There are many things happening in our world today that leave Christians grappling with a good question: What is the appropriate Christian response to these things? It’s a question that is perplexing so many Christians that I thought I’d approach the subject here and see what you think. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have a fair understanding of the Word of God which I believe provides all answers to life.
II Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
It’s through the knowledge of God, revealed in God’s Word that we have all things that pertain to life and godliness. Furthermore God has called us to “glory and virtue.” Our response then has to be toward that end and has to be wrapped up in God’s ultimate plan for the universe. So where do we start?
Hold a Godly World View
The first thing I believe we need to do is get a grasp of the world from God’s perspective. We need to see the world as God sees it. Only God’s Word reveals that. What is your “world view?” See if your world view matches what God reveals in His Word of truth.
II Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The “god of this age” is Satan according to the Bible, but let’s not forget that God is in complete control.
Ephesians 1:11 In whom [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will
It’s God’s will that, at this time, the devil is the “god of this age.” Don’t worry, he won’t be in the next age when Christ rules from Jerusalem. The devil will be held in chains during the millennial reign of Christ on earth, but until then this is what we have to deal with. But God has not left us powerless to deal with the strategies of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the complete armour of God, so as to be able to stand firm against all the stratagems of the Devil
Christ has provided strength and ability to you in the gift of holy spirit with which you were endued when you confessed Jesus is Lord and believe God raised him from the dead. It’s in that spirit of God within you that you have both the wisdom and the strength to both perceive and stand against the devil’s strategies. And what might those strategies be? If you take a look on Google you’ll find entire lists of strategies the devil uses such as deception, diversion, discouragement, bribery, etc. While these are true, I wanted to say what others are not saying because all of these other strategies the devil uses are toward an ultimate end and are not ends in themselves.
The Devil Wants to Be Worshiped as God
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the devil offered him the kingdoms of this world in exchange for Jesus’ worship of him as God.
Matthew 4:8-12 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;
and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
Notice that Jesus did not deny the devil had the ability to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world. Jesus response indicated that yes, indeed, the devil could give him all these things but the Scriptures command worship to God alone and not to any being created by God. This response, using the written Word of God, is what shut the devil’s temptation down and made it of none effect.
Lesson: The devil can be shut down by responding with the written Word of God that applies to the given situation.
Do you see how important it is to know the Word of God and adhere to it? While the devil offered that of which he was in control of, Jesus chose to worship God and to serve God only. No amount of bribery could dissuade him. Think of Jesus’ response in contrast to someone in the media today such as Katy Perry who claimed in an interview on national television that she “sold her soul” to get where she is today. When asked who she sold it to she said something like, “to the Chief.” Katy Perry is just one example of many others in the entertainment industry who, for fame and fortune, have sold out to God’s arch enemy. Katy, who says she was a Christian before that, surely could have answered the same way Jesus did but I guess she couldn’t bare the thought off not having fame and fortune. My heart goes out to her and I pray God will work in her heart to get her back on the right path.
The Christian Response to Social Ills
Between racial divides, gender wars, the Islamic assault on the entire world let alone Christianity, and the economic dilemmas we face on a recurring basis, Christians are often bewildered on how to respond to these things. I’d like to propose an answer to these questions on two fronts: the Christian’s personal response and the corporate Christian response. I believe both of these are important because we are Christians individually first, and we are placed in the universal Christian church, the body of Christ corporately.
The Individual Christian’s Response
My response to all of these things is simply to live what the Word of God teaches. My response to the homosexual agenda is to be heterosexual. My response to discrimination is to be non-discriminatory. My response to stealing and looting is to not steal and to not loot. Statistics claim that 75 to 80% of residents in the United States claim they are Christian. I wonder how many of those so-called Christians were among the rioters and the looters in Ferguson and in Baltimore. I just wonder how many who claim to be Christian are not responding as Christians are called to respond. If the statistics are true, then surely many of the rioters were Christian also. I’m not talking about peaceful demonstrators. I believe there is room for dissent and that requires peaceful demonstrations. But violence and theft are out of the question for Christians. Wouldn’t you agree?
We cannot control what others do, we can only take heed unto ourselves. The proper Christian response to anything that violates God’s order of things is simply to be and do as God prescribes in His Word of truth. If we all did that, what a new day it would be in the United States of America and in many other nations of the world.
The Corporate Christian Response
As Christians we are part of the body of Christ. This strong analogy is used in God’s Word to show that we are Christ’as arms, hands, heart and feet. We are his legs taking the good news of his accomplishments and his offer of life to others. But are we acting as one body? Are we unified in our response to these societal ills I’m speaking about? Sadly, I don’t see that we are. I see just as much division in the Christian church as there is in the world.
I see entire Christian denominations forsaking the Word of God in the area of marriage to conform with the new anything-goes sexuality being promoted heavily today.
I see Christian churches holding “inter-faith dinners” and “inter-faith conferences” during which Jesus is not presented as the only way to God as he said, but as an alternative just as valid as the other “faiths” invited to attend. This is not Christian apologetic by any means. Rather it is Christian surrender to the principalities and powers of this world.
Unless we can agree on the Word of God concerning these things, we will never have unity among Christian denominations and organizations. We will only have a weak, spineless defense as the majority of Christians mindlessly succumb to their denominational views. Without unity, we cannot mount a successful offensive against these strategies of the devil. Christianity is not a threat to the devil when the Christian church is laying down on the job. He laughs at us while he carries out his will in opposition to the will of God. He sees more and more churches falling for his strategies while still claiming to be “Christian.” These churches are part of the problem, not the solution.
It’s Up To You, Individual Christian
Ultimately it boils down each of us as individual Christians to not only live the Word of God but to take a stand for God on these issues. Sitting back in our homes and complaining about what’s going on will do nothing but give you a stress-related disease while partaking in those very things just silences you altogether. It’s up to each of us to live as God says we should live, and to take an active public stand for what God says is right. Lacking the public stand we are no more powerful than a light behind a closed closet door. You may see a little light around the edges but darkness will still prevail, until you open that closet door and let the light shine out. The closet door, of course, in this analogy is the actions you take to make a difference in society based on the Word of God you believe and live.
When enough individual Christians in a church take an active stand on the written Word of God, the clergy will be forced to change or leave to be replaced by those who are willing to uphold the truth of God’s Word. Never think you cannot make a difference. One person standing can influence another close to you, who influences another, and so on until there are a large enough number of people to demand change for the sake of truth.
A Concerted Effort is Required to Effect Change in Culture
I heard a prominent politician claim that Christianity doesn’t need any supporting legislation on the freedom of religion, “because you’ve already won — 75% of Americans are Christian!” It’s a fallacy to think we have that large a number of practicing Christians in this country. They may go to church once in a while, or even every week or twice a week, but are they living the Word of God and taking a stand for it in the society in which they live? That’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where spiritual success or failure hinges.
We need a concerted effort among Christians with a unified voice before we can effect any change in society. As long as we have a large majority of “closet Christians” or “nominal Christians” we will never mount an effective offensive. We don’t need all supposed 75-80% of Christians to do this, because a unified active voice of even a small number can cause others to stand up and take notice. But I don’t see much if any of a unified effort being made to combat these strategies of the devil in this age.
I encourage you to read the parable of the Seed and the Sower and determine which type of ground you represent. In that parable, Jesus describes four different types of ground — only one of which is ‘prepared’ for the seed that is sown into it. If your heart has been prepared then you are part of the solution. Live God’s Word and take an active stand on it in this world. Measure your results not by the crop that is produced but by the seeds that you plant. Remember that God gives the increase and many times it takes quite a few seeds, planted by different individuals over time, before a harvest can be seen. You do your part and God will do His.
Live God’s Word and take a stand for it in your life, in your church or fellowship, and in this world. Let’s see what God does through us as we get more unified on His Word in practice and in our interactions with others.