This writing prompt from Tuesday at Ten took a lot of deliberation for me. First, I thought I’d write about changing my problems with chronic illness, but then the Lord reminded me that He’s been telling me to let go of my “if onlys.” What I’ve walked through, and am continuing to experience, hasn’t been easy, but it is a major part of my testimony of God’s faithfulness. So I kept praying.
Finally, I came up with an area I actually have some power to change – the spiritual and moral condition that currently exists in our nation, where our rights as Christians are being threatened. So what can I do to change this situation? What can all of us, as believers in Christ, do to bring our nation back to the Judeo-Christian mindset and culture we used to have?
The first step God has called me to make, like the Christian forefathers of our nation, is to be willing to “pledge our life, fortune, and sacred honor” to stand for righteousness in this nation. Our pastor preached on this July 5th, and my husband and I reaffirmed that our primary allegiance is to God. If our government asks us to do something that goes against God’s Word, we made the commitment to remain faithful to God. Since we don’t know what stands ahead for our nation, we don’t really know what this commitment will require.
My husband and I live in Houston, Texas, where our lesbian mayor and our city council passed a law in June 2014 prohibiting any discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. This case make the national news when Mayor Parker filed a law suite againt several pastors who opposed this law, subpoening their sermons. After national outcry, the subpoenas for the sermons were withdrawn. But the law remains on the books. The recent Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling does in our nation what Mayor Parker did in our city, and goes a step further and overrules state laws prohibiting homosexual marriage, making it legal in all 50 states. So we are living in a time when Christian business owners, including my husband who is a Christian filmmaker and video producer, could be forced to take jobs that go against their Christian beliefs or face huge fines or even prison. This had already happened to several Christian business men and women across our nation prior to this SCOTUS ruling, and with this recent ruling the likelihood of an increase in such cases is high.
In Matthew 5, Jesus clearly called the church to be salt and light to the world around us. Unfortunately, the church as a whole has failed to obey this call. Jesus’ statement in John 17:14 concerning the church, “they are not of the world any more than I am of the world,” is no longer true of a large portion of His church. According to Barna Research, the percentage of people who identify themselves as born-again Christians (but not as evangelical) who divorce is 33%, and the percentage for all Americans is 34%. The percentage of Americans who live together before marriage is 33%, with Protestants 30% and Catholics 36%. In both of these areas, there is virtually no difference between the church (at least the non-evangelical church) and the world around us. In our nation, 77% of individuals identify themselves as Christians, but only 33% believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God. Barna concludes by saying Christians in the U.S. are “less biblically literate, more fearful about sharing their faith and less influential in society than ever before.” What can we as individuals do to change this?
2 Chronicles 7:14 makes it clear that change in God’s people is the key to healing of the nation. While this was written to the Jewish nation, it also applies to us as God’s church. Culture does not change by winning elections, though being a responsible Christian citizen includes voting according to our beliefs. Culture does not change by evangelism and church attendance, though both of these are important. Two things change culture: prayer and being faithful representatives of Christ where He has placed us. According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, change begins with humbling ourselves, praying and seeking God’s face, and turning from our wicked ways. When we are obviously different than the society in which we live, people will notice. It may mean persecution, so we need to be prepared. But this is the key to changing our nation. It will start with prayer and repentance within the church, one Christian at a time. Will you join me in a commitment to pray for the church in America and to be a living witness of Jesus Christ to our nation, regardless of the cost?