It’s Not the End of the World–just America as we know it

At least, it’s going to feel that way for a lot of us.

Yesterday’s election results were surprising and disappointing to a majority of those who were close observers of the campaigns.  Clearly there are multitudes within the country who don’t pay attention but still vote.  I’m not complaining about that; I’m simply observing the growing trend.  And once things begin to slide downhill, rarely are they stopped, and even more rarely are they returned to a higher position.

For the liberal political agenda, that’s good news.  For the economic and security futures of the country, it’s likely to be bad news.  For Christians, it’s going to be tough.

I’m not predicting that we will lose our right to assemble or worship as we wish.  Those are fabulous blessings protected by the Constitution.  But we’ve long made the mistake of thinking of our Christianity as primarily what we do when we gather together for worship.  Real, living Christianity–serving God by following Jesus–is a way of life.  And our way of life will grow more difficult as our society grows in its unbelief.

Our challenge is going to be similar to that of the first few generations of Christians who found themselves in the vast minority within an empire full of violence, corruption, and rancid immorality.  There is good reason to lament and mourn the death of a culture that once made it comfortable to be a Christian.  But we are not called to be a people of anger, resentment, worry, or surrender.  Scripture calls us to be a people of faith, hope, love, and endurance.

Can God’s people survive in a land of oppression?  Ask Daniel who grew up in Babylon, lived through a night in a den of lions, and was still “greatly loved” by God (Daniel 9:23).  Or ask Joseph whose whole life was turned upside down when he was sold by his brothers into slavery, carried into a pagan land, spend years in prison, but finally was raised to a place of honor by God.  Joseph looked back on all his misfortunes and calamities–as we might define them–as part of God’s good plan to  save many people (Genesis 50:20).  Or ask Naomi who became so heartbroken and despondent that she wanted to be called “Bitter” but later learned that she was not forgotten or forsaken by God (see Ruth 4:14-15).  Or ask Paul.

Paul was willing to give up all the honor and trappings of life lived by the rules of the world in order to be a faithful servant of God.  Even though Paul had experienced countless hardships–far more than almost any of us have every known–he could still say, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11).

What we need today is a clearer perspective of who we are, what the future likely holds, and how we prepare to meet it in a way that glorifies God.  Because if we do that–if we glorify God–he will preserve, sustain, and exalt us in his time.  He has made that promise to us.  So the challenge is to continue to find ways to engage a rapidly decaying culture without being overcome by it.

Our youngest generations are the most at risk.  They will not grow up in a country like we, or our parents and grandparents have known.  In some ways that’s a good thing; in other ways, it’s not.  But it will be different, and we who are faithful to God must prepare ourselves and our children to be light in a world of darkness.  To be salt in a culture on the brink of decay.  To be grace and truth in a nation that has been nearly overcome by hatred and lies.

Our task is enormous.  But our God is soooo big…

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About PatrickBarber

Preaching Minister East Point Church of Christ Wichita, Kansas
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6 Responses to It’s Not the End of the World–just America as we know it

  1. dawnm68 says:

    Thank you for the encouraging words! I am trying to not look to the future with fear, but it’s hard.

  2. Jenae says:

    What timely and God-given words, Patrick. It is sad (and scary) to think that over the last few years, our nation has quickly gone from one the upheld the beliefs and morals of the Christian community to one that now mocks them. But I think you’re right, this is a time of refining for Christians as a whole…and the process of refinement can’t take place without a little fire to burn off the impurities. Now, more than ever, we need to be unified as the body of Christ, acting as the hands and feet to those around us and those around the world to show the love of Christ even in the darkest times.

  3. Someone from my church put a link to this post on our church’s FB page. I’m not sure I understand. How does who the president is effect whether or not you can live a Godly life?

    • Thanks for the question. I believe that we’re all influenced by the things and people around us. Our society, even if we’re trying to build our lives on a godly foundation, still impacts us. If our society is god-affirming, then our lives our easier. And when our society becomes less godly, then it becomes harder to remain faithful to the kind of lifestyle to which God calls us. I don’t think it’s the President’s fault that our society is getting worse, but his political ideologies have not helped to foster Christian virtue in our culture. Some would say that his policies have moved the culture farther away from godly lifestyles. Each person is welcome to his or her opinion and political preference. But I think many would agree that our culture is less “Christian” than it has ever been.

      Now, I also want to clearly state that an easier life and a culture that is Christian in name only isn’t what I’m after. Comfort is not my idol, but living a quiet, peaceful life isn’t a bad desire, either (see 1 Timothy 2:1-3). My concern is that my children are going to continue to grow up in a culture where faith in God is harder to maintain–not impossible, but certainly harder. And I’m sorry for that. The best way we counteract that decay of the culture is to draw nearer to God through meditating on his word, engaging him in prayer, committing ourselves to being an active part of a church family, and trying to be the kind of salt and light to our neighbors that Jesus says we are (Matthew 5:13-16).

      I’m not anti-Obama or anti-Democrat. I’m a Christian first and foremost, but I recognize that dangerous and difficult days are ahead of God’s church, and we’d better prepare ourselves for what I believe are going to be hard times for people of faith. I don’t know what the future will hold for our country, but I do know what the future will ultimately hold for all of us who never take our eyes off of Jesus who is the only true Lord of all the world.

      Again, thank you for your question/statement. God bless.

  4. Curious1 says:

    I’m curious as to what policies that have been enacted (or will be) are wholly ungodly, or rather will continue America’s decline. Admittedly, I do not follow politics nearly as closely as others. Actually, I go out of my way to avoid specific “political discussions” because I believe it is actually two people arguing over their beliefs (which never works, by the way) rather than an intellectual discussion of the actual events that have taken place.

    • I appreciate your question, Curious1. My primary concern–and maybe I didn’t communicate this well in the original post–is with the direction our popular culture is heading. The nation, as is true with every nation, has always had a sin problem. Now, however, immorality seems to have become popular and is regularly flaunted in media and entertainment. My concern with the current federal administration is that it links itself with popular culture in a variety of ways that provide unhealthy examples for those who believe in Jesus and try to follow him. This is especially a difficult issue for our younger generations.

      If you don’t follow politics closely or didn’t pay a lot of attention to the political campaigns, then I can understand why you might not be as conscious of these things. But they are there.

      I should also say that this isn’t strictly a Democrat vs. Republican kind of issue. Both parties have their own issues with immorality, and so do I. But I don’t flaunt it, and I don’t pander to it to try to gain a consensus. Our current administration does, and I think that’s a bad thing for the country, and I believe it will ultimately make it more challenging to encourage real faithfulness to God in our young people. Not impossible, but more difficult.

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