Christ, the Church and Charlottesville

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There is a war on for our souls and Christians are unwittingly taking the side of the enemy and seeking to do his work for him.

More than ever we need to be wise to wiles of the enemy who is like a roaring lion seeking for someone to devour.

The three attacks that are coming at us are fear, division and hate.

Division

After the events in Charlottesville, the media is forcing us to take sides – we must choose between the KKK or anitfa, between the alt-right or the righteous left, between Democrats and Republicans.  This is a false dichotomy, to quote C S Lewis:

“[The devil] always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.”

Soon as we choose a side we end up excusing the behaviour of “our” side and demonising the behaviour of the other.  Merely pointing out the flaws in one side, be it left or right, doesn’t make the other one automatically right.  The reality is that both sides are sinful and neither is our saviour.

Salvation belongs to the Lord and not to any political party*.

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Abraham Lincoln

We are called to be in the world but not of it and if we are taking sides then we have become worldly:

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? (1 Cor 3:4)

In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free, Democrat or Republican, American or Mexican – we are one.  Jesus has broken down the dividing wall and we see in Revelation that every tribe and nation will be worshipping together.  Christ is One and the Church, His body, should therefore be One in Jesus.

Just as the Father and Jesus are One, we are meant to reflect that unity – this will then glorify God (Jn 17:22-23) .  Since there is unity in Christ anything that seeks to disrupt that unity is anti-Christ and so partners with the anti-Christ.**  If our churches have congregations that consists of just one race, or one political opinion, or one denominational belief then we are no longer declaring Christ to the world as we are no longer a unity but a uniformity.

Fear

In the OT the phrase “fear of the LORD” denotes worship of God – giving Him the awe and respect that only He deserves.

However, Satan seeks to make us worship something other than God and so wants us to fear something else.  That’s why idols are often frightening.

You see fear captivates our attention and means that we give something other than God our attention.  And the attention we give something ascribes its worth – this is the definition of worship.  So fear of something other than God is therefore idolatry.  As we give something other than God our fear, our attention, our worship we give it authority in our lives and so we empower this idol†.

“Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord.” 1 Pet 3:14-15 (NRSV)

The media is a great tool in Satan’s hand to increase our fear.  It only reports the bad because that takes our attention and brings in their advertising revenues.

“Don’t watch the news and you are uninformed, watch the news and you are misinformed” Denzel Washington

As we give fear attention and authority we end up worrying about events and reacting out of fear rather than out of love, power and a sound mind.  If you’re like me you can end up being consumed by events and scour the internet for more information (as if that could remove our fear) and then praying out of powerlessness (“Oh God this is so big!”).

This is completely topsy-turvy.  Christ has triumphed over the enemy and made a public mockery of Him (Col 2:15).  He has been given all authority and so Satan has none (except that which we give him).  Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He laughs at the plans of the enemy and His name is far above any other name so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.

We need to be far more impressed with Christ and His lordship than anything we see in the news.  We are in Christ therefore we are also seated in heavenly places far above Satan – which is why we will crush him under our feet.

Let’s not give a defeated enemy our attention.  If news is becoming an idol then chop it off – fast from it – people have lives thousands of years without it.  Let’s keep Christ front and centre.  Spend time with Him instead.  Ask the Spirit what He is doing and then partner with Him.  Ask the Spirit to open our eyes like Elisha prayed for the eyes of his servant to be opened so he saw the reality of the heavenly armies surrounding the small enemy army.

We have no need for fear in our lives.  We can let Christ’s perfect love drive it out as we trust in His care and His good plans and purposes.

Hate

If we stay divided and fearful we will always end up hating.  But if we rest in Christ and trust Him we can begin to declare His love to the dark world.  We are then able to love our enemies as Christ loved us when we were His enemy.  We are able to partner with the Spirit and see transformation happen as we bring about His Kingdom rule on earth as it is in heaven.

Here is a short clip of Heather Hayes father demonstrating this reality after his daughter was killed in the riots:

* You may wish to look at my earlier post on this area “Trump, Clinton or Christ?”.

**Please don’t get me wrong – there is unity in Christ and not anything else.  Satan seeks a false unity – uniformity – where if we subscribe to one belief system whether that be a political party, denomination or race.  Just like a marriage is unity of two different sexes and personalities, so the Church should be a unity of differences.

†This topic is covered in far more detail in Jonathan Brenneman’s excellent book “What causes needless casualties of war?”

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