If Christians would toughen up a bit, get out of the religious closet, follow their faith instead of their fears, and live their beliefs in a more robust way, we would once again change the face of this nation more drastically than Kim Novak’s plastic surgeon altered her mug. Maybe that’s a bad analogy. But you get my point.
Hey Christian, why don’t you go public with your faith? Why don’t you work what you supposedly believe into your sphere of influence, huh, PC JC man? Come on, Dinky – true faith is resilient. It can handle scrutiny. It has answers for tough questions. It has solutions for societal pollution. It wants to go play outside.
Look, if the believer really wants to change things that he feels are detrimental to both the soul of man and the soul of our nation, and not just blather on about how bad things are then he must embrace four spiritual qualities. Yes, the following four points were common denominators, fundamentals that Christians have joyfully lived for hundreds of years around the globe, principles that eventually caused the land in which they dwelt to be changed for the better. If you live, eat, sleep and breathe these four things for a few decades, history states that you’ll watch their positive impact on the course of your life, your church and your nation.
Are you ready for this? I knew you were:
1. Incorporate what you believe into your daily grind. 2. Bump up the quality of your spiritual experience. 3. Get a passion for effective action. 4. Labor for personal, ecclesiastical and national reform.
BTW: 1-4 have been borrowed from J.I. Packer and abused by me.
1. Incorporate what you believe into your daily grind.
Look, we’re not going to change our nation if we compartmentalize our faith and relegate our Christianity to once a week ditty. Where Christianity has historically rocked, its adherents saw no incongruities between their sacred worship and their secular work.
Martin Luther, the 16th-century Augustinian monk who shook all of Christendom like a bowl of liposuctioned fat, said the Christian was worthless until he could vibrantly live a profane life, which means in the Latin, outside the temple. Luther not only brought clarity to the gospel message, but he also catapulted believers beyond the stained glass walls of the Church, exhorting them to be salt and light in places where they might be skewered and lampooned. Yes, Martin re-tabled the New Testament notion that the secular environment was not to be avoided because it was bad and that all creation is sacred so all activities are to be done to the glory of God.
Listen: true spirituality is incredibly practical, robust and workable no matter where you dwell or what you do. If your spirituality/Christianity isn’t viable and stout in the most difficult of cultures, then it ain’t the stuff Moses and Christ sold.
To help you take your Christianity out of the Christian ghetto where the secularists would love you to remain, here’s a simple can do: start to see life as a whole. Begin to merge, as J.I. Packer says:
· Your Christianity with culture,
· Your contemplation with achievement,
· Your worship with work,
· Your labor with rest,
· Your fasting with a Foster’s,
· Your love of God with love of neighbor and self,
· Your personal identity with social identity
· Your wide spectrum of relational responsibilities with each other in a thoroughly conscientious and considered way.
Try that next week, next month and the next few years, and watch your influence spread like butter. And you can be certain that such a resurrection of a hearty Christianity will definitely tick the sassy secularist off and get Satan’s panties in a wad.
2. Bump up the quality of your spiritual experience.
If, as a Christian, you want to have true influence upon culture, then you must deepen your soul’s relationship with God and refuse to be simply denomination-centered, success-oriented, self-indulgent, and repellently corny. This type of me-monkey religion might be en vogue with an immediate aberrant version of the faith, but hear me loud and clear: such a “faith” is a farce and not the force Christ intends it to be. I know that’s tight, but its right. Yes, shallowness and sappiness keep you from impacting the real world, where the big boys live and play. And as far as I’m concerned, being a spiritual force and not a ridiculous farce is what having a robust faith is all about.
Believe it or not, no matter what you’ve seen on Christian TV, the believer is a creature of thought, affection and will. God’s primary way to up the robusticity of the human heart is via the human head, by the principal means of the scripture. Having a profound and extensive knowledge of the scripture, coupled with contemplation and application of the Word to one’s person, will naturally cause one to move into substantially deeper waters.
Now, wouldn’t it be great to see a Christian of significant spiritual substance brought back to the Church? One who worships rationally and resolutely with ardent devotion to Christ and is completely comfortable out of a stained glass environment? Imagine having a believer who is serious about the law without becoming a legalist and who enjoys his Christian liberty without becoming Ted Kennedy on St. Patrick’s Day.
3. A passion for effective action.
Wherever and whenever Christians forcefully delivered a holy spiritual punch to the demonic gut and brought life, light and liberty to people and places, it was because they had dreams without being dreamy. They had a practical faith which worked in the mud, a faith that was not nebulous, vapid, ridiculous or insipid. They were people who were supernaturally natural, who did not forego working in this world to be caught up in the world to come.
When Christianity has been a contender within its culture, the Church has had low tolerance for the lazy, passive, airy and indecisive disciple who thinks it’s not his job to change the world. Savory Christian cultural architects actually believed God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven, and thus clipped along at an energetic pace, establishing Christ’s view of justice, mercy and righteousness.
Today, too much of the Church can be characterized as pessimistic and passive, always willing to believe the worst as long as it takes as little energy as possible. The beliefs that societal wrongs cannot be corrected because the world is supposed to slide into an anti-Christ-run keg party, or that the job doesn’t belong to the laity but to the clergy, have left tens of thousands of believers about as active in the world as Howard Hughes was during flu season.
In contrast to the indolent and gloomy quasi-religious crowd, the salvific saints of souls and society have always been set apart by the hope and heat they carry within which manifests in good works without. They know that time is on their side and that their efforts are not going to go unnoticed and ineffectively down the crapper.
4. Laboring for personal, ecclesiastical and national renewal.
As I stated, believers who successfully carried out the creation and evangelistic mandates understood the need for constant rejuvenation. Yes, these believers comprehended the innate spiritual rot, which unsurprisingly and easily crept in on them, their church and their nation.
Appreciative of this nefarious bent, these Christians intentionally and constantly prodded themselves Godward. Yeah, the effective believers who shaped culture stirred up their lukewarm hearts, stifled their lower cortex monkey brain and labored earnestly against the grain for an enriched understanding of God’s truth, stoked spiritual affections, and more resolution regarding their calling in life.
These useful believers were ever mindful of the fact that no matter what a person has accomplished, what a church has done in the past or what our nation has formerly stood for, as long as there are humans involved, there must be the incessant rousing of God’s gifts and graces, or all our progress will derail like an AmTrak and become a fraction of what it could be.
If the church would take a regular hard look at itself now, bolster the things which are great and kick to the curb the crud that impedes us, we would be more fit to powerfully impact the nation in which we reside. A Christian’s desire to biblically better the planet demands that we constantly revamp our graces because of the tremendous task which is set before us. Renewal in the scripture is always preceded by reality, and reality can sometimes be brutal. This is why we avoid it.
The cold hard reality is that our carnal man wants to take hold of God as much as Ted Nugent wants to hold hands with Piers Morgan. As believers, we naturally will go from bad to worse. And as the church goes, there goes the culture. Therefore, it’s incumbent for the believer to be busting his hump to make certain his love toward God, man and that which is holy, just and good never, ever, becomes tepid and tame.