America has been kind to evangelical Christians and Christianity over its two hundred and forty-five-year history. I believe that more missionaries have been sent around the globe from the United States than from any other country, as well as billions of dollars’ worth of printed materials and financial aid.
Having been hounded and persecuted by Roman and Jewish leaders in the early years of the church and enduring the oppression of the Catholic Church through the Middle Ages, born again Christians have found the United States to be refreshing. Until recently, we have faced virtually no persecution here. Whatever name-calling or resistance we have dealt with has been minute compared to the real persecution faced by believers in places like Russia, Romania, China, and Cuba.
But it appears that we have forgotten the reason God blessed this Nation. We have been warned repeatedly by preachers that God has not enriched us for the purpose of making us comfortable, but we have not heeded their counsel. We have largely made America, and thus, this world, our home, as if we will be here for a long time. This has been a major error.
It is an understandable mistake. We are physical beings with physical needs, desires, and aspirations. It is also clear that wealth and comfort are not inherently sinful; therefore, the relevant question is how are we as Christians to behave when we have been blessed with liberty, wealth, and accessible comforts never before known to mankind?
This may now be a moot point as we find the power of government and the influence of cultural leaders opposing us and seeking to silence us. For the first time since the Nation’s founding Christians in America are finding we are no longer welcome. No, we are not yet being openly and actively thrown into prison, or having our houses and possessions confiscated, but the winds which for over two centuries blew gently at our backs are now turning into our faces with increased volume.
The fact is this: God never intended us to feel welcome here! The message of the Gospel, the Christ of the Cross, are not and never have been crowd pleasers; and we are now facing the reality that this world is no friend of God, or of us. And that is okay! In fact, it is more than okay!
We may finally be seeing spiritual realities as we should have always seen them. We are here for a relatively brief time and have been given a mission to accomplish. Our real home awaits us in the Kingdom which follows, and we have been sent here to invest our time, talents, energy, and finances primarily in THAT mission, NOT to accumulate stuff or retire to watch the sun set on the beach. I am not the one to declare just how much stuff a person should have and can only say that it is the prioritizing of stuff and comfort that is problematic. The Christian experience as Christ designed it is not self-help therapy or a means of accumulating wealth.
Thus, we who genuinely know Christ now find ourselves adrift, like the man without a country. It is unsettling and quite uncomfortable, as it should be. Brothers and Sisters, we are not home! We dwell in “occupied territory.” James strongly warned us that “he who would be a friend of the world makes himself the enemy of God!”
We are finally being driven to the place we should have always been.
It is long overdue that we reexamine why God placed us here and how we can best fulfill His Great Commission. We are not to make this world our home. We are not to make the accumulation of things our purpose. We are to represent God, and that accurately! We are to oppose the wicked. We are to call everyone to repentance and to proclaim the saving Gospel of the Cross. We are to rescue the weak and powerless from the hand of the oppressor. We are to lift up Christ, and we are to wait for eternity for our comfort and rest.
Let us all bend our energies to those eternal tasks!