Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Losing the Culture War, Winning the Spiritual War, Part II
If you will remember from the previous post, I wrote we have lost the culture war in our modern world. Every objective metric bears this out. It was a worthwhile fight, but done largely in the arena of politics instead of in changing people's lives, and we lost.
Notice I said we lost the culture war. We have not lost the (vastly more important) spiritual war.
In fact, I believe we have enormous opportunity because of this loss.
In order to take hold of this opportunity, however, we will have to pay a price. I wonder how many people will be willing to pay that price. I also wonder how many people will be shown to be christians in name only and how many will be shown to be real Christians, true followers of Christ.
I also suspect that not all the players will end up on the side you would expect, but that is a topic for another post.
The opportunity comes in this: we are very likely entering an era in our culture where it is going to become more difficult to be a Christian. Probably not hard like it is in China or North Korea or the Middle East, but harder than we have known and have been accustomed to. It is when things are difficult, when we have to struggle and put ourselves on the line, that true Christianity is most likely to shine.
When we are forced to struggle for what we believe in, to fight for it, it becomes more important to us. When we are forced to rely on God and His working through His people for our needs and strength, we become stronger and more reliant on Him. It is in the trial that we are grown and put to the test. Much like a metal object that is tempered until it becomes strong enough to do the job.
Remember the early church in Acts? It is a lot like that.
Tertullian wrote that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. I tend to agree with that statement. Because once we are forced to truly choose between Christ and the world, and we choose Christ, the importance and necessity of doing what He called us to do (bring others to Him) is enhanced by orders of magnitude. When we choose Christ and are forced to put our own skin on the line for Him, we will go further for Him than if we did not have to do so. It is simply human nature.
That is the opportunity for us as Christians personally.
There is another opportunity we must recognize as well, and that is the opportunity to reach the world around us.
Our world is one where people look for meaning, for purpose. Our world is one where people want to be the hero. Our world is one where people want to matter.
Entertainment culture seeks to fill that void today. Epic-style TV shows, video games that advertise Your Actions Matter, and books that fill shelves and Kindles telling us how to make the most of our lives are everywhere.
So get this, and understand it: people in our world want to matter. They want it so badly they can taste it. And we have the only news that can truly give it to them.
This is something that will never change. People will always want to matter, to be important, and to be loved. Meanwhile, the Christian message is that God loves us and calls us to Him so that we can be with Him forever. Furthermore He calls us to be His ambassadors to bring as many people to His side as we can. He gives a purpose, a reason, and a meaning to life.
And He does it with love.
If that is not a message that gives people the opportunity to be a hero, that makes a person's actions matter, and shows us true love, I don't know what is.
But we have to show people that. Otherwise they won't understand, and all they will know about Christianity is what the world that hates us tells them. If we are to avoid this, we must show people; individual, real people that we know and love; the truth about the world that God wants them to come to know.
We must fight back against the world which seeks to wipe us out.
But we must do it God's way: by bringing lost people to Him so that they too can be saved.
Politicians will not save us.
A Culture War reversal will not save us.
Christ will save us.
And we, in turn, must bring whoever we can to Christ in order to save them as well.
When we are taking the words of Jesus seriously, the rest of it will fall into place. We will fight not on the world's terms, but on God's. We will stop trying to change the culture, and start trying to change the hearts of people.
Because it is people, not the culture, which needs saving.
So lets get out there and win the real war.