Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taking a Stand...

April 23, 2013

Hello dear ones,

I believe that there comes a season in the life of every Christian when they can no longer sit on the sidelines loving Jesus and being, dare I say, complacent. There comes a time when, as a believer in Christ, one must take a stand on issues that are uncomfortable, controversial, and may often times bring about some form of persecution.  While, like many of you, I have had strong convictions on various issues for many years now, I have recently found myself challenged on many fronts. The media challenges my beliefs and convictions daily; for this reason, I restrict my viewing time of the major news networks. But, on a personal front, that is not always possible. I don't have the luxury of just turning it off. Even in the "Christian realm"  I find differing beliefs and/or those unwilling to stand up for things that would bring honor to God and against things that would dishonor Him, and violate our own consciences. I don't think this is a matter of politics, either. It's a matter of Biblical ethics and morality.

For instance, I recently took a verbal stand on abortion (not the first time, of course). I thought it obvious that anyone who knew me would know that I am pro-life. Apparently, not. Because of my stand, hurtful and inaccurate assumptions were made about my character, such as, I lead an entitled life, I haven't suffered, I cannot relate to someone who has either had an abortion or is considering one, I am heartless to consider abortion murder, and so on. It struck me that tolerance is preached like a religion until someone speaks against a particular belief... then who is being intolerant? 

I think we, as Christians, have a responsibility to take a stand (in love) on certain issues. What if the founding fathers would have been complacent and not risked their lives for the freedom we enjoy today? What if David had said, "I'm just a kid, let someone else take a stand against the giant"? And if Nehemiah said, "I don't want to get involved in that building project"? Or Jesus...what if He said, "Die?? I don't think so!" 

I  finished reading through the old testament book of Nehemiah a month or so ago, then our church began a series in the same book. From this book, I was encouraged that it is OK and right to take a stand for convictions and beliefs; to fight for freedoms and for rights. In chapter 4, verse 14b, Nehemiah says to the people, "... Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." We are in God's army. We have a job to do. He will direct our paths, we just have to be willing. 

On Sunday, our pastor made reference to wearing a "tool belt/holster" combo, which was hysterical at the time, but a great word picture, simultaneously.  While we are busy about the Lord's work, using the tools with which He has equipped us - repairing a broken culture, helping those in need, etc. We must also be ready to stand and fight when necessary - to defend the family, the sanctity of marriage and of life, etc. Our pastor went on to say that we should be like an Oklahoma University t-shirt said some years ago, "25 guys pulling on the same rope." Meaning, we need to be a church of people all working together (or standing together) toward the same goal (using different tools). 

Attending our state homeschool conference last week, opened up another avenue of thought on taking a stand. Should we, as Christians, support or patronize businesses that fund and/or support causes that dishonor God and violate our conscience? Take that a step further, what about businesses that are blatantly hostile to our faith and beliefs? The speaker stated that they, as a company, graciously decline business with such entities, but they do commit to pray for them.

I believe we need to approach the work the Lord has prepared for us, with courage. As we take a stand, we can know, without hesitation, that we are standing on the promises of our God. His grace is sufficient! He will give us everything we need for the battle! He will never leave us or forsake us! From the book of Joshua, we can draw courage. Chapter 1, verse 9b says, "...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." 

Take a stand Christian, you are not alone!

God's richest blessings,

Be well. Live well.