The cultural and spiritual landscape of our society has and is quickly becoming a wilderness, a desert place, devoid of truth. What is in fact Truth is often branded as hate speech. Those clinging to the eternal words of God are labeled as intolerant hate mongers who are unloving, unfair and unjust. We are the generation spoken of by the prophet when he said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20)
Do the following “sentiments” pervade our culture? You judge.
“It is a good thing to come out and be openly brazen about living a homosexual lifestyle.”
“It is a good thing to follow your own heart, live “your truth,” rather than the Word of God.”
“It is an evil thing to maintain biblical values and morality, especially if they conflict with the mainstream.”
“It is an evil thing to judge, especially if your judgement is based on your faith, the Bible, the Church, and Jesus Christ.”
Christians who really do believe the Bible have the greatest opportunity NOW to be a Voice in the wilderness. As secular humanism and anti-Christian sentiment increases, the opportunities to BE A VOICE increase. Questions, situations, issues will continue to confront us. In schools, on our jobs, in the community—everywhere we go—there will be more and more opportunities to get out of our comfortable little shell of Christian “niceness” and speak up for truth and righteousness.
Why do so many Christians acquiesce to the prevailing “voices” in our world, rather than speaking up, getting involved, and BEING the difference our world desperately needs?
It is not enough to have this Christian faith locked up inside us, trusting in our “personal relationship” with Jesus, while our neighbors remain hopelessly deceived, believing lies, recklessly careening straight to Hell. The problem, I think, is that many of us do not actually believe people are lost.
We need to get involved with our world, and BE A VOICE for the multitudes who have lost their moral compass.
While we are reluctant to step outside of our-self, and be a real voice in our culture, lost souls are dying without knowing Jesus.
How do we find the courage to get a little crazy and start telling people what they NEED TO HEAR and not what they want to hear.
Below is an excerpt from a larger article I wrote many months ago, “Personal Emergence: Reaching Beyond Self.”
In it I explore some of the dynamics of ACTUALIZING our faith in REALITY, how it begins, what makes it genuine, and why so many (Christians!) do not do it.
Excerpt from article “Personal Emergence: Reaching Beyond Self”
“The true community of Jesus Christ does not rest in itself. It does not merely contemplate the striving of the world with its better knowledge. It does not refrain from active participation. It exists as it actively reaches beyond itself into the world. It acts and works within it” (Barth). [i]
Having undergone a radical life transformation, my present life was severed from the past, cutoff from my former self, “crucified with Christ,” “buried with Him in baptism.” I am literally a new creature in Christ. This newness opens the gates to a magnificent, unlimited, dynamic, but also very daunting, Spirit-birthed vision of what God could do through my life—unseen, but very real, accessible potential! (Heb 11:1) From the beginning of my own “primary spiritual event instant,” the question lingered in my spirit, “You can SEE through the gate, but will you GO through the gate? From that initial encounter with God, including repentance and obedience to the Gospel—being baptized in Jesus’ name and receiving the Holy Ghost—God has continued the “process.” Several more “event instants” have come over the years, each in a specific season of life, and each with a fresh, new arousal from the Spirit, as to the mission of God, and a vision of my own involvement in that mission.
These “event instants” always reveal. They reveal more clearly God’s plan for my-self, my family, the church, and the world, according to His Word. They also reveal further challenges that will have to be faced, further burdens that will need to be carried, inevitable person-to-person relationships, standing out before others, vulnerable to critique and judgment, or to put it simply: more change. Change is uncomfortable, unsettling…unnerving, and many fear it! I think this is partly, or mostly, why so few can move from glory to glory, vision to vision, sailing deeper into uncharted waters of spiritual leadership. For this reason only a select few will break away from the stability of shore and sail into the deep. For this reason the community of authentic, anointed, apostolic leaders will be evermore visible, shining, emerging, amidst a hodgepodge of flimsy ecumenicism in our world. Not all are willing to count the cost, and after having considered the cost, be willing to risk everything.
Really, I think what keeps many from experiencing genuine personal emergence is the fear of carrying a cross, and being seen carrying that cross. The cross isolates. The cross is lonely. The cross exposes one to the world. The cross separates one from the crowd. The cross elevates one above the fray of religious pacifism and political correctness. The cross, in the eyes of the world, is a sign of shame, embarrassment and finality. However, Jesus emphatically declared, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt 16:24-25). Nowhere in life, I think, is this verse more manifestly demonstrated in actual events than in the lives of dedicated people of faith who have completely left all other “business,” not deterred by the negativity of the naysayers, and have loaded their ships (lives) with grain (the Word of God), forsaken all ties to shore life (comfort, familiarity, stability, predictability), and launched out into the deep (ministry to others, faith ventures, kingdom business). Unfortunately, for a great many Christians—those living life in the shallows—the deep is just too deep.
(Special thanks to Dr. Nathaniel Wilson for leading others towards personal emergence)
[i] Karl Barth, “The Community for the World,” Excerpt from Theological Foundations for Ministry edited by Ray S. Anderson, 11.