You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men -- Mark 7:8
Friday, December 11, 2015
Rules of Engagement
Much of religion is little more than a way for truth to be compromised, and human thinking to be justified. When people talk about how God told them to do this or that, we ought to listen carefully for what those people are going to get out of it. The “will of Allah” or the “will of God” too often become political tools for manipulating and controlling a group or a nation.
Jesus never called His disciples to political revolution. He did not come to overthrow the Roman government or to establish a particular form of government. When He quoted Isaiah 61 in the synagogue (Luke 4:18-19), the good news He was proclaiming to the poor was not income redistribution or Marxist class struggle. The captives He came to liberate were not those in physical chains. He came to set all of us free from the bondage of sin, from the prison of distorted perspectives, and from the vanities and illusions of a merely material existence.
Christianity can work and has worked in every imaginable political system. It has been nice to have had the opportunity to live in a prosperous, mostly free-market economy, to have enjoyed the benefits of political and religious liberty and the enlightenment and innovation it brings. But it isn’t necessary.
To be a Christian means being filled with the life of Christ, to walk in humility, meekness, kindness, and love. The Romans led those First Century followers of Christ out into the Coliseum to be tortured, humiliated and killed. Tyrants of all kinds – some calling themselves Christians as well, have oppressed believers and sought to defeat the Truth across nearly twenty centuries since.
I am not a prophet, but I can read the writing on the wall. The western world has shredded, squandered and disavowed its Christian heritage. Our political leaders, intellectuals, and media idols call good evil and evil good. The seeds have been sown and sprouted. The stalk has reached full height, matured and ripened. The reaping is at hand. A whole lot of people are going to get exactly what they want, and they are not going to like it at all.
Regardless of the way the world goes, the commandments of God are the same. I am to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as myself. I am to take up my cross daily and die to self. I am to give no place to selfishness, self-justification, or pride. If I am called to lay down my life, I am to do it joyously. I think I can do this. The Lord has never asked me to do anything that I couldn’t do.
One more thing, though, that those who despise and mock Christians sometimes fail to grasp. When I say that I have to love my neighbor as myself, it means all my neighbors, especially the weak, the innocent, and the helpless. I am obligated to protect them as much as I can for as long as I can by whatever means necessary.