It isn’t what they call you it is what you answer to. That sounds cliche. But upon closer examination, what is that we answer to? The call is more than just the names that we are called, it is what we are willing to accept into our lives. My mind is up here and my flesh is down there. My mind wants to be elevated, seeks God, seeks knowledge, seeks to be empowered and my flesh is selfish, grimy, in the gutter, wants to throw away everything that I have worked for so far. My mind is embarrassed of my flesh; it is embarrassed for it; sin knocks at the door, it doesn’t come in like a flood it stands there and tempts me, taunts me, keeps screwing with me and my mind is doing everything that it can to prevent it from being taken over.
Ephesians 6:12 is encouraging; it tells me that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but the rulers, authorities, and powers of this world. We used to laugh at that passage, but clearly, even non Christians are vocal about the struggle against the rulers, authorities, and the powers of this world. Who here has ever been indifferent towards their government? How many told teachers to “leave us kid’s alone”? Who rebelled against their parents as a youth? So where do I understand the difference between the good fight, that honest struggle, and pure sinful rebellion?
Romans 13:1 tells us that everyone must submit themselves to the governing authorities, but it also tells us that there is no authority except that which God has established. What this means is that in submitting yourself to the authorities that govern you, one is indeed following the will of God because He allowed those authorities to be established. You can be out of the will of the God conspiring against the governing authorities. No one says that you cannot be critical of them, no one even says that you cannot question their motives and care for your well being, but we cannot simply defy them, because that puts us out of the will of God. That means that the music of my youth in which I rebelled against the system is something that I have to throw away. It means that I can no longer be a punk with indifference to authority, because that is sin. It doesn’t mean that I stop asking questions, but it does mean that I should have as many questions to ask of God as I do those who govern me. A lot of the passages in the Word are simply there are illustrations, precaution, of how to keep yourself in the right spirit with God and away from the negative spirit of the world that the enemy seduces us with.
It also means that I have to trust God, pray to God and believe that if indeed there is wrong that has been done against me that he can deliver me out of it. So we have to be careful how we react, as we will always suffer the consequences of those actions, but if we stay with God we will not have to remain in that situation for long. We are also tested, through authority; we have to understand that compliance to God’s Word, even though he has allowed the governing authorities to be established, runs contrary to the will of those authorities. Stop voting along party lines and falling into the rhetoric of the campaigns and start praying and ask him who you should vote for. Too often we vote for those that serve special interests, thinking that we are of those special interests and then our situation changes and we have placed a vote against us, as we cannot see the future. Republicans say that they are for God, and Democrats say that they are liberal and for social programs but it all depends on who they are pandering to at that moment and what they have to say to get that vote. Where does your elected official stand at with respect to the god you serve, or do you know? God may not want me to rely on the social programs, or he may want me to start up a business; but would I ever know if I did not spend any time with him? Our government want us to see them as God, which will never happen; though if you hang around long enough a government will be established that will indeed require you to submit yourself to the State as religious freedoms will be taken away. But that is not anything that true Christians are going to be around to witness.
Do you see yourself in the same way that other people see you? You can be overweight but you might see yourself as someone that is skinny. You might be fast and loose but you see yourself as being slow, chaste and pure. You can be greedy but you might see yourself as someone that is conservative, and very giving. But you are never going to be able to come into that full realization of who you are, it will never happen, if you are not in line with what God says.
Our struggle is to serve God. But we also struggle to see the reality of who we truly are, how we really see ourselves, and a big part of the reason why we serve God is because of our failed attempts to do so. Once you come to know God it is easy to talk a great game as though you never had any problems at all. Most see this Christian life as very boring, lame, square, and we just sit in church all day and praise God. But there are a lot of times when you cannot even open your mouth; you try to pray and there aren’t any words that come to your mind. There are a lot of times when you are broken. Life is hard any way you look at it; whether you serve my God, some other god, agnostic, an atheist or all of the above, depending on what condition we find you in at the time, it isn’t easy. So you get emotional, you cry, you experience the presence of God, and you move on.
We don’t have all of the answers. When Jesus came to this Earth they didn’t receive him right away because he was not this great warlord that came in and defeated the Roman empire. One of the disciples even questioned if anything good could come out of Nazareth, and Jesus had to tell him what he was doing the prior day to prove his point to him. Clearly, how Jesus came to this Earth, though miraculous, is not what anyone had in mind; even Mary thought that Joseph was going to leave her. It defied all convention, was completely and utterly unorthodox, and threw everyone for a curve. As do a lot of us Christians, particularly when we fall victim to sin. But we are still alive, and the struggle continues, as long as we see ourselves in that positive light; the minute we do not is when our true problems begin …