Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Starting Over

Have you ever been around a couple who are breaking up. It is not uncommon for one to want to leave or be indifferent and the other to want to hold the relationship together. The one still committed will frequently go through a cycle of responses running from anger to appeasement. We see a similar situation in the relationship of Western Civilization to Christianity. At one time the two had a positive relationship where Christianity and its representatives where respected. But it recent times Christian beliefs have faced increasing hostility in places where they were once honored, including the United States. For Evangelical Christians this has elicited a variety of responses. There are those who have reacted with anger and vitriol, feeling they are entitled to still be respected. There are others who have responded with accommodation, even to the point of watering down the message. How should we respond to this situation?

We need to let go of the past. It is easy to hold on to the idea we have a right to be respected and act accordingly. But Jesus told us not to be surprised if society at large hates us (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; Matthew 10:24,25). Now I am not suggesting despair or inactivity. What I am suggesting in that we recognize we have become Christians in a Non-Christian society and build from there. But if we presume a few minor changes can return us to where we used to be, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
We need to consider our attitude. Do we work and pray because we want to see souls saved and God glorified , or because we want to back to being comfortable in the world. But we are never guaranteed we will be comfortable in this world (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4: Romans 12:1,2).
We need to avoid quick fixes. We should avoid the idea that if we just pass the right laws or find the right technique, we will automatically go back to where we used to be. We need to be prepared to work for the long haul (Philippians 3:12-14; Hebrews 12:1,2; Galatians 6:9).
But most of all we need to trust God (Proverbs 3:4,5; Psalms 127:1,2; 2 Corinthians 3:5,6). At the end of the Middle Ages the established form of Christianity had become corrupt. It had departed from Biblical doctrine and practice. It was also riddled with moral corruption and outrageous greed. But God brought an obscure monk from an small town in Germany to start a movement to turn the situation around. This is not a unique circumstance, but we see it throughout the history of the Christian church. When things seemed blackest, God from a surprising place acted to bring His people through. Now I am not promising an immediate turn around. Things may have to get worse before they get better. But I am convinced we can trust God to preserve His people and His truth, even in the most difficult of times.

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