It has been nearly a week since our national election and there seems to be a concerted effort to continuously promote division amongst our populace. It's as if a powerful "force" is determined to create rivalry, bitterness, and hostility between us. We can point to outside agitators, but we know who that "force" really is, don't we? And I believe that the animosity we are seeing here in our nation, on earth, is mirroring the hostilities that are occurring in heaven between God and His host, and Satan and his followers.
So, how are we to react, and what are our responsibilities? I think I can sum it up by sharing an interesting experience I enjoyed this past weekend. I have told you that my husband is an artist and part of our business is to exhibit his art at various shows and events. He is primarily a Western artist, but every once in awhile, he is inspired to paint a different subject matter.
As to be expected, there is always a cross-section of people who enjoy the arts. They are not classified by political ideology, race or ethnicity, or whether they share religious beliefs or not. In fact, we try to receive all people on an identical footing, with the idea that we are disciples of Christ, wherever we find ourselves.
Another artist who attended our opening was a photographer who had the same experience. Likewise, she was advised not to enter a moving photograph in a contest because it featured an image of an open Bible through the window of an old church, with the panes casting a shadow of the cross across the wooden floor. That photograph was very emotional and she received several orders for it.
I relate all this to illustrate how easily the Enemy tries to convince us that our message of Christ is unwanted, unwelcome, and uninspiring. And I believe that is the message that is being encouraged in the wake of this contentious election. But, I believe just the opposite is true! Right now, our nation needs the hope that Jesus inspires in those of us who are His disciples. And it's taken me a bit to get to my point, but here it is .... Now is the time for us to live out what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. And exactly what does that mean and how do we do it?
First of all, a careful study in Strong's Concordance tells me that to be a disciple of Jesus is to follow His teachings. That means more than to be His student or pupil, but to be an upholder, a defender, and a true believer in Jesus. In other words, it is our faith accompanied by action; to be an imitator of Christ within our spheres of influence.
Very simply put, we need to show our nation -- and the world -- that we have faith in Jesus's message; that we live and love according to His holy principles; and above all, to show them what a life abiding in Christ looks like. We are not nasty, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist haters. In fact, we are honorable and moral people who will accept you even if you don't accept us. We won't hate you for your sins, because we know what it is to be a sinner. By exhibiting what it's like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we hope to show you Someone greater to believe in than yourself or the shiny temptations of the world.
Don't get me wrong, we would love nothing more than to create a curiosity in others about the peace we find in the midst of all this discord and disharmony. We want to share our testimony and tell you how we've been able to endure the difficulties and struggles in our lives; how and why we don't covet money, or prestige, or possessions. We want to share the Source of why we are moved to paint, or photograph, or write about the One who defines our life. Yes, I will admit that I want to teach you about Him, so that you might love Him as much as I do. But I want to do that by showing you what it's like to serve others, to put others first, and to seek Him above all things worldly.
Those are attitudes that have been missing in our national discourse, and no elected official is going to be able to legislate Discipleship. True discipleship comes from being a committed follower of Jesus, imitating Him in how we treat others, and adhering to His commandment to be the Light of the world. There will be those who will respond to us, and those who will reject us. We mustn't concern ourselves with the job of convincing people to accept us. We must live our lives as examples of Christ, and let the Holy Spirit convict those He will. So, in the intense and impassioned days ahead, do not lose your focus, nor turn aside from your responsibility as a Disciple of Christ. Let not the world discourage you nor dissuade you from your purpose… because they will certainly try. Just remember that we are equipped to carry on as His witnesses ... and our nation needs our example.
John 15:8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples."