Can we have our cake and eat it too?

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Can we have our cake and eat it too?

When will we as a nation learn that we cannot expect others including our leaders in any sphere – business, media, government, judiciary, law enforcement, education, sports, defense et al – to act Christianly if they threw their Christianity out the proverbial bathroom window long ago!?

So then, why be so shocked when their “who knows / who cares!” un-faith gives rise to un-Christian behaviour and decision-making? 

Do our people want to have their cake and eat it too?  It appears so.  I wonder how many of Aussies are blind to the inseparable connection between their working beliefs and their code of conduct.  They expect that a person who espouses an anti-Christian belief system should still be able to make sound, moral decisions and judgments based on our Judeo-Christian heritage. 

But then when it doesn’t quite work out that way—when the behaviour of some of our nation’s leaders and bosses with their “anything goes!” un-faith is repugnant, they become very irate!  Strange!?!

In recent months and years, we’ve all been shaken (along with most other formerly “Christian” countries in the west) by the far-reaching moral scandals of scandolous proportions.  What’s been happening behind the scenes, pray tell?  Could it be that in recent decades while many of us have been lulled to a false security in our spiritual naivete, people with fuzzy faith or in open rebellion against the Christian faith have risen to positions of power and influence in our country (sometimes even including in Christian organisations), and then have made seriously questionable and utterly despicable choices and decisions behind closed doors?  Aren’t they just acting out in life and work the working ethics of their un-Christian or anti-Christian beliefs?

Yet in most western nations, we still expect and demand that our leaders to be moral, honest and decent (Christian) people.  In other words, we expect men and women who worship themselves to make unselfish decisions in the best interests of all those they are responsible for.  How likely is that?  In fact, it’s asking for the impossible to expect people with un-Christian, non-Christian or anti-Christian core beliefs to act Christianly and to make decisions that reflect such core Christian values as respect and honour for life, honesty and integrity (whether under oath or not) and compassion for the poor and disadvantaged?  (And all the rest!)

In the real world of the 21st century where Number ONE is all that matters, the choices people are making anywhere are for MY best interests, for MY success and glory, for MY own personal enjoyment of MY rights and all the leisure and pleasure my heart desires.  Let everyone else take care of themselves, thank you very much! 

Today’s popular belief system denies God any place of significance or authority in daily living.  (Of course, any such unbelief over the millennia hasn’t moved the Rock one inch!)  This means that the average 21st century Aussie sets himself up as the authority for choosing between good and evil, right and wrong.  In this current un-belief, the notion of God as the ultimate Authority is passé to say the least. 

Such thinking has infected our society from top to bottom.  Most people delight in flinging mud in the face of the big sinners because they have committed some big-time evil.  Yet in life they themselves espouse the very same principles that drive some of the big boys and girls at the top to make evil choices.  We’re a nation of hypocrites!  We love to condemn the big, bad boys when they get caught, while we live by the very same standards in our own daily lives.  We call them evil rogues for cheating us big time, but don’t flinch an eyelid for cheating small time on our tax returns. 

Who after all are the big boys and girls at the top of the ladder?  And where did they learn such tricks of the trade?  Right where we live, study and work.  And under the tutelage of parents, teachers and other role models who themselves were showing them how to live by “whatever works for me is okay” pragmatism.

Where is all this leading our nation (and many other nations?  Closer and closer towards a society of citizens who reject God’s reality and God’s right to set the agenda and absolute standards of conduct for their private and public lives.  In such a society free of absolute standards, there’s only one thing to worry about—getting caught by some human authority.  But if we think ourselves super-smart, then we will take the risk and go for bust if we have the chance.  (Of course, I’m speaking like a worldly fool!)

It’s time for us to let these graphic realities sink in and show us where we’re heading before we go over the cliff.  If we are going to save our nation from impending disaster as the inevitable consequence of our present rejection of God, then we must all take action—SOON! 

What? How?  I’m speaking to you and to me as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Firstly, we ourselves had better make sure that we are not falling into line (unconsciously) with the latest popular uprising against God.  Our first responsibility is to know and to live the Good News wherever we are—at home, in church, behind closed doors, in our work place or in some academic hall—everywhere! 

Our society needs, and thank God has, people who live and act Christianly.   Our nation needs God’s light (truth, righteousness, holiness) shining through us as “light-bearers,” penetrating their darkness.  Jesus’ unforgettable words, spoken to ordinary followers like you and me, is a most powerful clarion call to all true believers: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Secondly, our nation needs us God’s true people to keep teaching and proclaiming the Christian message to everyone—regardless of interest or disinterest, regardless of ethnic or religious persuasion—in every possible situation and context.  Some of us evangelical Christians may have been cowered by the smart-aleck, post-Christian media critics to eat away at our confidence and hope in the relevance of the Christian message for modern Australians.  How desperately we need to remain steadfast in our faith, thoroughly convinced that apart from a life rooted in a living faith in Jesus, there is no hope for our nation to hold firm to its Judeo-Christian heritage.  Which means in essence that our children and grandchildren may often become the victims of the selfish, scandalous scheming of leaders with their non-Christian, anti-Christian beliefs and moral standards. 

Let’s throw off our inferiority as evangelical Christians, turning a deaf ear to all the nasty labels people invent for us, ready to take up our cross and join God’s Suffering Servant as He reaches out to the world with one and only Gospel of hope—rejoicing to identify with the scorn and mockery, refusing to give up the fight when some try to shut us up or cut us down. 

Brothers and sisters, God’s mandate to all of us—as individuals and as churches—is to courageously teach and instill these Christian truths and principles in the minds and hearts of others, beginning with our own families but allowing ourselves to be His conduits of hope for the many who are weighed down by anxiety about the future. 

We must together go down this route of deliberately and decisively influencing the people of our nation for God and His Son, Jesus.  Otherwise by default we are choosing to allow the choices of others with all their potpourri of beliefs to lead us down a route that none of us would ever wish to go. 

And thirdly, our nation needs, and has an increasing number of, ordinary Christians who believe in God and in His plan to work wonders through the prayers and intercessions of His people—individuals, households and congregations. 

A few practical pointers for praying for our nation:

  • Pray for those who lead us on any level, that God will lead them to repentance and to faith in Christ.
  • Pray that God will raise up more genuine Christian men and women to lead us—again in the business sector and in government, in the judiciary and the media, in the defense forces and law enforcement agencies, in our schools and institutions of higher learning, everywhere.
  • Pray for true Christians already in positions of leadership and responsibility, regardless of whether you agree with their political views and decisions or not, asking God to stir them to be people of conviction and courage in their particular sphere of influence, helping them to make genuinely Christian choices, based on God’s truth.
  • Pray for all of us ordinary Christians as we go out every day into our communities as God’s witnesses.  Pray fervently that our words and lives will reflect God’s eternal light with ever clearer clarity and purity, that we learn to say a firm “no” to the tempting voice of compromise with the theories of the world, that we determine to remain steadfast like Nehemiah against every enemy tactic of intimidation, and that we reject that insipid brand of private Christian faith that aims above all else to offend nobody. 
  • Pray for our nation to be saved from the darkness of unbelief and rejection of God’s Messiah and Prince of peace—so that God will bless us with His peace  and shalom, but not only us, also through us other peoples in our world. 

Sisters and brothers, this is the day that the Lord has made, therefore, let us rejoice and be glad that He has chosen and called us to be His servants at such a time as this.  We cannot run away from the tragic realities of the present, nor should we try to escape into some imaginary scandal-free, secure corner of our land.  Rather with our God we can give ourselves to His plans for this kairos moment in the history of our nation and our world.    

Paul gave the following word to believers who were also surrounded by pagan darkness: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life….” (Phil.2:14-16a) 

That’s our God-given mandate.  Those early believers lived in a world that was riddled with corruption and pagan vices.  Yet they shined like starts in their universe—even some as burning torches in Nero’s Gardens.  And because they held out the word of life, even the farthest dark corners of the Roman empire were penetrated with God’s light by the end of the first century. 

The same mandate, the same God, the same message—and similarly ordinary messengers as we are.  Is there any reason not to expect that this same word of life that we hold out to our fellow-Aussies will not have the same outcome in our land?

Rev. Graham M. Roberts
Equip & Encourage International
February 21, 2006

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