I generally try not to post my first reactions to an event, because I have noticed that my delayed opinion about an issue is often different from my initial reaction. By waiting I generally save myself the trouble of having to apologize or retract something said hastily in my zeal to make a righteous point. I don’t believe I am doing this here. There was another church shooting the other day, a terrible tragedy in the United States. I have heard many people say things like: “of all the places a person should feel safe, it should be in a church….It is just so wrong that of all places a person would go to a church to murder people”. I understand the sentiment, and my post is not meant to be without compassion or insensitive but it got me thinking about a couple of things:
- We are in a battle. The enemy (Satan) hates Christians, and would like to destroy us. When he gets his talons into a person you can be sure that he will use them to try to “steal, kill, and destroy.” This is his business, this is what he does. We live in a society that is becoming more and more antagonistic to Christians and their values.
- Being a Christian is not meant to be safe. Only in America do we embrace the notion that Christians should live without risk of anything evil happening to them. It is because it has been very easy to be a Christian in this country for many years. This is because being a Christian in America has not had any real threat of violence, loss of job, or income because it was generally accepted as the acceptable religion of the country. In other countries, churches get shot up or burned down every day. Christians are shot, beheaded, and tortured for believing in Jesus. They are disowned by their families, property taken away, families murdered etc. This is just part of being a believer in other countries. “It is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
- The Real Gospel has been obscured in many places. In America we have embraced a Gospel that is not even true. In this country the Gospel message is that Jesus wants to make you happy, healthy, and wealthy, and when things start to get bad on the earth, don’t worry, you will be whisked away by the rapture. No need to endure “hardship as a good soldier” (2 Tim 2:3-5). No need to “endure to the end”…and be saved (Matt 24:13). This is not the Gospel! We have to come back to what the Gospel really is. We are a lost race on our way to eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire, which was prepared for the Devil and his angels. This is our default destination – we are hardwired to rebel against our creator and follow our own will and our own way. This is the same mentality that Satan has, but God wants to rescue us from that. Jesus, God in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death, rose from the dead, and defeated hell, death, sin, and Satan for us. He is alive today, if we will repent of our sins and put our trust in Christ alone as our means of salvation we can be saved from such a terrible fate. It is only fitting after all he has done for us, that we would in turn give up our entire lives to him in service. You see, this is the real Gospel. When you have this as your perspective, no matter what happens to me in life – its okay, because no one can take this from me. I am not entitled to wealth, happiness, or even my health. I am not entitled to a long life of cushy-ness. I am not even entitled to a respectable death at a ripe old age. If I have those things, praise God! I hope I will use them for his glory, but if I don’t…I know that when I die I will have eternal life with Jesus. That alone makes everything else worth it.
What exactly am I trying to say? I think I am trying to say a lot, but just to summarize. Being a Christian in today’s America is not safe. I don’t expect it will ever be again. I think things will get worse, and we can expect more people getting killed at church by men and women driven by the enemy of our souls. This does not frighten me! The Apostles of the Lamb were murdered for their faith. Countless believers have been and will be martyred for the name of Christ. Let us not for a minute think that this is a new thing or that it should not be. If we are right with God, spiritually, than we are safe in him, but in this world we will have trouble. And in the midst of the trouble, God will shine forth his light and his glory in a way that the world will not be able to deny. His power, glory, and revival will break forth in the USA – in the midst of the violence, and hatred towards Christ. There have always been haters of Christ, we have just been mostly sheltered from it in the USA. The time is here for the real Christians in the USA to come forth as gold, and this will be preceded by pressure, difficulties, and a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit!
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh
and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt
about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to
quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the
Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the
Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and
supplication for all saints