We aren’t in Kansas anymore! There is a Wicked Witch. There are flying monkeys doing her bidding. There are Lions, and Tigers, and Bears which we need to befriend. There is a prophesy waiting to be fulfilled. There is a quest that requires courage, love, and a renewed mind.
The old ways will not work anymore. They have withered away because they are of no use in this world. When we try to use them they stand out like a sore thumb and only wreak havoc where we hoped to force compliance. We are the foreigners in a strange land. Yet we treat the land’s inhabitants like they are the foreigners. We have long since lost the high places where we had the privilege of setting the tone for society. Now we clamor loudly. We threaten to boycott. We gripe and complain. We demand better behavior. We lament the state of society. We point the finger. We feel guilty that we cannot make the nation come under the conviction of God by our sermonizing.
The world hears our clanging gong and clashing cymbals. It’s telling when Donald Trump claims that everyone will say Merry Christmas when he is in the White House. He is trying to show his friendliness to the evangelical voters. I appreciate his attempt. But it’s sad that we have made such a clamor that he sees that we will find that declaration favorable. It’s somewhat disturbing that some will think that a President could have such power.
Do we want to be known by our clamor, or by our love? God’s love drives out fear. We do not have to be afraid of businesses that may or may not support Christmas. We are demonstrating that we have such a great fear, that we accuse a business of blatant disregard of Christmas when said business denies all such rumors. My suspicion is that the media started the rumor and Christians are now taking sides of being offended or not offended when we would not have otherwise noticed.
We are tossed to and fro by the latest news headlines. Before one topic of interest
fades away another one is on its heels. We blame the media, but we join right in the frenzy. We let current events steal our peace and set our agenda for what God wants us to think about. Whether it is the latest acts of ISIS, a school shooting, gun control, Planned Parenthood, Ebola, economic meltdown, or a red cup we are undone.
Jesus said he only did what his Father doing and he only said what his Father was saying and we know he did this perfectly. It is a wonder; we do not find Jesus addressing the crowds about the troubles of Roman occupation. We do not see him inciting his disciples to stand up when John the Baptist was imprisoned or beheaded. Jesus seeks seclusion, but the crows follow him and he begins to heal the sick.
Jesus taught his followers to pray for and respect those in authority. He said that there is a special blessedness that occurs when people say false things about us and insult us because of Him. He said the persecuted are blessed. He said to do good to those who do wrong to us. He said we are to love our enemies.
What does this look like on a public social level? It looks like a Church that is known by her love and not her anger. It looks like a people who serve. It looks like blessing businesses and not cursing them. It means going out of your way to be kind to a store clerk instead of insisting they wish you a Merry Christmas. It means speaking life instead of death. It means we live in this nation, not as victims, but as humble servants. We seek to show another way of life by living it and communicating it intelligently. It means are we do not use our words as weapons that harm our enemies, but as swords that cut the cords that bind them. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with the powers that keep them bound.
It’s easy to settle for natural means, but doing so will only yield natural results. If we want to see Kingdom results, we need to use Kingdom ways. Bravery looks like not taking up natural methods to deal with supernatural problems. Fear drives us to lash out and react. We swing wildly with all we have and hit nothing or make matters worse. Faith operates with patience to wait for the right moment where our Father impresses us to respond. Then we operate, not out of our strength, but out of His power.
Love looks for the way to serve, not to strike back. It does not take into account wrongs done. It sees with hope and finds a way through to the heart of the problem with God’s solutions.
The renewed mind takes every thought captive. It does not listen to the lies that tell us that a person, company, industry, President, or what-have-you is trying to sin against God on purpose. Proverbs tells us that people who stumble around in darkness do not even see what they are tripping over. There is a reason Jesus considered people blind and deaf who could physically see and hear. Jesus did not come to condemn the world; they are already in a state of condemnation. Our job is to set them free. Instead we accuse them with the same lies that bind them.
The only way this works is when we live in this world as citizens of another world. We do not have to click our heels three times, we are already home. When we were born again we were born into our home in heaven which is in Christ. Our journey is not to wind our way through life on earth waiting for our eventual life in heaven. Our journey, the prophesy we are all a part of, is a quest to bring heaven to earth. It is daily living from the reality of heaven and making that reality manifest in our everyday lives.
The pressure is off. We do not need to force someone else to conform to the ways of God. That is not our job. We are agents of heaven. We invite people to enter into the environment we create around us. We show them heaven when we solve a problem at work with wisdom, when we are known for not participating in gossip, and when we live in peace with all men as much as we are able. We demonstrate the Kingdom in the way we do marriage, or raise our kids, or keep our commitments, and by our mercy, grace, peace, generosity, and kindness. We also manifest heaven every time we are at peace in the middle of storm.
Jesus slept in the boat because there was no storm in his Kingdom. The disciples were focused on the storm as a great danger as they were only looking at the natural world. They woke Jesus who simply calmed the storm. What storms are we calming? Are we bringing His peace or are we stirring up the waters while the storm impresses us as a problem that will sink our boat? If it is my problem to deal with, then God gave me or my community of believers the means to solve it. If it is not then, God is not asking me to become anxious about it. The devil is the one who overwhelms us with problems, God is isn’t worried. If we are, whose kingdom are we demonstrating?
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