Saturday, March 9, 2019

Lent Day 4 - Which Side Do I Choose?

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts
is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think 
he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable
in all he does.        James 1:5-8

If there's one thing we know how to do, it's choose up sides, and arm ourselves for battle. Our country is in the middle of more moral and ethical crises than we can keep up with, and addressing them appropriately is so much more than just choosing a side, and taking shots at those who disagree. The truth is, in most matters, there are good, moral people on all sides of an issue. We each have a perspective based on our upbringing, education, experience, convictions, and world views. 

Those differences of perspectives can work for us, if we will allow it to happen. Sometimes we all really want the same thing, and just disagree on how to achieve that end. Sometimes we actually disagree on the right course of action and the desired result. Healthy debate is good and productive, and keeps us from developing tunnel vision. It stretches us and forces us to dig deeper into why we believe what we believe, and why we choose the positions we take. 

Hopefully, it also takes us deeper into God's word as we search for answers. I'm not talking about finding a verse or two to support your opinion and using those to batter anyone who may disagree with you. I'm talking about having as our center, the WHOLE Word of God, which includes how we are to interact with one another. 

I'm talking about remembering that only one thing sends us to hell, and that is not our political party or our position on any issue. It is rejecting Jesus. That's it. 

It also means that we face spiritual warfare daily, but we need to remember who the enemy is. Read this: 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the
authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

We cannot do battle on two fronts. If we are fighting with one another we have lost sight of the true enemy and the field of battle. 

The true enemy is Satan, and the battlefield is the heavenly realms. Our greatest, most powerful weapon is prayer. 

You may know exactly what position you take on some issues, but struggle with others. You're not alone. The promise in James is that God gives wisdom to those who ask and believe. As you pray, though, don't just ask for a pro or con choice. Ask God for wisdom and discernment to understand the problem more completely. Most issues are very complex and solutions are not as simple as passing a law or writing a check. Also, we can never forget that people, who are God's crowning creation, are at the center of these issues. We must never carelessly or flippantly toss out solutions without understanding the fullness of the problem or the potential harm of a thoughtless "solution."

Matthew 10:16 is Jesus talking to his disciples and he says this:  "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves." 

Be wise and harmless. I fear we are often neither of those things in our zeal to set the world right. 

Should we speak out on issues of the day? Absolutely, but not until we have spoken to God about them first, and never until we are ready to deal with one another in love. Read 1 Corinthians 13 - the Love Chapter. We can be right all day long. Our party can win election after election. We can always be on the "winning" side, but if we don't have love and compassion for everyone, it all means nothing. And it certainly doesn't please God. 

Prayer for the Day - 

Jesus forgive us for the times we put being right ahead of showing love. Sometimes it feels like all we do is fight with people who don't know or care about you, and sometimes they even hate and despise you, so we hate and despise them back, and relegate them to hell for their audacity. Please change our hearts. Our country needs us, every Christian, to be grounded in you. We are the gatekeepers and the lighthouses. There are solutions to every problem we face. Open our eyes to see them. Give us grace and humility to step back and be silent when we need to. Give us the words to say when it is time to speak. Show us where we are calloused and arrogant, and break our hearts with the things that break yours. Forgive us for treating people like chess pieces and objects and even weapons against those we oppose. Give us eyes to see the true enemy. Expose him to us and unite us in your Spirit to stand against him. We claim your promise to give us wisdom and ask for it today. Everything we need, we find in you. We love you, Lord, our Strength, our Rock, our Fortress, and our Deliverer. 

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