Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Why is Jesus a Problem?

Bear with me as I try to organize the thoughts I'm having today.  I've felt a real burden for the direction our nation is headed and it's sad to see that outside of a remnant of people who still hold to Biblical values, we are no longer a Christian nation in practice.

It's apparent that our current President and administration, as well as the candidates running for office in November, give lip-service to God when it makes them look good but in reality there is no real conviction behind the words as evidenced by everything else they say and do and how they conduct their personal lives.

If anything, our government, media, and even Hollywood seems bent on making Jesus a dirty word. Just say "Jesus" in a Biblical context in a classroom or public venue and people begin to hyperventilate at the audacity. But if it is said in the context of swearing, then it apparently is ok. There is an active movement to remove him and any reference to God and the Bible from anything other than church but even that is under fire now as some suggest that ministers should be monitored and "held accountable" for what they say from the pulpit.  To speak against sin is "hate language."

It makes me wonder what it is about Jesus that is so offensive to our leaders and others and why do they fear him and those who profess faith in him so?  What about him is so threatening?  Is it because the Bible lays down some rules that protect every single man, woman and child when they are followed?  How can something like the ten commandments do anything but protect us physically, emotionally and spiritually and which one are we willing to get rid of?  When God sets a foundation of guidelines for living that include things like marriage, living debt free, going the extra mile to help others, and avoiding things that will put us in a pit of addiction and bondage, why do some fight it so?  Which of God's laws are we willing to live without and expect to live a peaceful and secure life?  And when, ever, in history has man's ways turned out better than God's ways? 

It's a control thing.  If we are a nation that puts God and Biblical values above man's desire for power, then that means our leaders aren't in control. It means they have to answer to a higher authority.  They have to weigh decisions based on what God says instead of what feeds their egos or greed.  Instead, they rely on their own wisdom and as Isaiah 9:16 says, "Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray."

I don't know if what is happening in America and other countries with the economy and natural catastrophes are God's actual judgment or if He is giving us a wake-up call to change our ways and give us another chance to turn back to the Him. I tend to think it is the later. I don't think God has given up on us yet.  There is hope in scripture that God will heal our nation but it requires action on our part.

God says in His word: "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:13, 14)

It's important to understand that it doesn't matter what the rest of society does (those who do not believe in God.) Well, it matters, but it isn't a string attached to what God promises in this verse.  Believers in Christ are the ones accountable to God, of whom obedience is required, and the ones to whom the promise is given. He is speaking to believers - those who are called by His name.  There are things we must do to receive God's promise to heal our land.

First we must humble ourselves before God and acknowledge that He is in control. Taking things in our own hands is what creates our messes to begin with so we must be willing to admit that we need help and that our way hasn't worked. Had we lived according scripture, we wouldn't deal with debt, materialism, and all the other traps we fall into. The Lord never commands us to do anything because he wants to spoil our fun. It is always for our protection. When we go our own way, pridefully thinking we know better or can somehow avoid the consequences, we end up in a pit that we have to be rescued from.

Next, we must pray. Pray for help, pray for forgiveness (both for personal sin and our nation's sins), pray for the courage to make the tough choices that others may ridicule us for, pray in acknowledgment of who God is. Prayer that doesn't seek our will but His.

God says to seek his face but what does that mean? We are told to do that many times in scripture. The obvious meaning would be to simply turn from ourselves to him, but to take it further it would mean to seek his will instead of our own; to seek what is important to Him, where He is leading, to face the same direction He is facing instead of looking back at our own plan. It is to seek his wisdom, his guidance, instead of our own or that of our leaders.

The final instruction is probably the hardest: "turn from their wicked ways." This is where it really gets uncomfortable. We aren't responsible for the decisions or lifestyle choices others make. We each are accountable before God for our own choices and actions. It's easy to say "I don't murder, I don't cheat or steal. I'm nice to people."

But what about other things like what we watch on t.v. or at the movies? Where we go on the Internet? How we spend our time and money? What we do for ourselves instead of others? Times when we should speak up against what our leaders allow but don't? Things that we let pass as acceptable that God calls sin because we don't want to offend anyone?

Outside of the obvious "wicked ways" that we know God has clearly said "thou shall not", we each need to seek his face to know what else we are harboring in our lives that separate us from his blessing and healing. We cannot live under the assumption that God will ignore disobedience or that there aren't consequences to choices.

Doing these things aren't easy. Obedience never is. But, look what God promises if we do:

"I will hear from heaven."

"I will forgive their sins."

"I will heal their land."

If we will, He will.

"Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. ... (The Lord) is the one who keeps every promise forever." - Psalm 146:3,6

1 comment:

  1. I too feel a burden for our country and many days feel lost as to how to navigate all the anger and apathy. I pray daily for America and do believe prayer is a way to ignite revival. Thanks for sharing.