The Devil’s Roll Call

I’m starting to see certain issues as red flags.  And this is an improvement for me as it gives me a chance to slow down and proceed with caution.  With any luck, I’ll avoid making the mistakes of my past.

Social media is one of those places.  I’ve noticed a trend.

Gun violence occurs over the weekend, Monday morning the blogs and comments roll out about gun control.

Terrorist attack over the weekend, Monday morning the blogs and Facebook posts roll out on immigration.

Wherever you stand on these issues, these aren’t the issues that Jesus was worried about.  They tried to corner Him politically by asking a tax question, and He replied with the famous, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what belongs to God”.  He had no interest in the quibbles of the day.  He was on an eternal soul mission, which to God, was much more important.

So, if you are the enemy, and you have already lost, what can you do to try and bring down as many people with you as possible?  My guess is to keep people off track.  Off mission.  Jesus said, “I have to be about my Father’s business”.  And so should we.  But if we can get sidetracked, especially over issues that divide, then we become easy pickings for the Devil.

It’s OK to give him the credit, he is incredibly smart (conniving).  In my mind social media has become the roll call of the Devil.  He wants to see how many people he has steered off track.  How many people he has taken away from the Father.  And so after every event, he watches.  What will they post about?

Will they post about God and His forgiveness?  Will they talk about love and salvation?  Will they build each other up and focus on the hope the world has?  Or will they go back to gun control, immigration, taxes, foreign policy, racial tensions, etc, etc, etc.  Hand up , hand up, slowly raised hand up.  It’s a temptation just like any other.

To fire up the log-in page, cracking knuckles and salivating at what argument you have prepared… that is falling into the trap.  It’s no different than passing by the adult book store, the drug dealer, or the bookie.  You have a choice to act on the feelings you get.  And you will act on them.  The question is, in what way will you act.  Will you pass by and pray and continue to work through whatever addiction you face.  Or will you give in and raise that hand for the devil?

Some of you may be thinking that I’m advocating we can’t ever discuss politics.  That is not my intention.  My point is that Christians should be known for Christ.  Not political stances.  If you have a political blog, that is the perfect place to post about politics.  But many of us are blurring that line between God and Caesar.  We use our religious platforms to share political spin.

I’m reminded of the Bible story of the man who wanted to go to Heaven.  He confronted Jesus and told of all he had done.  It was an impressive list of sacrifice, worship, and honoring God.  He asked what else can I do?  Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19) After hearing Jesus’ answer, the man became sad and walked away because he was rich. 

He wanted both.  He wanted to blur the line.  He wanted a foot in heaven and one in the world.  Jesus basically said, I need you all in.  I need all of you.  But the man wanted to keep his possessions.  For those trying to minister somehow in social media… God wants all of you.  We can’t leave one foot in political turmoil and then try and share the story of peace and hope while bickering amongst ourselves.

Jesus prayed for unity for us.  He knew the world would face fear and uncertainty and when they turned to look at those who called themselves “like Christ” He wanted them to see a united front pointing to the Savior.  How does that look when some of us are using the pulpit to sway votes, or counter unrelated arguments?  I find it equally offensive when someone from Hollywood uses the entertainment stage as when someone from the church uses the religious stage.  Outside messages don’t belong in either place.

I love talking politics with the correct minded individual.  (just like me?  no?  but able to calmly discuss views that might not be our own).  I can’t do that with strangers on the internet.  Tone can’t be inflected, facial features can’t be portrayed.  And no matter how many words I choose to try and drill down the point, someone will always miss it (most of the time its my fault).  So, like Jesus, I save politics for when its kosher to do so.  And the rest of my public life… I pray I’m always about the Father’s business.

What if, when the next disaster strikes, we see the red flag and avoid that topic altogether?  Instead, we pointed to the King who can get us through anything.  What if we helped people past their fears and gave them hope?  Many of us get these two issues backwards.  We worship in secret and the whole world knows our political stances.  There is a reason they put the curtain on the election booths.  I believe we should vote in secrecy, contact your representatives, write to law makers, donate as you see fit, etc.  But all of that can be done without a single person knowing.  Then let the whole world see Jesus.

 

Advertisements

What I ate vs. who saved me

I’m perplexed by Christians in social media.  When someone posts about their promotion, their new car, or even their latest trip… likes, loves, and thumbs up stream in by bucket fulls.  When someone posts, “God is good” (or some variation) I see a fraction of activity on the post.  (your mileage may vary, but I generally see 1 – 5% of the normal responses given to a religious based post from the same account).

Why is that?  Maybe I should preface that in the circles I’m noticing this in, most of the audience is a Christian based audience.  So it’s the saved that are liking the picture at the park.  It’s the redeemed that “LOVE” the bacon wrapped hot dog someone posted.  It’s the Children of God that scroll right past the posts that mention their very Savior.

I’m not insinuating that we have any sort of obligation… but shouldn’t we want to be about more eternal things?  I know there might be some logistical concerns such as fueling the fire of the ‘Jesus Freak’  or maybe we are being bombarded with too many positive messages (which I find harder and harder to believe these days)?

My fear is that there is a deeply rooted shame of the gospel.  And the very people I’m referring to would instantly reject such a claim.  And I think they would honestly believe it too.  And for those people… for YOU… answer for yourself.  Why don’t you want your mark on a post that glorifies God?  Why won’t you comment on matters of the eternal soul?  Why are you abstaining when your King is mentioned?  And whatever answer you come up with, will you do me one favor?  Will you say a prayer to God and mention your reason directly to the face of God?  How would He feel?  How would you feel in sharing why you don’t want to be on record for the Lord?

I suspect some of us have a preconceived notion about ‘that guy’.  And we don’t want to be him. He is a bit too happy.  He is strangely holy.  He is oddly optimistic.  And that might be just enough to get him on the societal outcast list.  We want to be educated bankers, intelligent accountants, thrifty teachers, etc.  We want to be known for what humanizes us so we can blend in with the world we identify with.

Two major problems here.  First, we aren’t to identify with this world.  Our identity is God.  Second, we aren’t supposed to look normal.  We are supposed to look odd, abnormal, and like we belong somewhere else… because we do.  We DO NOT BELONG HERE…. why is it so important to look like we do?

But we have Christians who understand this wanting to get more info on the latest gadgets but don’t want to be seen colluding with the weirdos who talk openly about God.

I’ve noticed that the Bible only seems to focus on active people.  Zacchaeus climbed the tree to get a glimpse of Jesus.  People carried sick relatives to Jesus, touched his robe, washed His feet.  Some of these stories include crazy antics… remember the one where they lower the paralytic through a hole in the roof?  A hole they cut!!!  You know what you don’t remember?  It’s easy, because the Bible never addresses them.

It’s the quiet bystander.  The people who just watched and did nothing.  They have no place in the history of Jesus.  And matching with other scriptures we can read about the activists… the Hot.  The people actively trying to get to Jesus.  And, we can read about the antagonist… the cold.  The people trying to stop them.  But the lukewarm… they have no place in this story, just as Jesus said they have no place with Him.

Actively trying to get to Jesus.  Bringing gifts across the desert, climbing trees, pushing through massive crowds… Is liking a post the point?  No.  Are you actively trying to live a life that follows Jesus?  How does that look?  How does the world know you belong to Him?  Is it because you smile?  Is it because you don’t use certain words in your vocabulary?  Is it because you follow a certain stereotype?  No.

Does your politeness make Jesus jump up and down?  “Yeah!!!!  I died on the cross and they decided to hold the door open for someone… count that one as mine!”.  The atheists know how to be polite.  The agnostic can feed the hungry and donate blood.  The truly lost can be good neighbors.  While all of this might be good to live out, its not what is called out.  We aren’t just called, we are called out.  To step out and reject the norms of this society.  To say its not enough to be nice, its not enough to be kind.

It’s time to be separate.  Different.  Special.  Holy.  Godly.  Like Christ.  Christian.  Remember the shame of Peter?  “you were with the man weren’t you?”…. “no, no… NO!!!”.  Are some of us shaking our heads at how Peter could do such a thing, while at the same time we leave no tangible evidence that we are saved by a mighty God and called to a life of love, sacrifice, and saving others along the way?

I’m not shaming you if you don’t click like on Facebook posts.  I’m not calling out Twitter ghosts.  That is a small habit that may point to a bigger issue.  Are you proud of your heritage?  Do you honor God?  Can you post about your hiking trip, but the journey with the Savior feels weird?  Can you share your favorite recipe, but your favorite scripture never makes it out?  Do you recount endless tales of the exploits of your best friend, but what Jesus has done for you never crosses your mind to share?

If this post burns a bit, or seems accusatory, don’t fret.  The solution sits at your fingertips.  The cure is in your heart.  What makes me want to share Jesus is the forgiving love He gives where my past matters not.  What I kept to myself yesterday, I can shout out today.  What I was ashamed of yesterday can be my identity today.   Jesus doesn’t just forgive.  He restores.  He renews.  He redeems.