Friday, January 18, 2013
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Feeling a little fatigued, Friend?
The man on the radio sounds genuinely distressed. It seems that a star athlete, in this case a bike rider, has been cheating. Apparently this is a surprise. Baseball has no one in the Hall of Fame this year because they all cheated. The economy is in the tank because our banking giants cheated, and the political hacks who were supposed to watch them were on the payroll. Goofballs are shooting up innocents at an alarming rate, while the regulators seek power in the name of safety and the gun-makers seek profit in the name of liberty and the spineless psychiatric establishment natters on about nothing. We spend hours and millions debating how to deal with the symptoms of the real problem: our nation has a character deficit. Men without Christ are inherently selfish and self-centered. Christians without commitment are carnal at best and nominal at worst. They look just like the world. We ignore this reality at our own peril. The character of a culture cannot exceed the character of the individuals that comprise it.
It isn’t too surprising that we are characterologically challenged. We have systematically removed from our lives the things that build character: personal responsibility, moral absolutes, and a healthy fear of God. For me, the question is not “What is the problem?” The question is, “What is my responsibility before God?” For the Church, the challenge is reaching the world without becoming the world. And it is a challenge. In order to get a hearing in the culture at large, one must do or say something that the culture will attend to. This usually leads to trying to imitate the lost in order to win them. That is a strategy doomed to self-destruct. For the individual, the question is much less panoramic. As an individual Christian, my responsibility is not to change the world, but to go into the world to get a hearing with each creature I meet. That is usually incredibly simple. All it requires is the willingness to listen, to be kind, and to share truth when the door opens. Law doesn’t change evil. Grace changes evil. Grace impacts character one person at a time, and I can do that.
Somebody Said: When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. Billy Graham
Scripture Reading: And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 MSG)
One fellow said that those who are earnestly trying to live right in our culture are in danger of suffering “righteousness fatigue.” He meant they were tired from carrying the weight of all the ne’er-do-wells around them. If you are feeling weary, suffering a little righteousness fatigue, remember it’s not your job to change the nation. Just love the one you’re with. Jesus will change the nation.