I know we don't live in America, but it hasn't kept me from being all ripped up over all the political heat the last several months.
This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to go to Adam and Lisa's new church in Philadelphia, and hoped simply to worship in my own language and to hear the Gospel.
I was incredibly blessed to be greatly welcomed and to be overwhelmed by the Gospel in Word and action on every side with this diverse little community.
An associate pastor shared a heartfelt, passage-by-passage sermon from the road with Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, sharing alongside his own recent story of accidentally sharing the Gospel at a Starbucks, imploring each of us to consider His plan for our role in the salvation of others. It was great.
But the best part was the prayer time.
Because the reality is, it has been really, really hard for me to figure out which "side" I am on lately.
I agree with this and this and this. But I also agree with that and that and that. And I can understand this argument, but I can understand that argument, but I feel that this is truly wrong, but I'm also pretty sure that THAT is wrong. And over and over again I've felt so pulled to CHOOSE a side and emphatically support it 100% no matter what, all the while seeing a lot of broken everywhere, and not feeling very GOOD by ANY of man's sides.
And the senior pastor's simple prayer brought me back to such a fundamental truth.
May we not BE on a side, he passionately and quietly prayed. As Christ-followers of an almighty God, may we never BE on the world's side, whether it be left or right. May we be representatives of GOD, of HIS opinions, of HIS sways, of HIS heart. May we support HIS truths and not our own, not the truths of man.
May we not BE on a side, he prayed, but may we search out your Word and know your truths and stand for them, even when it seems to contradict man's understanding or stands...even when the truths of your word often contradict the truths of this world.
We know, he prayed, that you say 'Do not murder,' and so we stand against the murdering of infants. (Exodus 20:13)
We know, he continued, that you say to respect those in authority, and so help us to do exactly that. (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2)
We know that to hate someone you compare to murder, and we cannot love God and hate our enemies. (1 John 3:15, 1 John 4:20)
You say to care for the orphan and the widow, to love others as we love ourselves (Deuteronomy 10, James 1:27)
You say to give and help and turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:40, Luke 6:30)
He prayed that we would watch our tongues, guard our words, guard our hearts. He prayed that we would be faithful to God's Word, and do it and be it, not political people, not of one side or the other, not supporters of one man or the other, but of His truth.
He prayed to a Holy God, that we might be Holy and altogether different, set apart, full of love for ALL made in the image of God (which is ALL), laying down our hearts and lives and plans and opinions and thoughts and beliefs and convictions at His feet and picking up our crosses to follow Him.
And he prayed that we might do so with great peace and joy and gratitude in our hearts, because they are full of Christ and fully trusting.
As I sat there, for the first time in a very long time UNconflicted, my mind started pouring through NOT all the FB articles I have read, NOT all the news stories I have watched, NOT all the opinions I have heard, but instead through all of His Words I have meditated on that speak into EVERY ISSUE THE WORLD IS FACING TODAY, and I was undivided.
We know His truth. If we don't, we have it in His Word. THEREIN lies our convictions, friends. Therein lies our standard. Therein lies how we should speak, how we should act, how we should live. Somehow I got so caught up in whom I should agree with on every single principle that I forgot I'm not FOLLOWING the Republican or Democratic party, I'm not following friends on Facebook or protests on TV, I'm not following the world today.
We have His truth, and it is His truth we must act upon, with great and crazy and humble love and with courage.
Like Jesus himself.
Seriously, Jesus? Like THAT is our standard of behavior and speech and conviction and attitude?
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us all.
tomorrow...the "What Every Missionary Wishes You Knew" article that makes me need to apologize...