Before his death, Francis Schaeffer wrote a number of books compelling Christian people to think about what it means to live our faith in a fallen culture. His words in his most famous works, The God Who is There, and How Shall We Now Live? give us a thoughtful approach as the world continues to “tighten the noose” around our faith.
How do we now live in a world that is antithetical to everything we believe? Some felt that evangelical Christianity had a soulmate in the Republican party but that illusion has been mostly shattered. We are, indeed, no longer the “moral majority” in America. Politics will not “swing” the vote of the world in our favor.
We must become more comfortable with being the outliers in our culture, not the driving force that makes us mainstream in acceptance and thought. We are more akin to bands of guerilla fighters, seeking to live against the ruling regime of this world.
Some, in panic, have chosen to capitulate and become traitors… selling their souls to the world for the highest bid. They have caved in first this moral issue, and then on that other ethical decision, and finally became indistinguishable from the world around us. They literally have become “spiritual chameleons,” choosing to blend in rather than stand out.
So how shall we now live?
Others have “hunkered down” in fear and tried to keep a low profile so as not to be discovered and called out as followers of “that man,” as Peter was accused in the courtyard of Caiaphas. We would rather the world “like us” than to take a chance of having to defend why we are different. Popularity becomes more important than spiritual integrity; acceptance of the world more valuable than the “well done” of our King.
So how shall we now live in such a world without becoming “of it?” Some make the case that it’s better to be the white glove handling the “mud” of the world. They call it witnessing. They want the “mud” to accept them as part of it. It always ends up with a muddy glove, never “glovey mud.” The Bible calls such living “compromise.”
We are frequently called in Scripture to “love the world,” but cautioned not to love “the things that are in the world.” The Bible warns us that “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” While “God so loved the world,” He did not love the world system, the world’s culture that is continually polluted by the enemy of our souls.
Our challenge, then, is to love people unconditionally… even those who disagree with us and seek us harm. We are to “love our enemies” and to “pray for those who spitefully use us.” But we are not compelled to live like them or to sell our soul for their friendship and acceptance. Now, more than ever, this slice of the world called the United States needs a bold, prophetic MINORITY who will stand up and stand out and be counted not matter what it costs us.
When my walk with Christ first began in the mid-70s, I was deeply influenced by a Brooklyn-born songwriter named Keith Green. Keith didn’t just sing songs about standing up and standing out and being different. He did these things. He stood against the prevailing culture of the music industry that had sold its soul to Wall Street. He refused to further that cause and started giving his albums away to those who couldn’t afford to purchase them.
My favorite album cover shows a man standing alone in a crowd that is bowing down before a powerful monarch. The scene is drawn from behind so there are no faces seen. That image has haunted me since that day. As I look at it, I always wonder. When the time comes to stand… will I?
We are coming close to the day when we are going to have to choose to bow to the world or to stand for Jesus. And then, each of us will have to make our choice. How shall we now live?
My prayer is that we will live… and stand… for Jesus.
FOR MEDITATION: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
FOR REFLECTION: In this troubling election season, believers must pray and seek to discern the voice and direction of God more than ever. How shall we now live? Let your answer be reflected in the decisions you make each day… as well as on Election Day.