America’s Harsh Winter
Do you remember Murphy’s Twelfth Law? “You can’t lead the cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” Many aspire to action in the church but think they look funny on a horse. I am one of them. Not an actual horse, mind you. I can sit comfortably and poised even on a high-spirited horse like my Traveler. But I am less apt to step up to the plate where it really counts.
Simon son of John was made to hold the reins. He rode so relaxed, so at home. He felt chosen, and he showed it. He was willing to stick his neck out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Like Columbus discovering a new world, he made the plunge and never looked back.
One would think our churches today would be filled with such men and women eager to humble themselves and to seek God’s face and to turn from their wicked ways because of the great need of our hearts and homes and churches and nation. Alas, ours is a day of apostasy and apathy, and we forget that God is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Too long have we avoided the wider implications of Romans 13:11: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” We profess to follow Christ, but our profession is only from our lips and we have never made a real surrender. We call Him Lord, Lord, and do not do His commandments. We draw nigh unto Him with our mouths and honor Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. Like those of us in the Jesus Movement of the 1960s, we saunter jauntily into His presence with crude back-slapping familiarity, forgetting that a holy God will not hold us guiltless who carelessly employ His Name.
Paul was speaking to Roman Christians who were very zealous in lesser religious observances but had neglected the greater matters of love and good deeds. Like the Pharisees, they had forgotten that the Lord despises ritual without reality, a show of godliness without its power. Many cozy saints nowadays ask “What do we get?” while the Lord is asking “How much can you take?” Do not follow Him if you don’t want a fight on your hands. Our Lord made it plain throughout His life on earth that following Him is a dangerous business.
How God’s people need to wake up to the deception of this age! We seem to have a need to get along with everybody and everything. We become “all things to all men” but not the way Paul meant it. Give up TV? Home school my children? Teach them the Bible myself rather than handing that job over to the youth pastor? Stand up for Terri Schiavo? Support pro-life missionaries? Spend my hard-earned money going to a foreign mission field? This is too much for us. We wish to be neither black nor white but gray. We have geared everything to a generation that wants all the benefits with few of the responsibilities. And thus we open ourselves up to the corruptions of this world.
Today our chapel speaker pointed us to the truth of Hebrews 12:1-3:
He challenged us to be fools for Christ. The Christian does not just look up, he said, he looks unto Jesus. All other “looking” is in vain though it may act like a saint and speak the language of the church.
It may be springtime outside, but America is facing a harsh winter. The carcass is ready for the vultures. False prophets cry “Peace” when there is no peace.
It is high time to wake up.
April 27, 2005
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. If you would like to know more about becoming a follower of King Jesus, please feel free to write Dave.