The most recent edition of On Mission magazine (yep, the one from IMB) came in the mail a day or two ago. Skimming through it, I came upon an article written by Karen Pearce who is an IMB missionary serving in Europe. The focus of her article was the culture war we find ourselves immersed in. She set her comments against the backdrop of her service in Romania and how many in that nation “lived through years of repression and persecution because of their faith.” Then she shared some things she said she learned from their experiences and related them to what we deal with today. Here they are:
1. “This is not a battle for America, nor is it a battle over Israel, defeating Islam or wiping out homosexuality—it’s a battle for God’s glory as revealed in Jesus.
2. Don’t live in fear. Focus on God’s sovereignty.
3. Seek intimacy with God over comfort.
4. Be bold about the whole gospel. Don’t be afraid to share the gospel in its entirety—that’s the only gospel that matters.”
The paragraph that follows gets more directly to the point. “Does all this mean you should not bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple? I have no idea. Should we have the right to refuse? Yes, I think so. But as believers, our rights as American citizens are not the point. Glorifying God in this world is. Do you bake the cake and share the gospel? Maybe. Do you deny the request and share the gospel? Maybe. Do you listen to the Holy Spirit at work in you and follow His lead? Absolutely.”
The truth is that we live in a different world these days. The culture surrounding us has changed with lightning speed. Often we are left wondering what to do and how to do it. What should our response be to a society that wants to marginalize Christianity on the one hand and trivialize us, or worse, on the other?
Perhaps Jesus says it best in Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NASV)
Jesus tells us to “Rejoice!” We find ourselves in good company.
Listen to the Holy Spirit.
Follow what He says in the power He provides.
Give God glory.