Jesus was under attack from the beginning. When He walked the roads of ancient Israel, His enemies constantly challenged Him, and even had Him killed. But that couldn’t stop Him. For Jesus then sent the Holy Spirit to keep His way—what we now call Christianity—alive.
Yet as His followers increased, so did His enemies, who soon included Roman Emperors. They tried to kill the movement Jesus had started by feeding His followers to the lions. Oops, it didn’t work. I suspect over the centuries, many others have tried to harm Christianity. They all failed.
Today, many Christians in the US feel under attack from the left and liberal media—they have for years. Some of them live in fear that their rights to worship God and Jesus as they chose will be taken away by their enemies. They take their fear and vote for people they believe will help protect them and their Christianity.
However, have God and Jesus needed any help in the past?
Jesus said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18, NASB)
If Hades can’t overpower Jesus’ Christianity, some measly group of liberal politicians or media outlets certainly aren’t going to make a dent. So why are so many Christians afraid?
It can be hard to find hope these days. Too many things fight against it. The ongoing pandemic, a new virus, climate change, wars, political and social chaos— Stop CJ, we get the point. Okay. Anyway, I found some hope, without even looking for it. Or, maybe I was looking.
I’ve been thinking about something Jesus once said, when He began to teach His disciples how to pray. “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’” (Matthew 6:9-12).
Well, since Jesus told us to pray for that stuff, it must be important. But it’s that first part that kept pulling me deeper into my thoughts. I think Jesus is asking us to pray that God be glorified—that’s how I interpret “hallowed be your name.” So I’ve been thinking a lot about God being glorified on earth as He is in heaven. Though I’m not sure what that would look like, I don’t think we see much of it in the world these days.
Also, I noticed that Jesus taught us to pray first for God’s glory, kingdom, and will. The priority is God, which I think is as it should be. And in speaking about prayer, Jesus also said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Again, our prayers should be for God’s glory, not only for our needs. And Paul said, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). But again, what would such glory look like?
Well, something that happened recently gave me an image to visualize. With the death of Queen Elizabeth, it seems like much of the world is thinking of her with fondness and even love. What if most of the world thought of God in the same way? I’ve been picturing that, where it’s God who’s getting all the attention. Can you conjure up an image in your mind? How might such glory for God influence our experiences here on earth? I mean, could we experience a life on earth as it is in heaven?
This morning I again found myself thinking about a world where God is glorified, where His kingdom reigns, and His will is done. I found myself imagining a worldwide revival of God’s love, truth, His kingdom, and His glory. And I got excited. And I found hope, a deep, energizing, love-infused, tear-inducing hope.
God created humanity in His image. It wasn’t physical attributes or personality, but the presence of God within them that made those first humans little images of God. But then, tempted by Satan, they ignored God, perhaps in a way denied His image within them, and took on something of the image of Satan. I know that last bit may sound harsh, but I can’t ignore the fact that humanity currently shares some of those devilish traits, such as pride and self-centeredness. Instead of worshipping God, I guess Adam and Eve began to worship Self. And with that, they lost God’s presence and His image.
But we can get His image back. That’s why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit when He returned to heaven. The Holy Spirit can lead us to deny our Self, and worship only God. The Holy Spirit can enter our lives and fill us with His presence. Jesus came to free us from the penalty of our pride-influenced sins. His Spirit then came to free us from captivity to Self, and make us once again an image of God, as it was in the beginning.
Here’s some Bible backup, to show I’m not imagining any of this:
“You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10)
“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
The lies, distortions, and misconceptions have built up over the centuries. They’re now so thick, it’s hard to see what it really means to be a Christian. Many people who call themselves Christian don’t look very Christian. But it’s not necessarily their fault.
They’re victims, and not just of politicians. They’re victims of human nature and church history. They’ve been deceived by a manmade version of Christianity, deceived into believing a false image of what it means to be Christian. There’s a Christianity prevalent in the US that’s more worldly than Christian, more human than Godly, creating victims of lies rather than disciples of Jesus. The inflicted wounds are many, and some go deep, such as:
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). For Christians who vehemently support Donald Trump, it appears they’re denying Jesus and following Trump. Yet they call themselves Christian.
Jesus also said, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). But some Christian supporters of Trump seem to prefer listening to Trump rather than Jesus, and their allegiance to the truth appears questionable.
The Apostle Paul said, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). What these Trump supporters do and say appears to glorify Trump, and deny God. And they call themselves Christian.
Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8). I believe Jesus was referring to spiritual fruit, things like the healing and salvation of others, along with the fruits of the Spirit: the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I can’t imagine their support of Trump bearing any of these fruits. Yet they still call themselves Christian.
They fear attacks from the left and liberal media. So they’ve put their trust in Trump to protect them and their Christianity—in Trump we trust—that appears to be their motto. Yet the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and “How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who become involved in falsehood” (Psalm 40:4).
And Jesus said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Well, they certainly appear to love Trump and fellow MAGA people. But by their actions, words, and continued support of Trump, that appears to be the limit of their love. Jesus has no limits on His love, and He calls us to do the same. Now, He also said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. … Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:27-28, 31-32). Their support of someone like Trump doesn’t display that kind of love. But they call themselves Christian anyway.
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). These Christian Trump supporters appear to believe they can serve both God and Trump. What does their servitude to Trump imply about their supposed devotion to God?
Paul said, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). I suspect if someone has the Spirit of Christ, they would behave like Christ. Yet many of these Trump supporters seem to behave like Trump. And they call themselves Christ’s.
As the apostle John prepared to fall on his knees and worship the angel who had opened his mind to all those revelations, John tells us: “But he (the angel) said to me, ‘You must not do that! … Worship God!’” (Revelation 22:9). Many of them appear to worship Trump. Yet they still insist on calling themselves Christian.
Jesus might say to all these people, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Mark 8:33).
Yes, many people are deceived victims of not only Donald Trump, but also a perverted, manmade version of Jesus’ Christianity. However, Jesus also said, “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man (Jesus) will be forgiven” (Matthew 12:32), and He said, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19). Yes, Jesus wants His Christianity back, and He also wants His followers back.
There’s always forgiveness. And like the father in the story of the prodigal son, Jesus will compassionately welcome back all so-called Christians who choose to return to Him, follow Him, listen to Him, trust Him, love Him, and worship Him. By that act, they will glorify Him. And then, they will be Christian.
During the chaotic days surrounding the last US presidential election, I just couldn’t understand why so many Christians supported a candidate who seems to be so un-Christian. It didn’t make sense to me. Yes, I’m referring to the candidate who considers truth as whatever comes out of his mouth—if he can imagine it, it must be true. And many Christians believed, and continue to believe, his self-defined versions of “truth.”
Oh sure, I’ve heard that some Christians voted for Trump because he’s supposedly anti-abortion and promises to protect Christianity from left-wing anti-Christians and the cancel culture. First, I don’t think God and Jesus need help protecting Christianity—They’ve done just fine on their own the past 2000 years. And, as I’ve written before, I don’t think legislation is the right way to address abortion and morality.
I’m sure there are other reasons Christians voted for Trump. But for me, a candidate’s character is more important than whatever those reasons could be. I wish I’d heard God’s voice telling me who to vote for in that last election—I didn’t, I think. But since the character of that particular candidate is the antithesis of everything the Bible tells me about how we should live, well, you know how I voted.
Here’s another thought: Some Christians will believe someone like Trump when he spouts made-up stuff about election results, but they won’t believe God when He gives them the promise that His Spirit wants to live within them and guide them through this turbulent world. They’ll believe every word that comes out of Trump’s mouth, but won’t believe the Words of God in the Bible. Well, that’s how it looks from my perspective. I hope I’m wrong.
Also, I believe Christians should look only to God for the truth, look only to God for protection, look only to God for guidance in how to best deal with issues like abortion and the decay of morality in our society. And, to roughly paraphrase something Peter and John said in reply to challenges from the leaders of their day: Judge whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to a very un-Christian, un-truthful, dishonorable, self-centered politician, rather than God.
I know what I’ve said will upset some people. I’m sorry, sincerely. But, I’m more concerned with how God feels about what I’m saying. And, I’m concerned about the image of Christianity others see in Christians.
Finally, I’m curious. Am I alone in my sense of confusion regarding all the Christians who supported, and continue to support, that particular politician? Am I alone on my side of the chasm that separates Christian Trump supporters from confused Christians like me?
“Oh, fine. You know how it is. So, haven’t seen you at church for a long time. Heard you checked out for good.”
“Ah, yep. Just felt like the right thing for me to do. I’d rather not get into it … please.”
“Oh sure. So, where do you go to church now? Where do you worship?”
“Me?” Where do I worship? Well, will he understand? Lord, if this conversation starts to get sticky, I rely on You to give me the words that’ll help him. “To be truthful, I worship everywhere.”
“Everywhere? Really? How do you do that? And when do you do this everywhere worship?”
“For me, worship is when I turn my mind away from the world and focus on God and Jesus in heaven and their Spirit within me. Whenever I can wrestle my mind away from this noisy world and look to Jesus within me, that’s when I worship, no matter where I am.”
“So, for you worship isn’t singing praise songs and the others things we do in church?”
“Well, maybe that is what I’m doing? But I’m singing praises to God and Jesus within my mind, and heart, rather than in a building.”
They’re devoted to Christianity and their church, and for those who’ve decided to not get vaccinated against COVID 19, some may have a familiar response when asked if they’re concerned about the risks of getting sick and possibly dying. “If it’s God’s will,” they reply. I’ve heard that response before, with respect to an impending threat or otherwise avoidable problem.
Could it really be God’s will for good people to suffer a lonely and painful suffocating death? Is God really that mean; if mean is even the right word? Is it God’s will for all the COVID collateral damage surrounding the sick and dying, like the other people who may get infected, the grieving loved ones left behind, and the overworked and exhausted hospital staff dealing with suffering and death almost every day until they burn out from it? Is all that really God’s will?
Just so I don’t unfairly focus on one topic, look at all the other suffering consuming our world, the other diseases, and the evil, murder, death, hate, anger, abuse, anxiety, and depression. Is all that God’s will too?
Now back to COVID. I’ve also heard some Christians say that putting all their trust in God, rather than a vaccine, will glorify God. As Paul said, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) And yes, history’s full of people glorifying God by their death, most notably Jesus. But, I wonder if the only other people who truly glorified God this way did so when, by their death, others were saved, just as Jesus did. Well, death by COVID doesn’t save anyone.
Also, if someone contracts COVID 19, ends up in the hospital and dies, all along saying, “If it’s God’s will,” how does that glorify God? As I see it, dying that way and saying its God’s will just feeds the misconception that God is mean. No glory for God there, that’s for sure. Plus, how does causing severe grief for the loved ones left behind, and the additional strain on already overworked hospital staff who’ve battled this war for over a year and a half—how does any of that glorify God? I don’t see it. I think we can glorify God more in how we live, than in how we die.
Okay, so here’s what I believe God’s will is, as shown throughout the Bible, beginning in the first pages. God’s original intention was that humanity live with Him in paradise, no toil, no pain, no suffering. Just love, peace, and companionship with God. That was, is, and will always be God’s will. Yet we live under the will of people, because by their own willful decision to listen to Satan rather than God, humanity got kicked out of paradise.
I believe that if an unvaccinated person catches COVID 19 and dies, that is not God’s will. If anything, it’s Satan’s will. We live under the influence of the will of our selves, Satan, other prideful people, and the world—that too is not God’s will.
God’s will is for us to live as originally intended, with Him in paradise, in peace, love, and companionship as His dearly loved children. Just like it was in the beginning. That’s why Jesus died for us and then sent His Spirit to live in us, taking our hand, and guiding us back to paradise.
Like in the story Jesus told of the prodigal son, God just wants us to return home to Him. Oh sure, we can return home by dying. But I believe God would rather have us first live for Him, than die for Him, by letting His Spirit live in us and through us, just as Jesus promised:
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:20)
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” (John 15:4)
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. … Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:20-21, 25-26)
That’s how to live in accordance with God’s will and glorify Him.
In addition to being the dominion of God, heaven is the dominion of love, forgiveness, grace, and humility. The world, on the other hand, though there is still love and the rest, is mainly the dominion of pride, selfishness, and other such aspects of our fallen human nature.
So this morning, while holding that image in my mind of the world as the dominion of pride, I read these words of Jesus:
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (John 17:16)
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:19)
“In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)
“—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him no knows him.” (John 14:17)
We can be in the world, but not off the world—a common phrase I’ve often heard. We physically live in the dominion of pride, but our heart and soul can reside in the dominion of love, forgiveness, and especially humility. For it’s humility that opens the door for love and forgiveness.
And that brings me to the last verse I quoted above. The world cannot accept the Holy Spirit because Pride will not allow it, pride cannot see the Spirit of Jesus, nor know Him. So, if we want to come to know the Spirit of Jesus, I think we first need to let humility be dominant over pride in our lives. I wish we could be free of pride and the harm it brings. But we can at least nurture our humility so that it becomes stronger than pride. And then, we will be able to see, and know, the Spirit of Jesus within us.
What do people see when they look at Christians? For most of those on the outside of the Christian establishment in the US, they see such things as:
Hypocrisy and judgment, fear and bigotry
A movement intent on forcing themselves and their values on others
A group more interested in politics than following the call of their leader, a group where policies are more important than faith, hope, and love
A religion that embraces a man who is the antithesis of the values that Jesus promoted (yes, I’m referring to Trump)
Of course, not all Christians display these characteristics. But the most visible ones do. Like the insurrections storming the US capital waving Jesus flags, shouting His name, or even kneeling in prayer before they attacked (though I’m not sure who they were praying to).
As another example, yesterday I shared an article about the reaction of many white evangelicals to Barack Obama as compared to their reaction to Donald Trump (you can read it here). You may not agree with Obama’s policies and political position on things, but he really did appear to be a decent person. Oh sure, he has character flaws, like all of us. But nothing like Trump. You may agree with Trump’s policies, but his character is toxic, his morals are despicable—all very visible for all to see.
In trying to understand why so many white evangelicals and other Christians seem to ignore character and support Trump, here are a few things I’ve discovered:
He’s apparently against abortion
Some Christians fear attack of their religious freedoms from the left, the supposed war on Christmas and all that—a very valid concern. And they see Trump as a defender of their right to practice their chosen religion. Look, Christianity’s been under attack from the beginning. The Pharisees who pushed for Jesus’ crucifixion tried to kill it, Roman emperors tried, and I suspect many others over the centuries have tried. But God and Jesus defended their Christianity just fine on their own—no need for the support of an elected official.
And of course, money money money. The value of Christian 401k’s was often cited as an excuse for supporting Trump. VERY often cited.
Regarding the fear of attacks from the left, Jesus might say, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20)
Or, He might say, “I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. … Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:27-29, 31)
And regarding money, most people know what the Bible says about having too much interest in money, like obsessing about our 401k. As Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) And as Paul warned Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). Wow, isn’t that the truth!
All of these reasons for Christians supporting Trump, and likely others I haven’t mentioned, boil down to an exhibition of profound hypocrisy, all because these people are more concerned about their wants than what Jesus wants. To this, Jesus might say: “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33)
So, what does Jesus want to see when He looks at followers of His Christianity? He gave us the answer quite clearly:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Imagine how outsiders might react if, when they looked at Christians, all they saw was love—no hypocrisy, judgment or other ugly stuff. Imagine the influence that visible love would have on those outsiders. Might some of them even be motivated to turn to Jesus for help? Might they want to experience the same love themselves? Imagine the Island of Love Christianity could become, being a paradise and refuge in these days of turmoil, anger, violence, and of course, COVID-19. Please, try to imagine it.
And if you can conjure up an image in your mind, now consider that that is what Jesus wants to see too.
“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? … It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” (Psalm 118:5-6, 14)
The feeling clung to me for many months, maybe more than a year … after I stopped going to church. Guilt, confusion, lots of questions, and a hollowness that rose from my stomach and oozed into my chest. Was I doing the right thing? Staying home on Sunday—no more church? Eventually the feeling faded and I eased into a new Sunday routine.
Over time, I lost that feeling of guilt. I grew closer to God and Jesus than ever before, I think because I was now on my own in my relationship with them—no longer relying on a seminary-trained pastor to help me. And every day is now Sunday, for I worship God on all days. I feel God working in my life, and though life can really suck (especially this year), God’s presence makes all the difference.
But still, something’s missing. I’ve always known what it is. Churches call it fellowship—hanging out with fellow Christians and worshipping God and Jesus in some fashion. At first, I tried to resist, but that feeling lingering in my gut kept nagging me, telling me that fellowship is something Jesus wants me to do.
Yet, the dilemma. I can’t bring myself to go back to a church, and I’ve never felt God enticing me to go back either. I often hang out with friends who still go to church, but they don’t really understand me and my aversion to church.
Finally, yesterday, an idea seeped in. What I was missing, what I really want, is fellowship with other dechurched Christians.
Are you a dechurched Christian? You know, you still believe in and have feelings for Jesus, but you no longer go to a church? I have a question for you. What do you think of this idea:
Form your own Dechurched Network, a small group of other dechurched Christians.
Periodically, maybe even on Sunday’s, you get together and worship God and Jesus. Of course, these days your get-together might be over Zoom or spaced out a safe distance in someone’s back yard.
Worship can take any form you want. I think the only important thing is that we glorify God and Jesus in our time together. Doesn’t have to be elaborate. Leave the ceremony at the church. Jesus kept things simple—so can we.
I recall seeing mention of it only once in the entire Bible. “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) And, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” (verse 9) *
Maybe when Paul wrote this, he didn’t mean what I hope he meant. Maybe he just means the mind “influenced” by the Spirit. Well, I feel the presence of the Spirit of God in my life, and I feel His influence. But often I desire so much more. And since David once wrote, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart,” (Psalm 37:4), I still hope that God will give me what I desire.
Oh how I wish the Spirit of Jesus would take control over my scattered, out of control mind. So often—too often—my mind goes places I really don’t want it to go. And that’s when the feeling of His presence leaves me, though I believe His Spirit never leaves—just my awareness of Him fades away.
Well, anyway, I’ll keep hoping and desiring and trusting and doing all I can to glorify God and Jesus. For without them, life would be hell.
I hope you have a great, Spirit-filled day.
* If you know of other places in the Bible that speak of this kind of control, please point me to them.
Why was I feeling dull, almost empty, spiritually numb? It wasn’t because of this pandemic—that affects me in different ways. I’d started writing a new book, a book I believe can do great things to spread the truth of God and Jesus. But I still felt I wasn’t being useful for God. I had the sense He wanted me doing more.
Then it started to feel like God was sending me clear messages, in the varied way He sometimes does. In three different books I was reading, including the Bible, I was being told to not be afraid. One book that a friend had given me, “Jesus Called, He Wants His Church Back,” by Ray Johnston, hit me in the gut with the directness of the challenge to just ignore my fears, step out and do new things for Jesus.
I didn’t have to look far to see the new things I felt God calling me to. The book I’m writing is on the right track, but I now felt God calling me to do more, to start spreading the word now and not wait to see if I actually finish writing the book. I have my blog, I’m on Facebook—I can use those to spread the word.
But I needed to be assertive. People don’t need more baby food. Many Christians have gotten nothing but baby food from the churches they attend. What they need, what some openly want, is spiritual meat, the deeper truths of Christianity that lay below the surface.
What we see from a lot of Christians and Christian churches is surface Christianity, that is, the Christianity many people put on and wear each Sunday. But real Christianity, true Christianity, goes much deeper. True Christianity is not just believing that Jesus is the Son of God, going to church regularly, trying to be “good,” and calling yourself Christian. True Christianity is even deeper than a relationship with God and Jesus. And get this: true Christianity is not some hidden, mysterious thing, for it’s clearly defined in the Bible.
True Christianity is a life-changing commitment. True Christianity is surrender to God—surrender of our self, our self-centered human nature. It’s the emptying of our selves so God can then fill us with His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God and Jesus, and us, living in the same body, the two will become one flesh. THAT’s true Christianity. The more I re-read the Bible, and not just the New Testament, the more vivid that truth becomes.
But for many of us, it’s a hard truth to embrace—the commitment feels too great. Yet I’d come to a point on my journey where I was worn out by life. Sometimes I sense I understand the feelings of those who commit suicide—life had become such a burden. But instead of giving myself to death, I want to give myself to God. I crave surrender. I no longer want to be in control—too stressful.
I feel the desire (and I hope a true calling from God, not just imagination) to preach to fellow Christians the deeper truths of surrender to the Holy Spirit. But in doing so, I’m not crazy about some direction I’ve received from the Bible, especially from Paul in his letters to Timothy and Titus, as well as Jesus. He calls us to rebuke our fellow Christians who drift away from the truth. I’m not confrontational by nature, I don’t like the idea of rebuking anyone. Conflict makes my stomach churn. But that’s the fear that I now believe God is calling me to ignore. Jesus said we’d be persecuted for standing up for His truth. I hoped I was ready.
As some of you reading this may have noticed, I have become more vocal with respect to the truths of Christianity and how they apply to the upcoming presidential election. The things I’ve posted are things that came into my mind while praying—I sure hope that means they’re God’s ideas, not mine. I’m always afraid my “self” will step in and pollute the words I write, corrupting the message of God I’m trying to convey. Oh, and yes, I am being persecuted for what I’ve posted so far.
I posted something on a Facebook Christian group I’m a member of, and now I’m being personally attacked. But I’m grateful for the caustic comments. They’re giving me insight into the minds of fellow humans, though I’m not sure if I’d call them fellow Christians, as they call themselves. Whether they are true Christians or not is between them and God. But I feel sorry for them, for many of them seem filled with anger.
So why am I writing about this today? Well, I’m not sure. But I hope it’s because the idea for today’s post also came to me while praying, and I hope that means it’s God’s idea, not mine. And I’d like to say I don’t need to know His purpose to do His will.
Hey, maybe here’s why I’m writing this: do you have a sense that God is calling you to do something, but the idea scares you? Or, do you feel you have only a surface knowledge of Christianity? I hope God wanted me to write today’s post for you, to help you in whatever way He desires.
Eric Trump claims his father Donald saved Christianity. So says an article I just read at Huffpost. And there was the answer to a question I posted yesterday. So THAT’s why so many Christians support Donald Trump, because he single handedly saved their religion. Really?
Look, ignoring Trump for a minute (which is really hard to do), I have a few thoughts on this idea of someone “saving” Christianity. For decades, it’s been a very political issue with many Christians. They vote for whoever better supports their Christian values … sometimes. It’s as if they believe a President can help, and maybe even save, their religion and promote their values throughout the country.
Hey, do you really think God and Jesus need help?
The leaders of Jesus’ day, while he walked the roads of ancient Israel, well, they tried to kill Christianity. No go. They killed the man, but couldn’t kill the faith.
After Jesus died on the cross and rose to heaven, the leaders still conspired to kill the spreading faith. At least one of them was wise enough to see the futility in such an effort. In referring to Christians, the wise one said, “If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)
And we know the Romans tried, and failed, to kill early Christianity.
Worrying about a person doing harm to Christianity is just showing how weak our faith in God is. Some Christians put too much faith in other people, and not enough faith in God.
Look, Christians don’t need to worry about the safety of our faith or our values, unless we put more trust in men than in God. But if we just ignore politics and focus only on God and Jesus, then anti-Christian politicians will only find themselves fighting against God. Who do you think will win?
If Christians would spend less time worrying about the positions of politicians and more quiet time with God and Jesus, I think we all would be better off. What was it Jesus said? Ask and you shall receive. Time to put more faith in what Jesus said rather than what politicians say.
Yesterday I posted something about how I believe that we can be the “one true Christian church.” (see it here). I shared it on Facebook and received a comment that showed me I wasn’t all that clear in spelling out my beliefs. Now I think that a lot of you who follow my blog already have a good handle on my beliefs, so you were able to see past the red flags that got in the way of letting others see my true meaning.
Anyway, here’s the comment that the person left, which I’m grateful for:
Per the article – “As He was God-as-human, you can be Jesus-as-human. You too can be fully human and fully God.” – “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) So, are we fully God or His temple … fully God means to possess and utilizes at will His total abilities and characteristics; do you /have you, ever been fully omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent? You may be a written epistle, even erroneously considered “a god” , BUT FULLY GOD???? If that is not what was meant, it was poorly communicated. YOU WILL NEVER BE FULLY GOD …even thinking about approaching that kind of bogus mentality had satan driven/cast OUT of heaven… rethink the “Ye are gods” teaching and movements…
And here’s my reply:
I think I wasn’t clear in what I believe. For example, to be “fully God” to me means that I don’t possess anything. It means that God possesses me, completely. I have none of God’s abilities. Without God, I’m just a wretched mess.
I believe we can be fully God, as I believe Jesus has promised. But it requires that we deny “self” and absolutely surrender to God so that His Holy Spirit can enter into us and live through us, as God lived through the Son of Man. But as is the case with our inherently prideful human nature, denying “self” is really hard, and it often feels impossible. Yet as with all things, what’s impossible for me is possible for God. And I trust in God and Jesus to make my desire for complete denial of self to become a reality.
Again, I have none of God’s abilities, and I never will. But that’s doesn’t mean that God can’t exercise His abilities through me. In the words of John the Baptist, He must become greater and I must become less. I think true holiness and joy comes when the Spirit of Jesus becomes ALL within me, and I (i.e., my prideful “self”) become nothing. And that’s what I believe.
I just hope I was more clear in my response than in the original post. But my problem is, it’s all really clear in my head, and my heart. It’s just sometimes hard to type that up into accurate words. Oh well.
Available onAmazon. Yet you can likely find it other places as well.
This book is a daily devotional, where some of the most insightful of Andrew Murray’s writings have been collected into 365 days of inspiration. In the words of the publisher, “For several generations, the writings of Andrew Murray have stirred the hearts, minds, and souls toward deeper devotion to God, to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and to the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit.”
As of the writing of this review, I actually haven’t finished reading this book. Also, I cheat and usually read more than one devotion per day. So as I write this around the end of May, I’m now on the devotion for August 29th. But I’ve read more than enough to highly recommend this book. Look, Andrew Murray’s writings have been a staple part of my reading diet for many years. Everything I read of his I put back in my stack of books to read again. This book is no different.
Like all of the books I recommended, this one will help you see and feel what true Christianity is all about. Also, it will lead you into a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that you never could have imagined. And like a lot of daily devotionals, there is no better way to start or end your day than reading from this book.
Do you want to know Jesus and His Spirit more intimately? This book might be a great way to start. But beware, for like most of the books I recommend, it will challenge your prideful human nature.
By the way, Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917) was a pastor and author, living in South Africa. Many of his books were written specifically for those he ministered to, to help nurture and guide them in their Christian life.
Note that the book I got from Amazon has a cover that looks different from what’s shown on the Amazon book page, and from what I show here.