Photo: Pixabay: Creative Commons
By Rich DuBose –
Defending God – It’s one thing to praise God for His goodness and love, but quite another to try and defend Him. When it comes to His reputation or personal protection, some believe that God needs their help! When the rabble crowd came to Gethsemane to seize Jesus, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s slave.
Earlier at the Passover supper Peter had assured Jesus he would never betray Him (even if all the others did), and here we find him ready to fight on His behalf. He was trying to be a good heavenly patriot. But earlier when Jesus asked Peter and his colleagues to pray for themselves and Him, they quickly dozed off to sleep.
There are wanna be followers today who are quick to defend God and the rights of Christian believers. Whenever God’s name is used despairingly they are ready to “draw the sword” with tongue and pen to defend the good name of the Lord, not realizing that the battle that matters most is not the one being waged in the streets, but in their own hearts.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT).
We don’t need to defend God. He can take care of Himself! And neither are we called to fight evil, because that’s a fight only God can win. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We don’t need to defend God. He can take care of Himself![/pullquote]
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, NLT).
In the physical world there are manifestations of evil that we should resist and stop–as far as possible. Sex trafficking, ISIS, murder, theft, and fraud, to name a few. This is not an argument against enacting and enforcing laws to protect society. But in some parts of the Middle East there are radical expressions of Islam that take it to the extreme by enforcing Sharia law–which monitors people’s actions to the nth degree. And we hear echoes of this among some Christian radicals in America who want to tear down the wall that separates church and state and replace it with a theocratic form of government.
The battle we are called to fight is one of faith and focus.
When we rally to fight evil, however we may define it (secularism, liberalism, conservatism, Democrats, Republicans, Federalism, abortion, homosexuality, etc), we are confronting symptomatic issues as opposed to the underlying core affliction that plagues humanity. Our problem is not our symptoms. It is that we are disconnected from the Source of wisdom and life.
The question is, can we stay focused on Jesus, even though the devil throws everything at us, including the arguments of pseudo religious people? There are professed Christians who are convinced that God wants them to sanitize culture by imposing their beliefs upon society at large. And they are focused upon bringing Christ’s kingdom to Washington.
This is a cheap substitute for what Jesus wants to do. Instead of being King of America, Jesus wants to be King of our hearts. And it can only be meaningful when each one is given the freedom to choose for themselves. [pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Instead of being King of America, Jesus wants to be King of our hearts.[/pullquote]
The thing that has permitted Christianity to flourish in America is that it hasn’t been given special treatment or protections. History graphically shows that whenever a particular church or faith is given favored status, it inevitably results in intolerance and bloodshed.
Contrary to what many believe, the character of a country is not determined by whether or not its leaders belong to a particular faith, but by their willingness to let each citizen practice their faith as their conscious dictates. This is what has made America great!
In God’s eyes, greatness is defined by our loving actions toward the most vulnerable members of our community.
“Whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. Anyone who sets himself up as ‘religious’ by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world” (James 1:25-26, The Message).
Rich DuBose writes from Northern California. This article originally appeared on the Pray for the Election Facebook group and is used by permission. The group’s purpose is to support everyone’s right to follow their conscience, particularly in matters of faith, and to strongly promote the separation of church and state.