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Reason #2: We aren't letting our light shine!

The second reason we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans is all about light, or lack there of.

 

Jesus called us to be salt and light, then he modeled 90% light and 10% salt. Once you understand the intrinsic nature of salt and light you understand why.

 

Salt is a preservative—it slows down decay. It is wholly defensive in nature since it tries to stop something else from advancing—in this case cultural and spiritual decay. However, salt cannot undo decay that has already set in.

 

On the other hand, light’s entire purpose is to dispel darkness. It does not try to prevent decay—it overwhelms it and replaces it with something new. It invades the darkness and dispels it. Light does not try to stop anything. On the contrary, it is entirely offensive in nature.

 

We, the Body of Christ, are doing a pretty good job of being salt—not a great job but a good job. Unfortunately, when it comes to being light (giving others the opportunity to begin a relationship with the Creator God) most of us are AWOL.

 

If our light is waning it is usually because we aren’t experiencing the light of Jesus in such a way that we think it’s worth sharing with others, or it is because we have been cowed into putting our light under a bushel.

 

The early followers of Jesus couldn’t help but tell others about what their Savior had done for them. They faced incredible persecution and yet the light of God’s love and forgiveness illuminated every area of their life. People wanted what they had.

 

Do people want what you have? Do YOU want what you have? This is the place to start my friends. Unlike the federal government, you can’t give away what you don’t own. Ask God to awaken your spirit to the love of Jesus and surrender your heart, soul, and mind to Him. Go all in. The light of the Savior can be uncomfortable as it exposes the darkness but the joy of His illuminating love, presence, power, peace and mercy is, as my dad would say, “intoxicating.” It’s hard to hide such a light, but sadly, not impossible.

 

Many of us have been cowed into putting our light under a bushel by political correctness, progressive religious leaders and fear of retribution. Around the world followers of Jesus are put to death every day for sharing their faith. In America we often choose to simply keep our faith to ourselves and abide by the lie of the enemy, “Practice your faith at home. Leave it out of the public square.”

 

People can’t know the source of our light if we don’t share it with them. The enemy is counting on that.

 

A friend of mine went the student body president of a university and asked him if anyone had ever taken a few minutes to explain how he could know God personally. The president responded by saying, “No, a number of my friends have had the opportunity, but no one has ever taken it.” (In other words, he knew that a number of his friends were Christians, but none of them had ever bothered to tell him how to begin a relationship with God.). His response reflects one of the primary problems we face in the church today: More often than not, we fail to even attempt to engage the culture in dialogue about who God is.

 

Once a young Christian I was mentoring told me that evangelism was just a “Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) thing”. He said it certainly was not a directive for all believers. I suggested that we do a study of the Book of Acts. A few weeks later the young man sheepishly acknowledged that he had been wrong. It was a joy to see him begin to blossom as he followed the example of Peter, Paul, and even Jesus Himself by taking advantage of opportunities to tell his peers about God’s love and forgiveness.

 

Over the years I have had many people say to me, “Your father must have the gift of evangelism.” Frankly, I am not convinced that he did. But I am convinced that he had God’s heart of compassion for those who did not know the Creator God. When he received a telephone call that was a “wrong number,” he told the caller about Jesus. He talked about Jesus to taxi cab drivers, CEOs, bag boys, flight attendants, hotel maids, doctors, nurses, criminals, lawyers, and politicians. Growing up, whenever we went on family vacations, we would often realize Dad was missing and turn around to see him talking with someone we had passed twenty yards earlier. It is important to understand that this was a man who was rather reserved by nature. He was not an extrovert by anyone’s account. But he wanted people to know the God that he knew. As he said, “It is the love of Christ that constrains me.”

 

One of the worst excuses I have ever heard for not even attempting to tell others the good news about God’s love is the statement, “I do not have the gift of evangelism.” If such an excuse is legitimate, then I should be excused from having to show compassion since I do not have the “gift” of compassion. I’m sorry if that comes across as offensive, but it needs to be said. If we are not willing to talk about the one issue that is foundational to morality itself, we have no right to complain as the moral state of the nation continues to disintegrate.

 

We are to be salt AND light. Each and every one of us. Can you imagine what would happen if God’s people woke up and allowed His light to shine in them and throughthem? We will see a spiritual awakening break out across our land! If Christianity conquered Rome in 350 years simply by believers proclaiming and living out the love of God every day, then it can happen in America too.

 

Action Points:

  1. Grab some friends and read GOD, Who Are You Anyway? together. The bigger your view of God grows, the brighter His light will shine through you! Not only will YOU want what you have, but others will too!

  2. If you are trying to live the Christian life on your own effort your light will never shine bright. Click here and learn how to live the Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit!

  3. If you don’t know how to help someone know God personally this is a great tool: Would You Like To Know God Personally? You can order it from crustore.org

  4. Ask God to give you the opportunity to share the light of Christ with someone this week. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God.

 

Next blog will be about the 3rd reason we are losing the battle and how we can win!!

 

Based on GOD is the Issue by Brad Bright

©2019 Brad Bright

 

 

 

We are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. No doubt about it. The exciting thing is, we can turn the tide. I don’t agree with some of my brothers and sisters who glumly declare that our days of being a shining light on a hill are gone.

 

The first step toward real change is being brutally honest about the current situation. I believe we must address three areas that are sucking the life out of the church and our influence in the culture.

 

REASON ONE:

 

Our hearts often do not reflect God’s heart. We lack compassion. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we don’t care about the hurt, abuse and heartache going on in the culture, but we tend to focus only on the symptoms while God focuses on the cause. We are more inclined to judge others based on their outward appearance and actions. God always judges based on the heart.

 

A few years ago a friend’s marriage was falling apart. His pastor heard about it and stopped by unannounced to inform John (not his real name) that he needed to go to counseling. John listened and then explained the real problem: he was not following God closely and no amount of marriage counseling would do any good until he decided to put God first in his life. He actually rebuked the pastor for not having even asked about his spiritual condition. John instinctively understood that a self-focused person cannot simultaneously follow Jesus, the real cause of his marital troubles. I suspect the pastor was reminded that day of the importance of looking beyond the surface symptoms.

 

I have to keep that in mind myself. When I was younger, I was extremely judgmental of people who engaged in certain types of immoral behavior. I cringe inside when I recall how I wished those people would just go away forever. I certainly wasn’t reflecting God’s heart and His overwhelming compassion for all of humanity.

 

I wish I could say that among those who claim to follow Jesus such thinking is rare. Sadly, I cannot. I wish I could say that my fellow Christians really embraced in their heart of hearts the sentiment, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” But I cannot. I wish I could say that we live out the command, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.” With deep regret, I cannot.

 

Is it any wonder that the world hates Christians? We often speak of God’s condemnation, while neglecting to extend His love and forgiveness. Think of the moral issues of our day: racism, abortion, homosexual behavior, sex trafficking, drug abuse… What is your first reaction to them? Do any of them make you feel or react defensively?

 

May I ask you a question? If a blind man steps down hard on your toe does it hurt? Yes! But are you offended? Hopefully not.

 

We live in a culture of blind people. Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone rant: “racist!” “homophobe!” “misogynist!” “bigot!” or “hater!” We are always called to love. Sometimes it is tough love, but it is always love.

 

In Revelation chapter 2, Jesus commends the church in Ephesus because their deeds were great, they worked hard, and they did not tolerate wickedness in their midst; yet He had a complaint against them: they had left their “first love” for Him. Jesus said that the entire Law and the Prophets hang on the two commands to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-40). In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Paul makes it clear that if we do not have love, our deeds amount to nothing at all from God’s perspective.

 

Whenever God gives me the privilege of mentoring believers, I make it very clear that they will hear very little about behavior, but a lot about having a heart for God. Is this because behavior is unimportant? No! In fact, behavior is extremely important because it is an effective indicator of where the heart is. I watch behavior carefully (including my own); behavior always follows belief. If behavior does not begin to change over time, there is usually still a heart problem that needs to be addressed. It’s not that I don’t talk about behavior that opposes God’s Word, but addressing the behavior is not the key to change. Simply put, I prefer to focus on treating the cause rather than the symptom.

 

We will never see our country turn back to God until His love for all people consumes our hearts and guides our actions. Truth, wrapped in love, is unstoppable. The culture can always discount our words, but it cannot long ignore our actions. The love of Christ conquered the Roman Empire by 400 AD. It can also conquer America—again.

 

My dad confidently believed another revival was coming to America, even though he realized he wouldn’t be around to see it. He also firmly held the primary characteristic of the next revival would be—LOVE.

 

If you really want to win the culture war, extend unconditional love—just like Jesus. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. It will also be the most powerful.

 

Next time we will look at the 2nd reason we are losing and how we can win.

 

Adapted from GOD is the Issue by Brad Bright

©2019 Brad Bright

  • Brad Bright

 

 

 

I have a question for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC): Does racism determine how you see God, or does your view of God determine how you see racism?

 

You may wonder why I ask this. Well, last week the SBC passed a resolution that approved the use of “critical race theory” (CRT) and “intersectionality” as “analytical tools” to help move the SBC toward racial reconciliation. The problem is that these “analytical tools” arise directly from moral relativism, which assumes there is neither objective reality nor moral absolutes in the universe. At best, CRT makes God irrelevant.

 

On a practical level, Critical Race Theory (CRT) asks racial minority groups, “How does that make you feel?” So far, so good. Right? However, because of its underlying premise (moral relativism), it is incapable of asking one of the most fundamental questions of life, “How does that make God feel?”

 

Think about that for a moment.

 

If my feelings rather than God’s are the basis for my relationship with you, what is going to happen to that relationship when conflict or major misunderstandings occur? There will always be a winner and always be a loser. Always. It will always be about who has the power. Always. Listen carefully when advocates of CRT talk—sooner or later they will make it about power. Inevitably the word “power” slips through their lips. Power. Power. Power. That should scare you, no matter the color of your skin.

 

I’m sure I am not the only one who sees the impending train wreck. Why would the SBC adopt “analytical tools” to deal with racism that by design exclude the centrality of God to the human experience? They may try to add a veneer of Christianity to CRT, but that is like trying to add a veneer of Christianity to Hell. God cannot be found in Hell nor in CRT.

 

I hope the SBC comes to its senses soon and restores God to His rightful place of supremacy over all of life. Let’s wholeheartedly pursue racial reconciliation—but let’s do it God’s way, not man’s.

 

©2019 Brad Bright