It is my observation that within the American “psyche” we essentially want to “have our cake and eat it too.”
We thoroughly enjoy rehearsing all the “perks” that being children of God promises and yet run from the responsibility that it entails.
Consider our singing of songs about God’s love and the boasting of our surety of Heaven contrasted with our silence in the workplace or playground (grownup playgrounds, too!) when called upon to be God’s ambassador to a world that has forgotten Him.
Maybe we simply don’t realize that we ARE God’s ambassadors in the world today. But be careful! Ignorance isn’t really any excuse and it certainly won’t hold water when we stand in His presence giving an account of our doings here on earth.
His call and claim on you is not only that of “Savior” but “Lord” as well. If your life is not subject to His lordship to the extent that He governs your decisions and habits publicly as well as privately, He isn’t Lord of your life at all.
Although it is our preference to treat our Christianity as purely a private experience, the reason that it is NOT so is that God is on a worldwide mission to bring those who are lost in their sin to Himself through Christ Jesus. You just can’t shine a light in a dark room if you keep it covered.
Besides that, Jesus’ life in you allows no denial. If He really is alive in you then He must shine through. “For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26 ESV).
Of course, one cannot expect the world to look on with approval. The world is at war with God and the battlefield extends into every corner of the human experience. You cannot go to any public place, whether working, shopping or attending a ballgame, without worldliness assaulting your senses. Either you’re attacked with subtle invitations to compromise your calling as a Christian or with an attempt to oppress of the Truth living in your heart so that Christ’s face cannot be seen in you and His voice cannot be heard through you.
So what must you do when your witness for Him results in unpleasantness and even open opposition? How should you respond when standing for Him in matters of integrity could result in significant loss and pain?
You stand firm. And if you wonder with fevered anxiety how in the world you can stand firm when a trial comes your way, be encouraged by His admonitions in Ephesians chapter 6.
“… Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm … praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:13, 18-20 ESV).
After all, our sufferings here are so minor and short-lived when held up against the fact of the brutal price He paid on the Cross and the sheer immensity of eternity He grants us through faith in His Son. Why would I not want to “stand firm” for Him when He has given so much to me?
“…Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11 ESV).
There is then one beautiful passion that makes a Christian shine with brilliance in the boiling murk of sin and death about us: that of being faithful to the One Who has been perfectly faithful to us.
When your time comes at work, at home, at school, or wherever it meets you, will you close your eyes, grit your teeth and ignore your moment to demonstrate your love for Him? Or will you lovingly “stand firm” and say, do or be whatever He asks? Strive to be ready for those moments… ‘cuz ready or not, here they come.
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected]