Trying to live the life that Jesus modeled and has called us to isn’t easy. It would be easier if we could be totally surrounded by others who are also trying to follow Jesus. The world we live in, however, plays by very different rules. One of the most dangerous temptations Christians fall into is the “let’s beat them at their own game” mindset. This way of thinking believes that Christian ideals should be brought about by any means necessary. We should wield political power, and rally blocks of voters to persuade politicians to enforce Christian rules. If we disagree with businesses, we should boycott their products and services. Hit them where it hurts. Pressure them financially to back down or change course. Military power can be leveraged as well. After “the saints go marching in”, let’s send the Marines.
We picket. We protest. We buy billboards for Christians slogans. We try to beat the world using the tactics of the world. For the most part, I don’t believe this has come about as a result of bad motives. Many Christians fear for their world, and the damage that is being done through reckless and selfish actions. Whether the motives are good or bad however, this is not how Jesus modeled for us to influence the world.
Jesus could have politically outmaneuvered the Pharisees and the Roman government. He was astounding religious leaders in the temple with his understanding even as a child. He had the ability to outsmart the system and to bring political change.
But He didn’t.
Jesus could have used military force to conquer the world. Angel armies beat any other armies you can imagine. Jesus had access to all the firepower He could have needed. Many of his followers were spoiling for a good fight anyway
But He didn’t.
Jesus could have bought and sold Rome thousands of times over. The wealth of heaven is pretty formidable. When you use gold as pavement, you live in pretty swanky neighborhood.
But He didn’t.
Jesus method was different. Jesus loved people. He was honest. And when the time came, He suffered and died. The resulting change in hearts and minds has lasted for over 2000 years and has touched every corner of the world.
Like Jesus we are called to love a world that will often not love us back. We are called to be honest and humble when arrogance and lying most often win the day. We are called to lose at every turn and to love those who seem to be defeating us. The way of Jesus isn’t the way of the world. When we follow Jesus we can stay calm even when it feels that the world is crumbling all around us. God has been at work. He is at work, and He will complete His work. That completed work will be far more wonderful, peace-filled, and fulfilling than anything we can imagine.
So, Christian friends, here are a few thoughts:
Vote. Have a voice politically. But don’t lose your mind when your candidate doesn’t win. And quit calling the other candidate an antichrist. It makes us all look bad.
Support our military men and women for the sacrifices they make for our country. Be there for them in their times of need when they return home. But stop taking joy in the thought that “bad guys” will be blown off the map. Jesus died for them too. They should be held accountable for their actions, but God never gives up on anyone. So, you should stop doing it.
Be wise financially. Spend you money on things that last. Use it to bring mercy and hope. After all, money can never buy you safety and security. It’ll only rent them for a while. In the end, mercy and hope are better investments.
Photo Courtesy of Death To Stock Photo