How Do People of Faith Live In A Faithless World?

Welcome to the weekend musings on my mind. I have several, but one stands out right now in light of all that is going on because I find myself not “confused” but more shaken-up in the speech and actions from all kinds of folks who claim Christianity yet it seems counter to what the Gospel tells us to do. Here’s just a few of my questions…

We are in a pandemic where we refuse to get vaccinated because it is our constitutional right not to. 1) It is NOT your right, in fact our Constitution spells our exactly what the President can do in a pandemic, so ditch your rights; 2) Since when, as a Christian, is it OK for you to harm another because of “your so-called rights?” In other words, are you people of faith or people who pick your “biblical faith” when it “fits your own desires?”

Next in line that keeps hitting my heart is those who trash one another. I don’t care about your political preferences, but I do care when those, who claim to love God, find it perfectly OK to trash another person. General Colin Powell, for instance. Did he do everything right? Do you? He did his best as we all should, and he even apologized for some of things he felt he did wrong—not many leaders do that. Yet a previous president is bashing him, I don’t get that one bit and I again have to question what “god” do you profess?

What is most interesting is how we reveal ourselves in such cases. Totally the opposite of what God has instructed us to live. We all fall short, indeed, yet the splash of all this around the world almost gives people permission to continue in such debasing character all the while “holding up their Bibles” as people of faith. I’m confused!

Max Lucado’s new book, You Were Made for this Moment, is incredible and I believe every person who claims faith in God should read this—over and over again. With his permission, I am sharing this short snippet:

“Early in the Book of Esther we read these words: “Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so” (Esther 2:10). The polytheistic Persians did not require their conquered peoples to give up their gods but they had to worship the Persian gods too. The Jews were to worship Jehovah God only. So, the question of Psalm 137:4 is the question of the book of Esther. “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” How does a person of faith live in a faithless world?  Mordecai and Esther initially created a world of hidden identity. You know, the compulsion to hide our identity as children of God affects us all. At work, at school, or in the bowling league. But at some point, each of us has to figure out who we are and what that identity means for our lives.”

Max, you hit the nail on the head. When we want faith to bend to what we want, our identity as a child of God is hidden—we easily blend in with a “faithless world.” Yet we are to let our light shine so others can see the light of Christ…what light are they seeing? If we blend in with the secular world our light is “hidden under the bushel” as the old slave-song goes. Instead we should sing “I’m gonna’ let it shine.” Our society is getting darker and God is urging his children to light things up. “How shall we sing the Lord’s song?”

Remember back in 2015 when ISIS beheaded 21 Christians in Libya? ISIS did this to shock the world with terror…but the response of their families sent a different message which reverberated around the world with a message of light and hope and faith. One of the mothers told every news reporter she could talk to: “I’m proud of my son. He did not change his faith…I thank God.” Think about it, with just a simple confession of Allah these men would have lived, but they would not defy their Lord. They would not “hide their light under a bushel.” I have to ask myself, what would I have done—what would you have done? Yes, this is a rather extreme story, but it plays out every day with those of us who love Jesus but often love the world more and sadly, are way too comfortable living in it.

I will end with this thought: “in a time of pandemic which is mutating and growing, where our globe’s climate is destructive globally, where the wealth of the world is hoarded by those who do not give a wit for others—even those who claim faith, where we discard babies like burnt toast because the timing is inconvenient, where drugs and drug lords gain the upper hand just because of wealth…I can continue but you get the it…yes, in these times, how can one live with faith in a faithless world? See the answer below! (Hint: it’s over 2000 years old!)

2 Timothy 3:10-4:5 – The Message (Paul’s letter to his young pastor, Timothy)
You’ve been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, troubles, sufferings—suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. And you also well know that God rescued me! Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it. Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse. 

But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. 

I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. 

You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.