I received this interesting request in a recent e-mail.
I'd be interested in reading something practical about how we should be viewing "frightening" current events (death panels, etc). There seems to be a missed balance between those Christians who are fatalistic and fear mongering (Obama is anti christ, everybody homeschool, etc.) and those who are so busy being entertained they don't even worry about the Lord's return.This is a tall order! What is the Christian perspective and response? How do I balance my Christian faith with my rights and responsibilities as a citizen of the USA? That is the main problem raised in the question. Where is the balance?
I was reading comments on the Canton Repository web site the other morning and there was not much offered in the way of balance. The tone was shrill and the volume was loud. Personal attacks were the order of the day. People seemed to be in a panic.
I would suggest that nobody needs to panic - especially not the followers of Jesus Christ.
BALANCE POINT ONE: As citizens of Heaven, we have (or should have) our eyes fixed on heaven. No government, no leader, no party, no plan, no law - NOTHING, is going to change the final outcome. In this life we are strangers and pilgrims. Eventually our mortal bodies will die and we will be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Our faith is in God to keep His promises. We should not have any faith in government - no matter what party is in power and no matter what form of government we have.
BALANCE POINT TWO: As citizens of the USA we are not helpless bystanders. We are part of the political process. We can (and should) communicate our opinions to our representatives and we can (and should) vote. You also have a right to express your opinions publicly, but be careful that you don't damage your ability to speak for Christ by becoming a partisan in the fight over some political issue. Presenting the gospel is far more important than ANY political or social issue. The Gospel is more important than your life or anyone's life, much less issues of taxes or deficits or even our various freedoms.
BALANCE POINT THREE: As ambassadors for Christ, we must stay engaged with our neighbors and countrymen. All Christians are ultimately engaged in a spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:12). People who want to live godly lives WILL suffer persecution! (2Tim. 3:12) Jesus said, " These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
There is no biblical encouragement to disengage from the general battle and hide out until Jesus comes! When Jesus prays for the disciples in John 17 He makes this very clear.
(John 17:14-18) I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.The life of faith is not a bed of ease and prosperity. I am afraid that too many professed Christians think that any lowering of their accustomed standard of living is equivalent to the plagues of the Great Tribulation.
15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
There are millions of Christians who are living godly lives in countries with totalitarian governments where it is illegal to be obedient to Jesus. Thousands of Christians are killed every year for Christ. Thousands more suffer deprivation and imprisonment. Yet they are faithful and reaching lost people for Christ.
Be courageous! Fight the good fight! Be faithful! Be witnesses for Jesus, Who is alive from the dead! Remember a servant is not greater than his master. If you are obedient to Jesus in this world, they will treat you in the same way as they did Him.
Live for Jesus! If necessary, die for Jesus! If only we were as excited about the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we are about the economy, health care, and our own physical and financial security.
(Hebrews 11:32-12:1) ¶ And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:
33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again. ¶ Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—
38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
39 ¶ And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,