Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The American Christian

There is this myth that pervades the very soul of this place, this country, this wondrous collection of states. This myth is something that looks like the real deal depending on who you ask. Basically it suggests that we are not just a Christian nation but we are in fact only a Christian nation. No other religions are aloud to exist here based on this myth, there is simply not room among the 80% (or more depending on who you ask) of the population who claim Christianity as their religion of choice.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to experience a little bit of what perpetuates this myth. While studying James 1:9-18 in which we specifically studied temptation, we looked at the progression of temptation, to lust, to sin and finally to death. We discussed how a strong faith, even under pressure, can persevere under trials and temptations, to see through to what God is giving us; eternal life.

In the midst of that discussion someone tripped in with a remark of how they wished we could talk about Democrats and health care and the redistribution of wealth and so on. Fortunately it didn’t last long but in that few seconds we were exposed to the very thing we were studying. The very people who were about to walk into a sanctuary to give God praise were giving into temptation to willingly talk about something that carries much emotion and debate, along with considerable angst for people they might not agree with.

As James says, our lust is seducing and it flares up in us, causing us to sin. We are called to so much more and yet we allow ourselves to be marginalized by our blatant actions and words. Some might call them hateful but I do not agree that all who share certain thoughts are hateful, but misdirected. This myth is exposed moment by moment when in fact we are nothing but heretics who act religiously. We seem more concerned by our outward appearance than showing others what is inside. The light we are supposed to shine is dimmed by flare ups of lust. Others only see our attitude and hear our speech. Instead of reaching out to others with love we shut people out with distaste.

This is the myth exposed; that we are not a Christian nation if in fact we are not truly Christians. Under the microscope we see a rotting population of people who are actually patriots first and Christ’s soldiers second (at best). This country, that will inevitably fall away, has become more important than the eternal country we seek to inherit.

It isn’t a bad thing to be an American but it is infinitely more important to maintain the priority of an eternal perspective before we get caught up in the limited perspective of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

James goes on to give us some powerful instructions in the following two verses. We need to look closely at this and remember that God does not desire for us to be in conflict with our neighbor but to love them. James 1:19-20 (NASB):

19This you know, my beloved brethren but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

These things in this life that seek to trip us up are those things that the enemy uses to pull us further and further from God. If we truly aspire to be a Christian nation then we must first withdraw ourselves from these places of temptation and turn to God for wisdom. James points out the way in chapter one…1:5 (NASB):

5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

You see, for us to find our faith we must first turn to God and turn away from the temptations of this world. Americans have a hard time with that. Our faith is not tested like that. We do not know persecution like that, tribulations like that. God is watching America and trust me that there are few in this country who truly are turning to Him for wisdom. I know this because the 80% I mentioned earlier are still more concerned with the USA than heaven.

I count myself among those still trying to figure out how to properly ask our creator for the wisdom to see past these borders. America is a great country but we have a unique opportunity to shine a light for God instead of being so consumed with shining a torch for the good old U S of A. Take an opportunity right now to ask God to wipe out all the mess in your life and in your head. Take grasp of this incredible new life that He has offered you. Run with it and show it off, then make sure and stay on the path. We have a lot of work to do to reprove this myth.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


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