“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
I’d like to offer encouragement to those who are angry, scared, depressed, hopeless or all the above. This has been a weary year and a half. On top of normal life events, one crisis after another on a global scale has added even more stress. Now the totalitarian power grab hits home with President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Christians do not need to lie down now and wait until this blows over. I don’t think it will anytime soon. Furthermore, haven’t we learned not to put our hope in any one person or political party?
Owen Strachan has a helpful podcast episode on the Christian reaction for these dark days. In short, he looks to Jeremiah’s message to the exiles in Babylon. What does Jeremiah tell the displaced Israelites to do? Build houses and settle down; plant gardens; marry; have sons and daughters; seek peace and prosperity in the city where God has exiled them (Jeremiah 29:1-14). They were going to be in a foreign land under foreign rule for seventy years. Most would spend their whole life in Babylon, never to see their homeland again. I admit that I sometimes live my daily routine in a state of crisis mode. That is not a long term solution. The physical body will break down under constant stress, emotions run high all the time, mentally and spiritually we eventually wear out, run dry or just quit. This was not the life God wanted for His people in exile and it is not the life He desires for His people now.
The other thing I would say is, do not seek revenge (Romans 12:17-19). This is not the same as standing up for what is right, even if that includes filing a law suit, peacefully protesting, leaving a place of employment, switching churches, moving, or taking your child out of the public school system to homeschool. I would submit to you that the Leftist oligarchy is picking a fight, encouraging the other side to create another attack on the Capital blunder. That is not how we are to behave in the first place, but anger and fear make us do regrettable things. In the words of Douglas Wilson, “Don’t take the bait”. A lot of what comes out of the White House seems to divide the people in this country on purpose. Why? Could they be hoping for some mini revolt among conservatives to justify even more repressive measures? It would definitely help them in the mid-term elections as to why we should keep this disaster of a party in power. Just food for thought.
Hopefully Joe Biden’s stunt has pulled the scales off our eyes to see this administration for what it is. They have lied so much to the public is it any wonder that some citizens are hesitant to take a rushed vaccine? Most vaccines take years to develop and test before it is safely released to the general public. We aren’t allowed to question or choose for ourselves what is best. We must follow the script or be blackballed from society. Now is the time for resisting in civil disobedience. Even though (mercifully) Biden’s term cannot last forever, there are more like him waiting in the shadows, already in positions of power. We must first of all be a people of prayer, then act. Are there like minded people you can link arm and arm with at work or in your community? Do you feel led to run for government office on a local, state or national level? Perhaps volunteering at a voting poll could be a possibility. If more conservative or just plain patriotic, democratic honoring citizens helped in voting centers we might actually have fair elections.
My hope is you find fellowship in your church home also. It has been an answer to prayer to see and hear how the numbers in churches are growing. More than godly leaders in government, we need discerning and courageous pastors in pulpits. There is a great need for culture equipping churches. Christians should not have to turn on Fox News or look to their favorite political analyst to figure out what to do in these times. Believers are hungry for practical wisdom in responding to the godless zeitgeist. Especially as the Church has been under attack for trying to keep their doors open for worship since Covid. Pastors are arrested and sent to jail for standing firm in their responsibility to faithfully preach. Someone or something is shaping our thinking, evangelizing the masses, discipling our children- is it the Church body or pagan ideas? Most lies are subtle, mixed with just enough truth, to appear harmless.
How we view faith and politics as either intertwined or as two separate entities matters. I will submit to you that because politics forms policies which affect people then our faith is indeed part of the equation. Not just on moral issues regarding abortion or same sex marriage but even how our taxes are spent is a moral issue. Where does that money go? What is it funding? Planned Parenthood? LBGTQ organizations? Public education which promotes CRT? Our faith is not compartmentalized to Sundays only in church. Part of the disconnect from the Church and secularism is the lack of forming a Biblical worldview. We have not done a good job of training up the next generation so that they are prepared in the college classroom, or in a work environment, or how to live in Babylon, to use that metaphor once more. Do we have more ill equipped, cultural Christian chameleons than set apart humble warriors? Sometimes a resurgence in the Church will result from a shared crisis. My prayer is that a spiritual awakening will occur from what Satan has meant to destroy. Remember Christ is King, even in the chaos.
The most basic way to resist lies is to not live by them. If you haven’t read Rod Dreher’s ‘Live Not By Lies’ I encourage you to run, don’t walk, to the nearest store and get a copy. Some of the ways we live by the truth are surprisingly ordinary. This should be a great comfort to us. Jeremiah listed a number of ways believers honor God with their lives even in times of distress (Jeremiah 29:1-14). I would add: attend a theologically sound, God fearing church where you can be refreshed, your spiritual vision sharpened. Learn a new skill, read good books to your children, go on a date with your spouse, send a note of encouragement to someone the Spirit brings to mind, help with a bridal or baby shower, celebrate special occasions, pray with and for others, talk about your faith and the Lord openly with family, friends and strangers. Right now we have the freedom to do these things. Some saints of the past had to go underground in order to be in fellowship with believers. We aren’t there yet but must certainly see it as a possibility with the direction things are going. First we demonize those who choose to not be vaccinated, and other specific groups thanks to Critical race theory, segregating people in categories based on race, religion, political views or matters of conscience. Next is an effort to dehumanize those who do not comply with the narrative. Last will be persecution. This isn’t conspiracy theory, but has been played out through every Communist, Marxist, Nazi regime. Our response as believers is to continue doing good in the face of evil. God wins, we know this. This world is merely our sanctifier. Refining happens through fire, but God promises it will only burn away the dross (Isaiah 43:1-7). The Lord will one day shake everything in Heaven and on Earth. What is left will only be what could not be shaken, meaning, His Kingdom- His Church (Hebrews 12:18-29). The apostle Paul ends his letter to the Romans this way:
“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:19-20)
Grace upon grace,