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Let's Bring Back Jesus

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

- Romans 12:21

The plan was to stop checking social media throughout the day and to minimize reading the news online. But then… a friend forwarded an article about the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in which a photo of a white family was marked as an example of people who don’t represent London. Beside it was a photograph of multi-racial, young adults whom Mayor Khan wants to portray as actually representing London. I ask you, how is that not interesting? It’s hard to imagine a whiter original population than the Britons and their nearby Nordic neighbors. Rome had to invade to bring a little color to the region, and that wasn’t much, since it was just Mediterranean golden-brown. To be fair, the mayor and his team said the labeling was an error. And then, there’s the whole debacle around booking the former President into Fulton County Jail. Another article caught my eye – about growing warnings of a new election-cycle virus strain. And just like that, in about two seconds, my focus turned from Christ to the crazy world in which we live.

News makes everything urgent, but most of us cannot remember the very urgent news from last month, much less a year ago. Topics and events come up, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Then a new issue arises, and the last one is forgotten. More importantly, the constant barrage of information, of accusations, developments, opinions, and entertainment can be addictive. No doubt, news and social media were negatively impacting my communion with Christ. Besides taking up time, references to Christianity and Christians are almost universally derogatory. No matter what issues society faces, no one ever mentions the work of God or suggests repentance. I suspect that, because the world treats Jesus as if He is irrelevant or nonexistent, it is easy for us to view events and actions without reference to Christ, as well. And yet, He is the Word that called creation into being, the Word that spoke each name to give us life.

My plan was – is – to focus less on matters over which I have no control and to seek a deeper relationship with Christ, starting with a short book on the discipline of fasting. Fasting is not a widespread religious habit these days, although it is widespread weight-loss phenomenon. Without doubt, I have good reason to practice the latter form of fasting, but my interest is in the former. I strongly suspect that a great many of the challenges people face, myself included, derive from the absence of the Spirit within more than a definable bad habit. What is gluttony besides the desire to be filled to the full, maximally? Similar other expressions of hungry or barren hearts and souls are also manifested in such things as alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, spending too much money, repeated searches for a new spouse, and so on. I am not suggesting the Jesus fixes all our problems with the magic wave of a hand after we skip our favorite fast-food drive-thru. Rather, I know that, when focused on Jesus, our own problems – the hungers and emptiness within – recede into the background because He is more than enough. How fasting facilitates a deeper fellowship with Christ is not clear to me – ergo, the book.

If we want to hold onto our faith in the coming months and years (and there is much to encourage us if we hold on), we are going to need fortitude and courage such as come from dwelling in the heart of Christ. We are living in an odd time, but not, I think, an inexplicable time. There is a strong push to reshape and redirect western civilization. Whether it’s the underlying Marxism driving racial division or the nihilism of gender confusion, purveyors of today’s ideologies actively seek to overwhelm the constitutional republic in which we live.

The reason Marxism and nihilism are gaining ground in western civilization is not because either system of thought has anything to commend it. To the contrary, the history of Marxist communism is horrifying, and nihilism is exactly what it suggests – nothingness, a life of utter pointlessness without purpose or meaning. The attraction of these ideologies is that they are not Christian. They pretend to human supremacy and rule, even if our rule means nothing. The inescapable fact is that western civilization is fundamentally Christian in its core foundations. That’s what makes this time odd. It’s as if our nation is sitting on sturdy limb, but our leaders and institutions are sawing through the branch at the trunk of the tree.

Even more strangely (and this is cause for celebration), as we witness the purposeful destruction of our nation for the formation of an undefined, utopian vision of some sort, unprecedented discoveries in fields of science increasingly reveal the vastly complex mind of our Creator. Whether cosmology or molecular biology, the evidence for design mounts even as anticipated evidence for evolution evaporates like a mist. The discipline of science and the scientific revolution arose from within Christendom from the belief that creation by a rational God would be discoverable and understandable. In contrast, evolution was a theory to bolster naturalism, an idea dependent upon the belief that there is nothing beyond measurable nature, no God, no divine realm. Succinctly put, Christian faith produced enormous gains in understanding the material world, and based on the knowledge gained from science, naturalism produced faith in human advancement for which virtually no evidence has been found.

The Scriptures make clear that the human desire to attain all knowledge without God – human pride – leads to dark and demonic dead-ends. As we saw in the last century, civilizations and nations that “advance” without God have no place to go except to brutal authoritarianism, whether Marxism or Naziism (the latter paradoxically re-forming itself in the anti-white racism that is prominent in public discourse and institutions). The milieu of our time demonstrates daily the truth of Scripture’s warnings about idolatry and self-worship. So, it is that, as humanity’s need to be saved from itself becomes unavoidably obvious and human knowledge proves undeniably corrupted and false, the antagonism toward Christians and hatred of Christianity intensify, as conspicuous as they are unchecked.

This is the odd environment of our time, as well as how we can understand it, even if we lack the power to alter our trajectory. But there are signs around the world that the Spirit is moving and active. God is calling people to Himself. The spiritual battle is being waged right in front of us, if we have eyes to see. Last week, I quoted the Apostle Paul writing Ephesus, we “do not war against flesh and blood.” People are not our enemies. We do not represent Christ when we hurl invectives and condescendingly denounce and dismiss others. The only people at whom Jesus exhibited anger were the religious people, and that should serve as a warning to us.

That brings me full circle, I believe. If we want to combat evil, then we must start with the sin in ourselves. It is far easier to keep up with world events than it is to struggle against our own sin. Yet, sin is what stands between Christ and us – between Christ and me. He is always ready to welcome us into His presence, but He cannot do so if we do not seek Him. The reason I picked fasting as the discipline I need to learn and to practice regularly is because Jesus expects us to fast, and I do not do so with any consistency at all. In the introduction to the book When You Fast, the author (Joseph Letendre) writes that “[fasting] is one way to express that we take God, and the things concerned with God, seriously.” Embarrassingly, I fear I take the things of the world – news, politics, and such – more seriously than I take God, which is what precipitated the plan to give up (or greatly reduce time spent on) news, social media, and such.

The Apostle Paul did not write to the Roman Christians that they should have no interest in what happened around them. He instructed the Romans to “overcome evil with good.” Our interpretation of that is often ‘overcome evil by not being controversial or challenging lies.’ That’s not what good is. If you back up and read from verse 9, Paul tells us what a true Christian is and what a true Christian does. The bar is higher than most of strive to reach.

Wouldn’t it be awful if God did not take our prayers seriously? How presumptuous of us – of me – to assume that God is ready and willing to listen and answer, when we do not exhibit the same willingness toward Him? So, in a spirit of repentance and hope, trusting in God’s mercy, I am beginning this journey, a journey that I pray Christ will lead into deeper fellowship Him. The most pro-active thing Christians can do for the world is to be truly the Body of Christ, not however we wish, but from within His heart in obedience to His will.

How are you living an authentically Christian life? How is your life in Christ deepening, and are you drawing from the hidden wells of living water? When you look at the world we live in and hear the news or read the headlines, are you inclined to be angry, as I often have been, or do you plan to combat what is evil with the goodness you receive from our Lord?

Nothing in this world is worth losing communion and fellowship with Christ. It can sneak up on us as life gets busy, or we can be distracted by events around us or by fears for the future. But if your soul is tired and empty and you want to take this journey, too, let me know. We’ll see what we can do.

In Christ –

Rev. Elizabeth Moreau

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