I am deeply burdened over what is taking place in the country today. I am even more broken of what I see happening in the body of Christ related to the turmoil in society. Brothers and sisters in Christ are taking sides and criticizing one another on social media platforms on a daily basis. What is the answer to all of this confusion and hateful rhetoric and actions we are witnessing?
Maybe my take on everything is too simplistic but I actually believe that the only answer to the division, hate, and destruction that is tearing us apart is found in the person of Jesus Christ. That means that God’s Word, the Bible, is the only place I need to look to in order to know what is true and what I need to do.
I have been asking myself a lot of questions lately. Questions such as:
- What is behind all of the division I am seeing all around me?
- What should my response be to what I am seeing, reading and hearing from all sides?
- What is the truth behind various slogans/movements such as white, male, etc. privilege, black lives matter, systemic racism and critical theory?
In an attempt to answer these and other questions that are constantly on my mind, I have turned to the Scriptures like never before in my life. The words of Solomon rang true in my heart when he wrote,
…righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him. Ecclesiastes 9:1 (NASB)
God is sovereign over everything, including my life, and I don’t know what He has in store for me. Therefore, I must hold on to truth if I am going to survive in this sin-filled world. Even when I write a blog, my heart’s desire is the same as Solomon.
The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. Ecclesiastes 12:10 (NKJV)
There is one thing I know for certain. This world doesn’t need any more opinions, especially mine. So, how am I trying to respond to all the noise that is bombarding me on a daily basis?
First, I had to be reminded that God wants His children to be united. Paul explains how and why this should be the driving force in our lives.
…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3 (NKJV)
Here, I found that the only way for such unity is in Christ because He is the only source of wisdom and knowledge. The reason why Paul stressed this is because he didn’t want Christians to be deceived.
Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. Colossians 2:4 (NKJV)
Then, Paul gave this strong warning.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 (NKJV)
That word cheat is better translated taken captive. God does not want you and me to be taken captive by false ideas. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen today, I need to filter all of the rhetoric, protests, and/or movements, etc. and see if they follow human tradition and the basic principles/beliefs of the world or culture. Are they in line with Christ and the Word?God gives us further instruction on how to sort through all the noise in the world today when the Holy Spirit inspired John to write these words.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3 (NKJV)
I have learned that I can’t merely jump on an emotional bandwagon because it sounds good and it seems like everyone else is doing it. I must test everything to make sure it is in line with Jesus Christ and His Word. In another one of his epistles, John is even more emphatic about the importance of doing this.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 7-11 (NKJV)
Here God’s Word tells us that if any type of teaching, position or rhetoric is not in line with the doctrine of Christ, we are not even supposed to allow it in our homes. It goes beyond this to commanding us not to give it our approval. When we do either of these things, we are actually partaking in the evil ourselves.
I have heard some say that it is okay to agree with a statement even when the statement is tied to an evil movement. Agreeing with the statement doesn’t mean that one is approving the movement that is directly tied to the statement. Again, I have to turn to the Scriptures for truth as I decide whether this is right or not.
When doing this, one might quickly quote this verse.
Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)
I fully realize that this verse is too often taken out of context and a better translation is “any form of evil.” However, sometimes the appearance of something can be detrimental. Maybe a better Scripture reference that we must consider in these situations would be Paul’s exhortation to the church in Corinth.
Beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. I Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 2 Corinthians 6:3 (NKJV)
I believe that Jesus’ instruction to His followers in Matthew 17:24-27 also applies to this situation. We must be very careful that we do not put a stumbling block before others or offend others. Why? It is for the sake of the ministry that God has given us.
There is one other truth taught in Scripture that I have found is extremely important in guiding my thoughts, words and actions. It is a very familiar verse that states,
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)
Paul explains this in more detail earlier in his letter when he wrote,
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19&20 (NKJV)
Now, glorifying God in everything we think, say and/or do, is not just a trite little saying. It has deep significance. Dr. Gary Inrig says it best when he writes,
Glorifying God means to live one’s life in such a way that God’s character (attributes) are revealed resulting in His praise being increased.
It is very important that we, as Christians, be careful of our words and actions in tumultuous times as these. We often forget the influence we have on others. As Christians, we must never forget that every one of our words and deeds are scrutinized by those we have contact with.Over the years, there have been many times that I was free to say or do certain things that were not wrong. However, I always had to remember what would be best for the sake of the ministry that God had given me. This is why I do not post controversial things on social media, nor do I get involved in some activities that are so common right now.
I am not writing this to tell you what you should or should not do related to all that is going on. I am simply sharing with you what I have studied in God’s Word that I have tried to obey as I respond to the evil all around me.
Father, may my thoughts, words and actions exalt the name of Jesus. May my life bring glory and honor to You. As others see any good works in me, may they realize it is not by my effort but by Your Spirit that I can even do them. I pray that the difference You make in my life, draws others to You. In Jesus name, Amen!