"Living Not by Lies"
Jeremiah 17:5-8 “This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.”
We live in a very divided nation, and as politics hits closer to home, these divisions threaten to infiltrate and infect churches that profess to follow Christ. If it were a simple matter of obeying the government on inconvenient matters, then Christians should be seen as the best of citizens in terms of compliance with all laws and mandates. But if government dictates infringe upon the higher, holy institution of Church worship, and our God-given mandates of fellowship, testimony, and participation in the Lord’s Supper, then we ought to give special consideration to Peter and John’s words, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” (Acts 4:19).
For a nation that continues to abide by a constitution that recognizes God’s Sovereignty over it, and seeks to operate through Judeo-Christian values, then Christians should be willing to put up with human leaders’ failures to live up to those ideals, though the Church must continue to stand and be the prophetic voice of God’s Will upon the nation. But how is the Church to respond to those “little encroachments” upon her call to worship, even as we should welcome non-believers to come and observe? One case-study on this would be the Church in China’s response towards their government’s requirements to install cameras with facial-recognition software in all their buildings in order to stay open. A few churches have agreed to it, while it appears that the majority have gone “underground”.
I’ve found Rod Dreher’s newest book, “Live not by Lies” helpful in clarifying this discussion, which he wrote to show testimony-based similarities between our nation currently, and the events that led up to other nations becoming communist. One of the primary points made is that we are to always consider the worldview behind the leader or group that is introducing change. What is their ideology? Are they being driven to make these changes through significant evidences, or rather, that ideology? Are they themselves consistently living according to the changes they seek to introduce?
Give careful thought to the worldview behind the change they seek to introduce: What is their goal or end game? Will it stop with just this issue being resolved, or is it a stepping stone towards an agenda that demands greater control?
Last Thursday the House reintroduced the “Equality Act”, which failed in 2019, but now faces a very different government this week. As wonderful as Anti-LGBTQ discrimination sounds, it is really the largest stepping stone towards religious discrimination: silencing or criminalizing all who oppose them. Christians and Jews would be their primary target, of course, for having an authority above theirs, even as we seek to love them as we love ourselves!
Now we have chaos reigning across our land from a party that seems desperate to establish a permanent foothold on their power: The opening up of our nation’s borders to illegal immigrants. The silencing of “hate-speech”, and branding of those who disagree as “racist”. The rewriting of history, putting our founders in a less-than honorable light, in order to put credibility behind their actions. “Try to be Less White” training courses which penalize objectivity (such as “2+2 is always 4”) and the hard work ethic, basing that on “white supremacy”.
A California school board just resigned after a “hot mic moment” caught them berating and mocking parents. A gathering of friends was raided by the police at one particular home for breaking Covid protocol; each person was fined $1500 and the homeowner was arrested for refusing to give personal information of each friend to the authorities. There are testimonies of many people losing their jobs after choosing to wait and not get vaccinated until they can see more evidence. We’re being told to “trust the science” when there are no longer 3-yr or 5-yr trials that are typical.
This is the world that the true, God-fearing Church is put into by His Design. We are called to be His Watchmen and His voice, declaring to the world God’s Righteousness, to a people who are increasingly living by “Might makes Right”. Are these other ideologies left to be unchallenged by the Church?
Jeremiah was a prophetic voice to his own people who had largely rejected God in favor of their own religion. They were giving lip-service to God, yet by their actions they showed that their hearts were far from Him. Though the nation was captured by Babylon, Jeremiah himself was spared because he was faithful in declaring the truth. Our church will be the voice we need to be in this day if we are united on our devotion to Him and each other, according to Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”