of it rather they pressed on through the ebb and flow of the affairs of this life with a single purpose and single heart that for both church leadership and the entire church, that is, share the gospel, live godly, learn the truth, and preach the word NO MATTER THE SITUATION, NO MATTER THE COST.
Of course, this is easier said than done, thus we need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might – a process that we should all be patient toward one another in; however, the image of Christ will abide forever and conformity to it is a worthy endeavor to be entangled in, addicted to, and always a great use of our time. Whether we are bond or free – a servant in this world, we know we are the Lord’s freeman, or free in this world, we are the servant of Christ. Thus, God’s economy, His truth, and heaven’s conversation ought to be our reputation among men and angels to the glory of God, the salvation of others, and the edification of the body of Christ.