What is at your feet now is to decide for yourself how deep your conviction runs.
- Jim Shempert
“There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example, they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Martin Luther King, Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my favorite men in history. I hope to have a chat with him one day “across the river.” Dr. King embodied the type of leadership that we desperately need today. He led from a position of strength in who he was in Christ. He was a Baptist minister, a man of peace, and an ambassador for truth. We need another Dr. King today.
This week, the vultures of the media have been flying around Kim Davis of Kentucky. Kim, who has only been a Christian for a few years, felt that issuing a marriage certificate to a homosexual couple violated her faith. Many opinions have flown around about what she should have done, what the couple should have done, and where we go as a nation. I have my opinions on Kim Davis, and would reveal them to you should you want to have a cup of coffee sometime.
The thing that bothers me most about the Kim Davis situation is her imprisonment. Kim took a stand for her faith. Some would say an ill-advised stand, but anytime anyone takes a stand, someone will call it ill-advised. Instead of the judge having the common sense to allow one of her subordinates to issue the marriage licenses, he forced her to do it or go to jail. She chose jail. For her faith, she chose chains.
The apostle Paul spoke of this:
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice (Philippians 1:12-18).”
Christian persecution seems to have become the sport of the day. Some think that is what you get for being fanatical. The sad part of that is when “comfortable Christians” believe that is the case. The ones who haven’t opened a Bible in years, who care little for what it says, or what actually being Christian entails. They have created for themselves an idol in their mind of what Christianity is, and they believe more in the idea of Jesus than the actual Savior Himself.
I do not believe there is anything casual about being a follower of Christ. You are quite literally separate from the world if you believe what the Bible says. James 4:4 goes a little further in spiking the ball: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
This blog is most assuredly for the Church. Whatever your feelings on the Kim Davis situation, I tell you that this debate is larger than her. This is about the freedom to believe and live out the religion of your choice. The target is Christianity, because leftists hate Christianity more than they hate terrorism, poverty, or any other social situation that we find ourselves debating today.
What is at your feet now is to decide for yourself how deep your conviction runs. I’m not talking about Kim Davis. I’m asking if given the choice of renouncing your faith or going to jail, which one would you go with? Are you a casual Christian? Do you post verses on your Facebook page, but not tap into the Vine? Do you think that being a Christian is going to get easier, or harder in the days to come? Kim Davis was the first, but she most assuredly won’t be the last.
My answer is the same as Paul’s: “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8)”
This world and its opinions are temporary. Eternity is forever. Now, take me to jail.