There is something outside of you calling out to something inside of you to arise to the challenges of the day! When I look around and see the condition of our nation, our polarized politics, fragile economics and a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to our Christian faith, I feel something pulling me, something strong. It is demanding a response, demanding that I come out from the shadows and be counted. Something needs to be said; something needs to be done, something new, different, something powerful!
We are being propelled into a whole new world. Something in my heart tells me that the coming days will demand our attention. There will be decisions to be made and sacrifices will follow. This is not the first such moment in history where circumstances have pushed humanity to the edge of action. It has happened before.
The year was 1915 and the World was at war. It was the first of its kind. For the first time, technology had developed in travel and communications to the point that the entire world could be involved in a conflict. Yet, with all the technological advances, the fighting was barbaric as it is in every war. Trenches were being dug in Europe and often became graves for those who fought from them. Artillery shells were punishing, pulverizing and depleting the morale of the armies on each side and a new phenomena was introduced, weapons of mass destruction (poison gas). It was the war to end all wars, so the world thought. But, little did the unsuspecting world know that a force much more sinister was fomenting in Germany. And in a little over two decades, the “Third Reich” would emerge with an intention to reestablish the old German Empire, avenge the injustices they perceived as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, and with it a plan for world domination.
Years before the “Third Reich” became a horrible reality, the coming crisis was speaking to something great inside an emerging generation of leaders. A case in point was the 1915 Class of West Point. The class included 164 graduates. West Point was one of the leading military schools in the nation, perhaps the World. History would declare it “the class upon whom the stars have fallen”. The reason for this label is because this class produced 59 Generals, and because of the fact that nothing like that had ever happened before or since. It is an anomaly in history. Two reached the rank of five-star General of the Army, second only to General of the Armies. There were also two four-star generals, seven three-star lieutenant generals, 24 two-star major generals and 24 one-star brigadier generals.Additionally, Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the five-star generals, went on to become the 34th President of the United States. Years before, they would be called upon to defend freedom.
There are times and seasons in life that test us all in some way or another. Then there are critical moments in history when we as a people are faced with a collective challenge. They are “make or break moments” in history when a generation must arise to the challenges of their day. Little did the instructors at West Point realize that each day as they were preparing for their classes, they were building the leaders who would lead men and women to fight for freedom in the greatest conflict with evil that the World had ever known.
I believe that in the spiritual realm, the generation of today is facing such a moment in history. The global challenge to Christianity has left the religious arena of the philosophical discussions of academia and is becoming political, national and militant. Lines are being drawn in the “proverbial sand”. Biblical truths are being challenged by the winds and tides of “political correctness” bringing tsunamis of pressure to conform to the will of the secular majority. It is a time where our children are being punished for bringing a Bible to school or praying over their food – where prayer before a ballgame draws lawsuits, and the culture says we must surrender our convictions regarding Biblical marriage and the sanctity of life in order to be accepted. The “live” and “let live” attitudes of the past have been replaced with a militant challenge to all that Christianity stands for. Enough! A generation must arise.
But it is pointless for Christians of this generation to take a stand if they do not know what to stand for or what they believe in. I believe that as Christians we must be prepared for the days ahead. While we may be faced with challenges on every side, the old cliché is true, “The darker the night, the brighter the light.” Did you know that your eyes are so sensitive that they can see a single candlelight from ten miles away? The eyes of the world, including those who don’t know Christ, have been equipped by God to see the light, even from a great distance. In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus tells us as Christians, “You are the light of the World”. He goes on to say that we are not intended to be hidden or silent. But rather we are to shine forth and speak up! Here are some thoughts that might help in your being the fulfillment to that command:
1. We must rekindle a passion for Christ and His Kingdom. We must say “no” to the pressure to be silent or worse even to agree with a godless culture bent on banishing God from the public arena. The great commission is not the only purpose of the church in the World. It is also to be the conscience of a nation. The Church must take a position and make a stand.
2. We must know what we believe and why. We must train our people in the Word. Not just teach them the Scripture, but also teach them how to study the Scripture for themselves.
3. We must decide where we stand on the issues of the day. The lie that the only legitimate voice in the public arena is a secular one, and that there should be a separation between Church, the State and even the public arena must be denounced by the Body of Christ. We must not be disengaged or uninvolved in the political process, but rather we must preach the Word as purely as possible and live our convictions. And take those convictions into the voting booths without allegiance to any particular political party. Our allegiance must be to the Scripture and the cause of Christ in the World. Jesus in John 17 prayed for those who would come to faith through the disciple’s testimony. It’s time to testify again.
4. We must act as one, speak with one voice and act as one body. We must seek ways to break down walls of separation between denominations, races and look diligently for common ground within the Body of Christ. And on these areas of common ground we must stand united in faith, love for the lost, and care for the disenfranchised, the hurting and the poor.
5. We must equip leaders who understand the issues and can lead our people with wisdom, courage, grace and love.
The Church will arise! God has a plan! We are to be Jesus in this World, to speak for Him and to act on His behalf as His representatives. It is worthy to remember that the culture Jesus ministered within, the Greco-Roman World was as depraved as any in history. Rampant homosexuality, immorality and even slavery were replete in the day. It is interesting that Jesus was not an activist, but he was not silent either, regarding the truth. He spoke the truth without the fear of men. I’m not advocating we break out the protest signs or the petitions, I’m saying we should speak up in everyday life, at the grocery store, at the gas station, on the golf course. Get involved, run for something. Register and make your voice heard. And most of all, shine the Light of God’s love and truth. You don’t have to be known only for what you are against, but by all means, be known for what you are for! Arise and shine!!!