There are those who claim to be American, yet don’t understand the fundamental ideas that define America. It doesn’t make them Un-American or Anti-American, but it does increase the risk of America losing its identity and foundation over the course of generations, until we wake up one day to a new and different nation with a different foundation and perhaps an unstable one.
This is also true for the Jesus movement of Christianity. Many claim the Christian faith but do not grasp the idea of Jesus’ upside down kingdom. We want safe, and Jesus rarely operates under safe conditions. We are called to love and pray for our enemies, but this is rarely practiced. I think about the conversion of Saul, the least ideal candidate in human standards for someone you want leading your movement, yet Jesus chose the one who persecuted him to be a centerpiece in spreading His message. Today, we might say that we practice forgiveness, but we don’t tend to believe in redemption. We have lost sight of the power of Jesus to work, to heal, and to redeem. We practice a safe bet religion with a positive message. The more I read scripture, the more I see how much we have lost through generations of neglecting the core message of Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I do see God working continuously through His followers, but it is often outside of the corporate church. In the back alley of mega-churches and in the small group settings of dedicated followers trying to live out the Jesus movement based on scripture. But I do see how the pursuit of safe bets and a desire for popular attraction has held back the church in America. I hope and pray it is different in the growing churches found in other corners of the globe.
I pray for revelation and for revival. And I pray for my enemies, which is not the atheist or the Muslim, but the apathy in the heart of the bride of Christ which I also battle in my own heart. May I know and bear witness to Gods ability to use those who persecute us to become, not just followers of Jesus, but preachers of the gospel message to ignite a fire into the hearts of a new generation.