Little Empires

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Control.  We crave it.

It’s why those in power make what some would deem unfathomable and wholly immoral decisions to retain it.

It’s also why those who seemingly have no power will construct personal empires in order to rule and reign over their own (sometimes others’) circumstances.

It’s also why we are so easily distracted by, passionate about, judgmental toward, and downright nasty to people we would otherwise serve, love, and care for when it comes to disagreements over our political positions.

Honestly, I’m heartbroken over the de-evolution of our civility; especially Christians.  It hasn’t stopped.  And it won’t stop.  Not until we take responsibility for our responses and interactions.  We can call it our “right”… we can call it “resisting tyranny”…  we can call it “fighting for the cause”… the list could go on.  However, could it be that those we have essentially shunned for disagreeing with our position actually care just as deeply for other people? Could it be that in our zealousness, we have presented ourselves in ways akin to Pharisees in scripture? Could it be that God’s sovereign goodness encompasses even our constructed empires? This begs a question as we move forward…


For the Christian, which is more important…

… to willingly sacrifice and burn the bridges we have built to bring people (even those we vehemently disagree with) into everlasting life… all in an effort to be perceived as morally upright and assisting in the cause?

OR

…to set aside our personal ambitions and passions at times, if it means one… just ONE… would turn to Jesus (or not turn away)?


Look, I get it.

You may not consider these mutually exclusive.  You may actually consider your efforts to be the more morally obligatory position, even though it potentially means that lost people will observe and turn away from Christ or move further away. You MAY EVEN BE RIGHT in your efforts to sway the ethical, political, or moral compass in the direction you desire for the world.

But at what cost?

Scripture is replete with examples demonstrating God’s own sacrifice of power for the very ones who refuse to acknowledge Him.  Below are just three…

Luke 15:1-7 (Parable of the Lost Sheep)

Luke 15:8-10 (Parable of the Lost Coin)

Luke 15:11-31 (Parable of the Lost Son)

His heart is sincerely for those who fundamentally disagree with Him. Rather than excommunicating, God opens the doors to forgiveness at the expense of gratifying those who would otherwise vindicate or agree with His sentiments.  Think about that… a God who cares more for a relationship with someone who disagrees and turns away than He does letting someone fall away to keep the rest of His flock satiated.

Can we say the same? And if not, do we truly believe our cause and control is more important than our Creator’s? Let’s be careful how we answer that one.


Might I submit… that you have a personal obligation to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting on your heart?  Have you paused to consider God’s desire for you in these times?  This is NOT as simple as claiming the moral high ground, declaring it’s what Jesus would do, and tearing through life with reckless abandon for the cause, whatever that cause may be.  Such a position is immature at best and dangerous at worst.


Yes, there is grace.  But before we feel as though it’s all about “us”, we should be compelled to take stock of the ripples of our actions.  If we fail to consider those consequences, purposely neglect them, or treat them as less important than our personal principles, I would implore us to search for a more humble approach.  Consider how important your principles and empires are to God in comparison to His own.

The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,

and humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 15:33

Our witness is TOO IMPORTANT.  The physical and eternal lives of others are TOO IMPORTANT. The Kingdom of God on earth, here and now, is TOO IMPORTANT to be sacrificed at the altar of personal desperation – desperation to control the insignificant empires we have built around us.  I hesitate writing this because it may well come off as run-of-the-mill Christian hypocrisy.  But by the grace of God, the family of Christ needs a major dose of spiritual discernment and maturity right about now.  We can either pretend that Christ’s sacrifice has no effect on our lives, operating in silos of Christian community (online or otherwise), dolling out virtue-signaled justice in diatribes via echo chambers of vindication… or we can affirm His place, quiet our minds and hearts, and kneel before the King of Kings.

No empire is more pivotal to the human condition and humanity in general than the acknowledgement of our Creator, who is distinct and unique in His calling on each of our lives… not solely for our own sake, but for the sake of those we are called to serve.

Personally, and in complete transparency, I have felt a consistent and pressing call in my own life to limit my engagement in political discourse.  It has been of the utmost importance to pour into the relationships with those of whom I both agree and disagree.  Ultimately, no political position, immoral action, or ethical stance is more important than introducing someone to the person of Jesus. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Why? Because without Christ, I stand guilty before a perfectly loving and perfectly just God…which means, from my personal position, there is no condemnation for ANYONE. No moral hierarchy bridges the gap except of the sacrifice we read about in the gospels.  It is the singular reason I can stand with deep compassion and conviction to write a post such as this.

I don’t claim to speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit.  This is not a topic in which I pass judgment.  It is a topic in which I would direct my brothers and sisters in Christ (myself included) to evaluate, reflect, repent where necessary, and seek a God-honoring stance moving forward.  It bears repeating that God’s calling and instruction is unique for each individual… for your sake, as well as other’s.

Are we taking steps toward Jesus in these times?  He is the author and perfecter of our faith, and stands in anticipation for His followers, who were once lost, to introduce a lost world to His goodness, truth, grace, and ultimate provision… even when surrounding circumstances communicate otherwise.  That cannot be possible if our personal vendetta, even if shared by a small minority or the vast majority, takes precedent over the spiritual well-being of those we come into contact with daily. No empire can stand in His presence… nor would we desire for them to stand any longer, when truly revealed for their purposes. Might we be known as a people who love God and love others; rather than a people without self-control, discernment, or true compassion toward those whose lifestyles and worldviews differ from our own.

Our calling is bigger… and our God is greater.

Praying for your heart.  In Christ.

Josh

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