Disclaimer about the previous post
For whatever reason, what is being displayed is only the last 3/5ths of the entire post I had written. X(
I didn’t back up the original. What’s missing is basically the context of why this post was even written and who it’s for. Sorry for the editorial mishap. Still getting use to this blogging thing. We’ll get through this. Lol
"Defending" the Faith
The question for me is, what’s the right response? Should force be met with force? For many, the knee jerk reaction would be to take up arms defending their beliefs (figuratively and literally). Many have chosen to actively engage the perceived threat by joining the ranks of the amateur apologist. These take to online soapboxes (like this one, or YouTube, whatever) and give their best defense to specific arguments made by other users. Others feel that they can be efficient arguers who take what they know to the streets for a yelling match.
The books of Thessalonians are letters to believers who were being persecuted even to death. Although that extreme is not seen in America, we can still answer the question of “What’s the right response?”
Right in the first few sentences, Paul tells us what’s the appropriate response is!
You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. 1 Thes. 1: 6-10
Their best “defense” was a life of joy, love and trust in their God. Faith in God was their only focus. Not the detractors of the time or the soldiers who would threaten them. They were known throughout for their selflessness. It’s interesting to note how Paul doesn’t say they were known for their great arguments or ability to fight back. It took something that seems insignificant yet essential to what it means to be human to still see joy while facing the stake. They played a much more dynamic role in the growth of Christianity than any revolt or protest ever could!
Paul’s charge to us today as believers is to turn from the idols that we feel the need to defend. The inquisitors had it wrong. God doesn’t need to be defended. He doesn’t need us to ‘convert’ others; it’s the spirit of God that draws the hearts of mankind to God. We as believers just have to go follow His agenda, not our own. Which one of us can defend the omnipotent? God is bigger than we can even imagine! Pretending that he’s not capable of defending himself is like comparing Him to any idol made by human hands.
He calls us to ignore what others may say about Him and just serve him. They are guidelines for us. (10 commandments, Golden rule) He’s also given us His word in the Bible that calls us again and again to stay busy bringing hope, joy, faith and love to the world. We can expect to be singled out and persecuted if we’re doing it right! Jesus was even killed for it. There’s no time to draw attention to you by arguing. Recognizing that we DO, in fact, serve a ‘true, living God’ should humble us and show us that our ultimate joy comes from serving the Source of joy.
Finally, we’re called to wait for Jesus who WILL rescue us. May we all continue to grow and walk in the light that’s been given to us. May our short comings not pull us away from the tender love of Jesus. May this world not jade us from the beautiful truths found in The Word. May we keep hope alive and believe that God is faithful to His promises.
May our heart always say He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20
My thoughts from today
As I was checking my twitter page this morning, I saw the news flash of a shooting NEAR an elementary school. Initially I thought “wow, that’s horrible.” Which was the right thing to say… but something was missing in my expression. I went through my day as if it was business as usual. I sat in class, listened to lectures from professors and strictly had finals in my head. Those reports soon escalated and specified that shots were confirmed IN the school. Children and adults died by the actions of one individual. In only a few hours, the world came together to learn of the tragic, unexplained massacre in a Connecticut Elementary School.
I, like many other people, had detached my emotions from the information I had received. The part of me that connects thoughts with feeling was desensitized to the point that hearing about the deaths of 20 babies did not even shock me right away. Maybe it is due to the culture we have been born into or the constant anticipation of evil things happening in this world. Many people have also correctly said “Jesus is coming soon” but do we just say that as a defense mechanism to comfort ourselves from the reality of the fruit of sin in our world?
An hour ago, I read about the first-hand events as told by the young survivors. One boy during the ordeal was heard saying, “‘I just want Christmas. I don’t want to die, I just want to have Christmas” …. All the while, we are busy with trivial annoyances like test, Facebook and the lack of battery left on our phones. Although I am not a father, there are little ones in my life that I would give my life for at any time. God have His life for us on the cross and today we saw how messed up the world still remains. I can only imagine what pain our Heavenly Father is feeling as His children continue to kill each other, argue, get rich and remain divided amongst political lines.
I am challenging myself and anyone who would read this: Refuse to be a part in the growing social dysfunction that has numbed our hearts to the point of inactivity. It cannot remain business as usual! We need to be active in consoling the hurting and sharing each other’s burdens! Life becomes too shallow to enjoy if we focus on ourselves in selfish gratification. So I urge you, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, your heart connected to the needy and your strength behind the active restoration of self and others to God: the only lasting Love and Peace in our existence.
Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12: 9-21
Be the change you want to see.