Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Affairs of Men

II Tim.2:4 - No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

o what affairs is Paul speaking? Obviously we are to work, and buy, and live within our communities. But the affairs of the world are those issues that are important to man and unimportant to the cause of the gospel. These are the ever changing political machinations that consume the minds and hearts of fallen man. It is with this in mind that I share this. I heard a foreign affairs “expert” say this in referencing the Egyptian upheaval:

“Sometimes, like in the case of the Shah of Iran, our national interests are in conflict with our values.”

What this man was saying is that sometimes we must place our national interests above our moral values. So in the case of Egypt, Mubarak may be corrupt and have a military hold on his people, but because he is friendly toward the United States, and because another government may be much more dangerous, we must support him. Situational ethics at its finest.
And the pitiful aspect of this kind of thinking is that many who profess Christ agree with it. Forget about the golden rule, forget about blessing your enemies, and forget about the sovereignty of God, when it comes to the interests of America Christ must take a back seat. How completely unchristian and an open affront to all we say we believe. Millions hold up their Bible as truth, and loudly proclaim it to be inerrant, while they no more believe its words than does Hugh Heffner.
But the Apostle Paul is exhorting us to be different and remain unencumbered by the interests of a fallen world while we live and share the everlasting gospel to those who are in eternal peril. Oh how utterly sad it is to see God’s bride soiling her garments with things that do not last and with the ebb and flow of political juggling. God’s interests are completely unattached from the interests of man and his governments. But somehow the church has been deceived into participating in a real life game of Risk complete with armies, death, conquest, and a consistent roll of the proverbial dice.
I share this because I have received e-mails from people who eyes have begun to be opened through my meager words, and encouragement from others whose eyes have been opened before they came to my blog. But I say again with passion and humility that just because we as believers see the unbiblical nature of politics and nationalism, that in and of itself is benign if it does not result in a deeper life of devotion to Christ. Self righteousness is a fluid poison that can find a home in all of our hearts and like changing the oil in our cars we must be vigilant to inspect our hearts and dismiss and vestige of pride. Everything and anything we know has come by God’s grace and not the loftiness of our intellect.

Ti.3:3 - For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

I Cor.15:10 - But by the grace of God I am what I am…

Oh how blessed we are and oh how dependant we are on the grace of our wonderful Savior and Lord! I did not deserve salvation, and after I was saved I did not deserve the patience He continues to show toward me. And when God leads me into a deeper level of understanding, my flesh is eager to claim that victory and lead me into judging those from whose midst I just came. That is a constant struggle of which I exhibit an imperfect victory. But make no mistake, in the first and final analysis we owe everything to God and the gracious ministry of His Spirit.
The motives of the fallen nature are self serving and vacillate with whatever benefits it most. And only through the Holy Spirit can we acquiesce and surrender to God’s will, especially when His will is direct conflict with our own, which happens more times than we can admit. A surrendered follower of Jesus must have no will in any matter. That makes obedience a spiritual discipline and honors God. And while the schemes of man swirl around us, let us be anchored in the will and heart of Almighty God. Take no thought and do not worry about events and rumors of events, we stand upon the accomplished event that has secured eternity for us.
It is in uncertain times like these that sinners can see something different in us. Not a smug “I am not political” attitude, but a peace that passes all understanding and an exhibition of love that crosses the line between friend and enemy. Yes we must continue to see the fruitless labors of man’s flesh, but we must offer something remarkably different that draws men’s curiosity and ultimately draws men to Jesus. It is time for a massive revival among believers. This revival will not be welcomed, much less joined, by many in the church. But this revival may begin with a few.

Let it begin with me who needs it most.

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