In these difficult days, how shall we as Christians live? What do we need to do and how do we need to respond?
As Christians, we are against lawlessness and violence. We pray for peace and pursue peace in all our endeavors. Peaceable dialogue is our default mode. We peer to the horizon and see swirling clouds of a storm against us.
The Apostle Paul who would eventually be executed by the Roman emperor Nero wrote to his spiritual son Timothy, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, / for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV).
My earthly pilgrimage is limited and my eternal existence goes beyond this ball of clay. I want to remind fellow followers of Jesus, we are children of God and citizens of the eternal Kingdom of God not the kingdoms of this world. We try to be good citizens of our communities and the country we love. Just keep in mind, our earthly citizenship expires when we expire.
When Jesus was being tried before Pilate, He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36 NKJV).
To any who might want to twist our words, try to understand our true intent. When we as Christians use words such as fight, battle, conquer, or war; we are talking about spiritual warfare which is exemplified by fervent prayers, not physical weapons. We understand that there is a direct correlation of events in the spiritual realm that plays out in the earthly realm. This may be dismissed by skeptics but that does not diminish the reality of the effectiveness of prayer to an Omnipotent God.
The Apostle Paul wrote about spiritual warfare in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV, “(3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
(4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
(5) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.“
There is a fact we must admit. We are in a post-Christian era in America. The cultural pendulum has swung away from Christian norms. Yesterday, we were believed. Today, we are not believed. Tomorrow, we may be persecuted. We need to steady ourselves in our faith and in our relationship with Jesus.
Jesus warned us by these words, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. / If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19 NKJV).
So, what do we do?
Go back to the basics.
We need to:
Study the Word of God. Teach our families the Word of God and Christian principles.
Focus on the Lord Jesus, not on the howling winds of the world and the waves of chaos.
Love God, and love our neighbor.
Do not just go to church—Be the church.
Be the Light and Life of Jesus in our circles of influence.
Realize a community and a world is changed one heart at a time.
I leave you with words of the Apostle Peter, who according to history, was about to be crucified for his faith in Christ but requested to be crucified upside-down. He did not feel worthy even to be crucified like Jesus. His persecutors honored his request and crucified him upside-down.
1 Peter 3:8-17 NKJV (Portion in all caps are Old Testament quotes)
(8) Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
(9) not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
(10) For “HE WHO WOULD LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, LET HIM REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL, AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
(11) LET HIM TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
(12) FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE ON THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ARE OPEN TO THEIR PRAYERS; BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”
(13) And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?
(14) But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “AND DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR THREATS, NOR BE TROUBLED.”
(15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
(16) having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
(17) For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Just remember to stay strong spiritually. The winds of change will blow, the rains of trials will fall, and the floods of trouble will rise but those whose foundations of life are built on the Rock of Christ will stand the storm (cf. Matthew 7:24-27).
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt