Recently I read two articles, each containing a statement that I thought was insightful for those of are followers of Jesus in our present day culture. The first was from Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and a professing Christian. He stated: “The days of acceptable Christianity are over.” He observed that our society calls Christian beliefs bigoted and hateful. “They despise us if we refuse to call good evil and evil good.” The other was by a theologian, Russell Moore. He reflected on the “loss of the illusion of a majority in this country,” referring to the Christian point of view. Yet he went on to say that this was a good thing for the gospel and for the church.
What do you think men? Are the days of acceptable Christianity over? Do some believers live with the illusion that Christianity is still a majority expression in our culture? I was reminded of Jesus’ words in his dialogue with Pharisees, “You have a saying that goes, ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.’ You find it easy enough to forecast the weather – why can’t you read the signs of the times? And evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.” (Matt 16:3-4 – Message). How do you read “the signs of the times?” Our clearest sign, Jesus tells us, will be that of Jonah, that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus.
This brings me to one of my on-going mantras with men. “You can’t go wrong when you keep your focus on Jesus”. Why? Because Jesus holds all things together. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:17) Jesus is the center. When the center holds, everything else will find its rightful place. As men we are wired to look at the big picture. I don’t know about you, but when I try to make spiritual sense out of the big picture in our culture, I can get discouraged and defensive. So I have to catch myself and get back to the center (Jesus).
The following two postures have been helpful for me. First, I stop and give thanks that I belong to the kingdom of God. We read in Rev 5:10, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on earth.’ Jesus has been given authority to establish his kingdom reign on the earth. We now are spiritually part of this kingdom. We live in the “in-between” period. One day we will reign with Jesus on the earth. We are at war, but we know the outcome. Men, we are overcomers. ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith”.” (I John 5:4)
The second posture is part of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray (Lord’s prayer). I pray this often as intercessory prayer. I pray “your kingdom would come” and that “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Simply praying these two petitions keeps my focus on Jesus. I’m encouraged by Paul’s words. “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” (Rom. 8:26 – Message).