A war has been launched against our culture's morality by those who, though they don't know it, are serving Satan. Some actually call themselves "Christian", and I believe they honestly think they're Christians. In their minds, they're seeking a culture or society free of moral restraint, including especially the moral restraint that we commonly call Judeo-Christian values or morality. But what they really seek is freedom from responsibility toward others. Putting themselves on the throne that only the living God, YHWH*, should occupy in everyone's life, they seek to live their lives unto themselves as if their values are the only ones that really matter, deciding what is "right" according to whether it serves their personal values and desires. As a result, we have seen an increasing moral apathy and decay, spreading like a malignant cancer throughout our culture. This in turn has led to disregard for laws that inconvenience them and, in the United States, for the Constitution that binds our country together. We are caught in a culture war.
While committed Christians are upset by it, most of those trying to do something about it are merely shadow-boxing. Too many focus on one or two symptoms as the problem while ignoring the source. Like the politicians who mirror the secular culture, too many of us put faith in political, legal and other superficial actions that do nothing to attack the underlying cause. In this essay, I offer an analysis that I hope will awaken Christians to begin fighting the way I believe Jesus wants us to fight.
We all recognize such outward signs of moral decay as flagrant dishonesty among leaders and its toleration by the culture, sexual promiscuity of all kinds (such as homosexuality, adultery, fornication, pornography, incest, and even flirtation) and cultural approval of it, gun sales and use exploding at almost the same rate as violence in games and movies and on television, disrespect toward others, verbal and physical abuse of others, neglect of children and the elderly, widespread drug, alcohol and other substance abuse (both legal and illegal) at all economic levels, and abortion. Beneath these lie symptoms that are often called causes. These include injustice, poverty, hypocrisy, selfishness, and self-indulgence. Yet, as bad as these are, they are not the root.
Beneath all these symptoms lies people's rejection of YHWH, the true, living God, creator of the universe, so that they can rule their own lives, pursue other gods-- such as power, pleasure, fame and fortune-- or allow someone or something else to control their decisions and choices. Unless YHWH is on the throne of every person's life, all our efforts to fight the culture war and fix the culture around us will fail. Without him, we can do nothing. Moral bankruptcy and all its symptoms are really just the fruit of spiritual bankruptcy. But even that is not the root. The real root lies deeper:
Humans are broken and incomplete, wounded and lost, afraid and insecure, struggling to find their way out of bondage, suffering feelings of rejection, hopelessness and despair, being and feeling unwanted and disposable, being and feeling unloved, and living daily in aloneness and brokenness.
The good news is that all can be saved, that is healed, made whole and complete, set free, given security, in Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. If people really want them, he freely gives them his healing, his guidance, his direction and his instruction through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who helps them receive the many blessings Jesus has prepared for all men. Jesus has given us light in the midst of worldly darkness, hope in the midst of despair, life in the midst of death, joy in the midst of sadness, love in the midst of enmity. And we who have seen this light must not join those who waste time and effort in superficial skirmishes. People need wholeness and Jesus' life, not lectures and demonstrations. We must recognize the spiritual battle and engage in it as YHWH directs. This is not a battle for the weak, timid, worldly or selfish.
Missing the mark
Trying to cram school prayer down anyone's throat won't change anything and, in my view, dishonors Jesus Christ, interferes with the work of his kingdom, and ignores the very real possibility that such prayers will be fashioned by those who do not accept YHWH. Already, we see schools in which practices of Muslims, homosexuals and others are encouraged in the guise of teaching "tolerance", "multicultural studies", and "social justice", while at the same time, practice of Christianity is denied and even assaulted. Similarly, forcing creationism to be taught alongside evolution, trying to legislate "family values" or "Judeo-Christian values", and trying to impose gun controls may bandage wounds but won't bring anyone closer to YHWH, and anything less is doomed to ultimate failure. Such efforts, however well-intentioned, ignore the condition of individual spirits and souls, the nation's soul, and even the corporate soul of the Church, the body of Jesus Christ. For example, we can't prevent violent acts like those that have terrorized our schools by focusing on movies, TV, video games, music, guns, or parents. Even when we recognize the impact of feelings like despair, loneliness, hopelessness, rejection and injustice-- feelings that dominate the lives of those who commit such acts, we're closer to working on the real problem but still missing the mark. We are shadow-boxing until we work on what produces those feelings.
Back to basics
Dear brothers and sisters, we are at war, a culture war, a spiritual war. We did not choose it, but we must fight it. So, let us stop shadow-boxing! Let us fight each day's battle where it matters: in ourselves first, then among the lost and dying. There are billions of people suffering the soul-sickness that invades and pervades lives focused on this age, people who have not been reborn and then healed through the life-saving, healing grace of Jesus Christ and then grown up as faithful children of YHWH. There are people who have accepted Jesus as Lord but who do not know the joy of living in him by the power of the Holy Spirit. They need us, because YHWH has chosen to bring them to him through us. As we lift Jesus up, he draws all men to himself and thereby to YHWH.
Return to the King
Therefore, let us work on living the whole life of Jesus. Let us put YHWH back on the throne in every decision and choice we make: Let us seek and meditate on YHWH's direction, guidance and instruction in all things. Let YHWH fill every fiber of our being with his Holy Spirit: Like a fabric soaked in dye, let him immerse and baptize us so thoroughly into the Holy Spirit that people see and recognize Jesus in us. Once we receive birth from above by the power of the Holy Spirit, we become ambassadors for Jesus, agents whose lives, conduct and speech represent him. So, let us lift Jesus up in all we do and say, so that he draws all people to himself. Let's ask YHWH to help us love Jesus so much that we naturally do what he wants.
Let us be Spirit-led, not legalistic. Let us stop pretending we can be like Jesus while wasting time and energy building ever bigger structures and organizations that he never called us to build. Let us be who he calls us to be-- individually and jointly the temple in which he is high priest and we are living stones and a royal priesthood. Let Jesus shine out of us in the way we treat others, so that they will want to hear of him who enables us. Let us pray earnestly, fervently, for those we know and those we don't know whose lives are devastated by the deceptions and mistreatment of this age.
The whole message
Then let us stand in the temple, the body of Jesus Christ, and speak the whole message of this life, the abundant and eternal life that we did not earn but were given as a treasure in earthen vessels. Let his Spirit set our tongues on fire to tell others of the wonderful king who died for us and who gives us this new life. Let us declare Jesus, who not only redeems but heals, restores, comforts and protects. Let us tell what he has done and what he does today, so that hope for tomorrow rises in those who hear. And let us confirm the truth of what we say by our own deeds.
Trusting the promise
Once people see Jesus in action, they will come to him, just as he promised: "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me." (John 12:32, 3:14) Let us lift him up by living him daily, by ministering to him full time-- as servants to him first and then to others, through him and in his name. Then when people open their hearts and are ready to hear, let us baptize them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit by telling them all about YHWH and his wondrous deeds.
If you accept the need to fight this war, but you're not sure what to do, there's help in the scripture. Please read Spiritual Warfare Basics. If you're interested in living the whole message of this new life, answering YHWH's call to full-time ministry right where you are and seeing what kind of difference we can make by first loving YHWH and then loving others as we are commanded, I'd like to hear from you. Please email your comments and interest.
Some of the scriptures that I rely on and don't reference above include the following: John 14:15, 15:5, Acts 2:3-4, 5:20, Rom. 1:18-32, 2 Cor. 4:7, Eph. 2:19, 6:20, 1 Pet. 2:5-12, and James 5:16
[This publication was originally titled Fighting The Morality Battle, then Armageddon: Morality in Decay and more recently Christians Can Make a Difference]
*YHWH or YHVH is the English representation of the four Hebrew letters that spell the name of the God of the Bible, the one true, living God worshipped by Jews and Christians. YHWH was the name by which he identified himself to Moses in Ex. 3:14. According to references that I've read, the exact pronunciation of YHWH's name was lost in antiquity. After much study, I prefer to pronounce the name "Yahu-wah" (the "h" being aspirated as in "hay", emphasis on the last syllable), but the generally accepted pronounciation in common English is "Yah-weh" or "Yah-way". Some translations of the Bible, such as the KJV and NASB, substitute "the LORD" for his name, following a practice begun before Jesus' birth.
YHWH revealed himself in various ways to the children of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament. He also revealed himself in and through his son Jesus Christ and acts, among other ways, in and through Christians by the Holy Spirit. Because the word "God" is being used today to designate all kinds of human inventions, although accepted for centuries in English as a name for YHWH, I prefer to use the name that YHWH chose for himself rather than "God" or "the LORD" as I did in early versions of my writings. Please read The Name of the One True, Living God for a fuller discussion.
|Remember who He is and whose you are|