“You’re not a Christian if…..

Saturday night I got home and felt like crawling under my covers. Do you ever feel as though the whole world is against you yet there really isn’t a reason why? This might sound stupidly sensitive, but my whole facebook was filled arguments, pictures of proud protesters, articles that hurled thousands of degrading comments at complete strangers, and blogs with phrases such as “you’re not a Christian if…..” These articles left me crawling into my bed and holding the weight of my head in my hands.

“You’re not a Christian if……”

That is a statement that immediately makes my stomach flip. It fills me with anger. As a person who struggles greatly with desiring to live my life to the fullest to honor Christ, I plummeted into a vat of despair. This wasn’t the first time my facebook feed has brought me deep heartache. It’s been roughly three months since I have submitted to this dear blog. To say it simply, I haven’t had the heart to write. My brain has been filled with a million ideas, but the drive and persistence to achieve these thoughts on paper have proved to be taxing. Life has been hard I think for everyone. The only humor found in the last few days of social media was the “Quarantine Betty White” posts (I chuckled out loud at a few of these).

Everything in me wants to write a mind-blowing blog about how to step out and trust God in the days ahead; how to ignore the world and go forth strongly proclaiming strength in God as the way to get through every obstacle. But that is the last thing I have felt like doing. In fact, I’ve needed a few months to let some anger pass before I allowed myself to write.
After the election, I wanted to go crawl in a hole. Not because of who won or who lost, but because of the complete despair on every bit of social media that graced my eyes. The dramatic cries of commentators on every journalism outlet and facebook article proved to be a chaotic circus that spiraled out of control for days.

I felt hopeless. Not because of who was in power, but because we as believers had put hope in human beings to save our country. I saw several pictures of people who fell into complete mourning over the last couple months of 2016. Did we forget that God saw this coming? Did we shut out the still small voice because we felt like He no longer carried power? Where was our hope? How do Christians being shamed and persecuted confidently move forward and praise God knowing our world screams for their death?

I am exhausted. I have felt an enormous pressure to convince the world that I am not this or not that.  But there is something that I have come to grips with that has given me incredible peace.

I don’t need to defend myself. I refuse to like that millionth article or read the rebuttal that breaks my soul. I confess I was guilty and contributing logs to the fire.  If I truly believe that God is who He says He is, then I can deactivate my social media accounts and love humbly and fully those who are in my path today. Jesus didn’t have social media news links telling him about the problems in the world. He was fully aware of the trouble because it was right in front of Him. Jesus was the movement. Jesus is what is behind our good work. Jesus is why we see value in those who are different than us. Jesus is why we can get up every morning and know we have a purpose for the day. That was the example He set; to love and give without reservation. To trust openly without fear of a chaotic world. But Jesus also said this: “Go and sin no more”.

In life today we must applaud ourselves; we’ve managed to take the phrase “come as you are” and make it a full blown platform for love and acceptance for all. But Jesus didn’t say come as you to feel good about yourself. He didn’t say come as you are so you could marry whomever you wish or declare your views of the Bible and your political preferences. He came so that we could be made new in the eyes of the Creator. He came so that we would know what full and perfect restoration would feel like. He came, so that we could die to our sinful desires and selfishness (which would always be easier to indulge).

Many days I shake my fist at heaven and plead with God on why I don’t feel His presence or why I don’t see it in the world anymore. But I have to sit back and ask myself: “Do I want God, or do I want what I can get from Him?”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

I find it so easy to doubt God the moment He could possibly take away a great thing that I have put so much earthly trust in. Ask yourself this question: What in your life right now is holding you back from trusting God completely? For we are control freaks, are we not? We pray that we know God fully but really we clutch our material possessions, dazzling opportunities and addicting relationships to our chest and pray: “But only if you promise me the assurance of these Lord.”

But He doesn’t.

Oh, He promises wonderful wonderful things for us. To always be taken care of, to always have access to peace and wisdom, to be wrapped in His unfailing love. But He also warns of future temptation, division and cruelty that will fall upon His people. So I beg you, my dear readers and friends, stop dividing yourselves. Whether its political or personal, is it worth it to alienate your neighbor for any cause? Is it worth casting judgement and shunning those who do not share your view, no matter how righteous you perceive it to be? Is it worth it to condemn your Christian brothers and sisters for seeking the Lord and honoring Him in a different platform than yours?

We are always passing over those who need Jesus the most right in front of us. It’s incredibly easy to go love someone in the name of Jesus on an African plain with clean water in your hand then it is to love your wealthy and critical neighbor. The mission field isn’t always 4,000 miles away. Your mission field is your home and your family and those in your community. If those are divided, how do you expect to heal a world when your foundation is crumbling? How do we fulfill the will of Christ? Go where He calls you. Love and care for those right in front of you. Imagine what our world will look like if the healing started at home and spread from there instead of seeking to heal the world before we seek to heal ourselves. Broken cannot fix. A house divided will not stand. A pitcher cannot pour nourishment before being poured.

What is the solution?

Stop acting on impulse. Stop posting angry articles that fuel division. Quiet yourself before God and ask Him for direction. I am pretty sure since 80% of America is in appropriate turmoil, I thought I would join the Bible verse battle that seems to be drowning social media right now. It only takes a google search to find a verse from Leviticus to help our agenda (lol), but be careful for the context of the verses you find and post. This one is hard to stomach for some, but I thought it was necessary:

“ Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”

Romans 13:1-7

There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone or working through your frustrations even. But the moment I look at them as lesser than I, or allow my sin nature to overtake my mind, I have joined the wrong side. The moment I slander who they are is a sin against God. We can compare this to our nation right now. So many of us are filled with hatred over our current political leaders and they have reasons that are not outlandish by any means. But the moment we let hatred and defamation rule our hearts and minds we have stepped out of the will of God. God establishes kings and rulers. It’s not up to us to like them. It’s up to us to respect them and see them how Christ sees them. It’s up to us to pray for them. Christ commands us multiple times to honor God first and respect those He places in power. It’s not easy nor is it fun, but its what He commands.

I continually have to remind myself of this, I was not meant to save the world. Neither were you. We are not and never will be that powerful. Our life and mission is to be linked directly to Jesus. Every day we must die to self and answer the call He has placed individually on our life. If you try to save it by yourself, I can guarantee you will end up empty and fruitless. Today, I am going to do the unpopular thing and pray. I recently was grieved over someone on facebook telling another friend that prayer isn’t enough. Oh but did you know faith like a mustard seed can move a mountain? Go look up that verse and let me know what you think 😉 Do NOT underestimate the power of prayer. Because I know the God of heaven hears me and has not forgotten about His beloved ones. If He cares ever so much about the sparrows, what on earth makes you think He could forget about you?

Go where He has called you with an open heart and without shame. Go forth, regardless of what the world is screaming in your ear.

Follow and deny your former way of life. That is the will of Christ. And I hate to break it to you, it doesn’t come with an Instagram filter and a comfortable life. It’s going to come with sacrifice. It’s definitely not going to be you marching in the majority. Many times, you might feel quite alone. But I will leave you with this question: If no one ever knew about the good deeds of your life and Jesus was the only one who saw it, would you still be doing them? Who do you turn for approval? The world….or God?

Today, I am going to live in forgiveness and seek to honor those put in authority over me. I am choosing to forgive my enemies, for sin will no longer have a hold over me. I will actively seek to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly where I am planted.
I pray you will do the same.

All my love in the world,

Sarah

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