Monday, April 17, 2023

time to wake up

 "Too many of us in the Church are like Samson, asleep in the lap of Delilah." ~Adrian Rogers

I'm sure you've heard about Samson and Delilah, though it may have been a while. It's typically a Bible story we learn as kids, though it's seldom something we hear about as adults. To refresh you memory, Samson was called by God to be a Nazirite. He was to be set apart for God's service, to take a vow that his life would be dedicated to that service, and (among other things) not to cut his hair as a visible sign of the vow he had taken. Then he met a girl... and after a bit of beating around the bush he told her that his hair was the source of his strength, and she shaved it all off.

As followers of Christ, we are called to be set apart for God's service. We're not supposed to be like the rest of the world: we should look different, act different, be different. When we gave our lives to Christ, we made a vow to serve Him with our whole life and our whole being. Unlike the Nazirite, we don't have to have a visual sign of the vow we've taken. Instead, people should see the evidence in our lives. We are called to be salt and light--salt to preserve the world from the evil that is trying to corrupt it and light to help those stuck in darkness to see the life God has called them to.

Instead, though, so many of us have been lured away from our vow by the things this world has to offer. We've stopped being set apart. We've lost our saltiness and we've decided it's best to hide our light so that we don't offend the people who want to stay in darkness.

Instead of protecting the innocent, we are "affirming" people's broken pieces that are being put on display for the world. We are letting young girls and boys who are insecure about the normal parts of preteen and teenage life--awkwardness, acne, bodies that seem all out of proportion, changing interests, not quite "fitting"--be sucked in to an ideology that tells them how God made them was a mistake, and yet at the same time tells them they should become who they were "born to be" because God doesn't make mistakes... as if somehow it makes sense to hold two opposite beliefs at the same time.

We are walking out into a broken world with answers to all the pain and fear and confusion, but we're keeping quiet because we don't want to be disliked or canceled. We are watching people spiral into despair and depression, but because we're afraid of hurting their feelings we're just sitting back and watching. Even beyond that, we're watching--cheering people on--as they take drastic, irreversible steps that will ruin their lives, because we've let the world tell us that the truth is hateful.

We've let the world take God's truth and twist it until it has become meaningless. We know "God is love," so when the world takes that and disfigures it, twists the idea on itself to the point that they reverse the meaning and put some perverted idea of love on a pedestal above God... we just quietly go along with it.

God is love--but what the world is calling "love" is anything but. What the world is calling love is a messy combination of feelings and whims that get rolled up with the idea that it is "loving" to go along with anything that makes someone feel good. That isn't love. It isn't love to watch someone do something that will hurt them and say nothing. It isn't love to tell somebody what they want to hear just so they won't be unhappy with you. It isn't love to watch people ruin their lives... or to play along with delusions and confusion.

God is love, which means that true love has to fall in line with the character of God. If we are followers of Christ, we have to stand up for God's definition of love. Jesus told us, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." We have to choose who we will serve and who we will put in control of our life--God, or the world. When we silence ourselves and refuse to speak out for the truth, we are making a choice even if we don't want to admit it.

As followers of Christ, we have to wake up. We have to stop playing by the world's rules, stop trying to fit in with a world that hates us, hates our God, and hates everything we stand for. We have to reach out to lost and broken people. We have to show them the promise of restoration and hope that is found only in Christ and in the salvation that He offers to all of us. We have to stop hiding God's truth behind platitudes and apologies, because we are in a world that is drawing closer and closer to getting what they want--a society without God. When God finally stops waiting for us to turn back to Him, we'll see just exactly what it looks like when His wrath replaces His patience.

And if we truly love people, we will point them to His protection and redemption. We will stop worrying about what the world thinks of us and we'll reach out in love to desperate people. We'll bring them with us to the cross, where together we will fall on our knees before the only One who can carry our burdens. We will walk with them to the One who sees all our broken pieces--the ugly parts we try to hide, as well as the parts we put on display when we pretend like we are proud of our failings--and loves us in spite of ourselves. We will tell them about the One who can take all the messy and put it all back together into something beautiful, something for His purpose.

Parents, step up

  Like every generation before us, we bemoan the current state of the younger generation. And like every generation before us, it's our ...

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