(Originally posted 7-3-19)
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It’s seemingly a nod to ingenuity and development; an acknowledgment that any process worth doing or worth building takes time. “Nothing happens overnight” is another way of saying the same thing. The greatness of Rome: it’s government, it’s power, it’s architecture and lasting impact on society…none of it happened without years and years of effort. It’s interesting to think of what Rome accomplished and the way our culture is shaped by those feats thousands of years later.
Today’s blog is a twist on the concept of this phrase, realizing that the downfall of Rome (and subsequently our own), doesn’t happen in a day either. I must state at the onset, much of what I am writing is directed at Americans and Christians living within the States. This is not to ignore my other readers. In fact, I think the culture wars we battle are a common enemy we all face. Those in the UK, or Australia, Russia, China, Africa…the enemy of our souls is a real enemy the Church worldwide faces.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this. Ephesians 6:12
My goal today is to give us a wake-up call. We know the ills of society. They take many forms: sexual perversions, corrupt and morally bankrupt leaders, a constant barrage of media glorifying pleasure and a “do what feels good” attitude…the list is long. And the list is not unlike what led to Rome’s downfall. History repeats itself. But how do we as Christians rise above and stay in the world but not of it? Let’s dig in.
1. Little compromises have big impact
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10,11
Indoctrination is not a process that happens overnight. It is a slow process, taking months, even years to develop and take root. What we are seeing in our culture today did not happen because of compromise at one key step or one specific moment. It is literally thousands of little compromises occurring over and over again. Rather than standing firm on God’s truth, we have chosen a softer, lesser gospel. When we come to this point, it is natural look back and say “How did we get here?” Easy. We started caring less about God’s opinion and more about the opinion of man.
What takes time to dismantle also takes time to repair. Are you daily growing in your walk with Christ? Are you daily putting on the full armor of God to gird yourself against Satan’s schemes? We kid ourselves if we think we can go days, weeks, or even months without plugging into God, through His word and through prayer. We simply cannot live without being plugged into our lifeline. The world will rush in and slowly, over time, we will look less like our Savior and more like this world. Pray that you stand firm in these days.
2. Pride comes before the fall
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
When I look at the world around me, I see a spirt of pride that is evident in almost every arena: politics, media, sports, business. We are proud of ourselves and our accomplishments. We take a liking to the fact that we can achieve bigger and better things. In all of this, we know better than God about what is best for our lives. In fact, every year we witness a whole month established on the basis of “Pride.” During this time, you literally cannot scroll social media or turn on a TV without being bombarded with the idea that our pride even extends to knowing best about our sexual choices.
As Christians, we have to expect this from the world. We come to realize at the end of the day, man is always about what exalts him or herself. But we must also flee this temptation at every turn. Part of coming to Christ is an aspect of surrender; of laying down our pride. We do this out of an acknowledgement that we do not know better. In fact, if left to our own devices we will always ruin and destroy the very gift God has given us: life itself. As the world is drawn to pride, we run from it and flee it. In so doing, we exalt Christ and lift Him up as the only One worthy of being praised and adored.
3. God calls us to be set apart
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
I believe the Holy Spirit gives us an increased ability to do something powerful the longer we are in Christ: to be in the world but not of it. I look no further than the early apostles; those under the rule of Rome and the evil forces at work within the early first centuries. These men and women were prepared for martyrdom, knowing that the call of Christ was worth it. If it wasn’t, they would not have been prepared to die for their beliefs. That’s how powerful the Gospel was for them. The Holy Spirit empowered and emboldened them to live lives that were set apart.
What about us? Are we prepared for disdain or disapproval if we say we believe in Jesus? Are we prepared for rejection if we say “the Bible is God’s word?” Are we willing to not compromise by avoiding things the world accepts as normal and true? If we are growing in our faith, we can trust the Spirit is at work within us. We can also expect opposition as a normal process of the Enemy not liking what God is doing within us. Remember, ultimately our fight is not against what we see around us but against the unseen forces of evil at work…demons and principalities that are allowed, for a time, to rule and reign on the Earth.
None of what we face today leads to certain death (not yet anyway). But in many parts of the world, being a Christian does mean rejection/disapproval from family and perhaps imprisonment or even death. In America, we don’t face those things on a daily basis. But the culture is constantly changing. We know the call of surrender and obedience to a Deity outside ourselves does not fall in line with the spirt of the age.
We must realize Rome wasn’t corrupted in a day and neither is the society we are living in. The society we live in does and has changed from what it once was. In my 40 years of being alive, I have seen things I never thought would be accepted as normal and even championed. For those older than myself, I’m sure you have seen an even greater decline. What we must do is daily intercede for this world and continue to plea “Christ, come quickly.” We know the time is short. We know the days are evil. But in this wake-up call, we also ask that many hearts and lives are stirred to surrender and obedience to Jesus. There is still time left.
I love you guys! Let me know how I can be praying for you today!
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17