My daughter loves playing school. What an imagination! I was the same way when I was a little girl. Elementary school was a lot of fun, and so was high school aside from the pesky homework that got in the way of my social life. There were so many aspects of school that I enjoyed--the kind and caring teachers, the great friends, learning new concepts. As I grew older, the learning became harder, much harder. The days of simply playing school were long past once I reached college and the preparation for real life took over. If I wanted to become a speech pathologist and help people, I would need to pay attention and work very hard.
This is how I'm beginning to view my Christian walk. Not that I was "playing church" before this time, but in a very real sense it seems like the day has come that I need to pay attention and work very hard because our world is changing...and quickly.
As we face a difficult election, the apparent comforts of being a Christian in a Christian nation are slipping away. The things our country once valued are being despised among some and fear has gripped many of my Christian sisters as the unknown looms large.
Were we "playing church" before all of this turmoil, though? Had we read Matthew 10 and assumed the persecutions for Christ-followers were for those in China or North Korea or Nigeria only? I know I have felt a very false sense of security being a Christian in America. I've not had to pay attention or work hard. In fact, I wasn't paying attention so much so that it was as if I were sleeping. Couldn't we describe American Christians as sleeping on the job? And, like one who is rudely awakened from a nightmare, we are filled with fear, not knowing what's real or false. Fight or flight has kicked in and many of us want to choose flight mode.
What is our Father's will? If you profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, His will includes:
- Giving us eternal life. "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." (John 10: 28)
- Supplying our every need. "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
- Not succumbing to temptation. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10: 13-14)
- Providing us with sufficient grace for all that we need. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)
- Victory over death. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15: 57-58)
- Saving us from those who hate us. "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)
While this upcoming election in America may seem like a nightmare, do not awaken full of fear. This kind of fear is the wrong kind of fear. It is fearing those who can kill the body; we must fear the Lord alone and respond in obedience. Remember that the Holy Spirit will give us words to say and there is nothing that is covered and hidden that will not be revealed by the Lord. Even though many mock Him, do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
We are reminded in Romans 8 that nothing, including tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword can separate us from the love of Christ! Perfect love drives out fear. May we be more focused upon God's perfect love for us than the fear that spins around us and within us.
Remember, God takes care of the sparrows and He will take care of us. Along with the apostle Paul as he was facing chains and tribulations in every city he was about to enter, may we say:
The commentator Matthew Henry wisely says, "Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life." I understand this in my mind, but living it out doesn't always look pretty or come easily. Yet this I know: it's time to stop playing around and living in fear. We must wake up and pay attention, fight hard and fear God alone.