by Matt Slick
Our country is decaying morally. National Debt is killing us. Liberals are in control. Government leaders are ungodly, even anti-Christian. The media portrays us as wimps, bigots, and irrational. Our schools produce anti-business, anti-religion, leftists whose agenda is to promote socialism. God is being forced out of our way of life by the cultural-secular-pressure-cooker. Too many pastors offer milk toast sermons, and vegetarian theology (i.e., no meat), and Christians seem largely afraid challenge the world and carry out the Great Commission of Christ and make disciples of all nations, lest they risk becoming uncomfortable, or worse.
What the heck happened?
If we don't stand up, the unbelievers will destroy what good is left in this country as well as other countries. But, they will not stop there. History tells us that darkness hates the light and the light of Christ must be stamped out for secularism to survive and spread. The sacred and the secular are not compatible. Both cannot be dominant. Just think death's of people under the atheists' watch: Joseph Stalin - 42,672,000; Mao Zedong - 37,828,000; Chiang Kai-shek - 10,214,000; Vladimir Lenin - 4,017,000; Hideki Tojo - 3,990,000; Pol Pot - 2,397,000 (carm.org/religion-cause-war)
Sadly, it appears that the Christian church is sitting idly by here in America. Too many Christians go to church with a coffee in hand, sit in comfortable pews, hear a pleasing message, wonder how they can get God to bless them. When they venture into the world, it is primarily to go to movies, restaurants, and shopping rather than answer God's call to spread the word. Such narcissistic immaturity can only exist when the preachers doubt the strength and power of God's word and replace its truth with milk-toast messages of seven steps to a happier marriage and how to get your best life now. Our job as Christians is to promote the Lord Jesus Christ to everyone, everywhere. Our lives should be geared to that end. It doesn't mean that every second has to be occupied with evangelism, nor does it mean we can go to movies, restaurants, or shopping. But it does mean that our lives, though filled with family, friends, and responsibilities, should be ultimately aimed at expanding the kingdom of God and bringing glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Comfort is our enemy. It lures us, softens us, and begs us to relax just a little more and do nothing. Let someone else spread the gospel while we worry about which restaurant to go to. We are not gifted. We are not able. We are not....willing.
But, it is trials and tribulations that cause us to break, to humble ourselves, and to lift our prayers to the infinitely holy God. In prayer we ask him, even beg him, to work in our lives and deliver us. Then, in the proximity of his presence, we are moved to pray for the deliverance of others as we trust in Him. It is the heartfelt prayer to God and in His presence that we realize real value is not found in a big screen TV or a new car, but in a sinner coming to salvation. In such prayers we expose our own souls, scrape out the dross, and ask God to cleanse us. It is the place of complete dependence on him and with such dependence we find the confidence to ask God to use us in spite of our sins, in spite of our meager abilities, and in spite of our fears.
That is when he uses us, when we have abandoned ourselves and yielded to his will and purpose, no matter what it might be.
Perhaps that is why he allows trials in our lives. Real suffering brings real prayer. No suffering brings no prayer. Real suffering brings the real Christian to his knees where he looks to the Lord and seeks His will - no matter what that might be - because we have been broken. But, living in a world of plenty and comfort makes us soft. When we are soft, we want soft sermons. When we hear soft sermons, we relax and do nothing of eternal importance. Then, we attend more churches that are comfortable, nice, full of smiles, and full of safe messages. Of course, there's nothing wrong with these things by themselves, but if they are what we seek and not Christ and obedience to him, then we have become idolaters.
Where are the Christians? They're here and there. But I fear that too many have not been energized because they don't want to be seriously used of God and accepts its risks, or because the preaching they sit under lacks the power of God's Spirit and they've become accustomed to breast-milk to the point of avoiding the meat.
What is the solution?
The solution is for every Christian to confess his sins to the Lord and ask Jesus for cleansing and forgiveness. Every Christian should ask to be molded and shaped by God in order to be used by him. As a master craftsman finds the tool to fit his hand, so too the Christian must be reshaped to fit the hand of our Master. This reshaping can be difficult, but it is always good. Then, when God's work is done in the Christian is made ready, God can send him.
What do you want as a Christian, to be comfortable or be used? Do you want your best life now, or do you want to carry your cross as you follow Christ into the world?