Not only that Government Is NOT God, but also that Submitting to Society Is Satan’s Scheme.
Sorry to go back, but this is a work in progress and I realized that I did not adequately touch on the subject that ended section 3a. That part ended with the idea that wanting to fit in makes it hard to stand against your peers to do what is right. The Bible is really pretty clear about this point. “Do not be conformed to this world”(Romans 12:2), “in the world, but not of the world”(John 17:11-18), “come out from among them and be separate”(2 Corinthians 6:17), “do not be like them”(Matthew 6:7-8), and other passages teach us that if we are going to be right with God then we will not be in agreement with the world.
This is one of the most difficult things that we are called on to do. God created us to be social creatures and with a desire for companionship. He even said it is not good for the man to be alone. He was talking specifically about the man needing a companion and then made him a wife, but we see the negative results of people being isolated from human contact even today. People literally lose their sanity when there is no one to talk to and associate with on a regular basis.
Even though it is necessary, the pressure from social settings can be overwhelming. The stress that many struggle with is over their relationships with others. The pressure to fit in, conform, to be like others is powerful like a rushing river. Have you ever gone rafting or canoeing, not in a lake or still creek, but in a fast moving river? It is easy to go downstream. It is not terribly difficult to move toward one side or the other as you go downstream. But what about going upstream? Even with two strong young men in the canoe, I remember the near impossibility of even stopping the downstream motion much less moving against that strong current to go back upstream to help someone who had turned over. Now think about the way society rushes down the stream of life.
I see these same kinds of things in social interaction. It is easy to go downstream swiftly, some are paddling to move even faster than the current naturally takes them and seem to be leading the charge. It is not that difficult to move from side to side. We don’t have to do everything just like everyone else to be accepted. A few differences just make us quirky or a little unique. There is usually a wide range of socially acceptable choices. The river is wide and sometimes even splits around an island or rock to come back together farther downstream. As long as you are moving in the same general direction nobody cares. Some try to slow down and fight against how fast things are moving, and they are ridiculed. They are living in the past and need to get with the times. Even though they are the butt of many jokes, they are still accepted as long as they are moving along even if they are going slower. This is where the church in America has been for about 100 years. We as a group have drifted slowly the direction the world has been going, but we have held back and not moved as fast.
Unfortunately, that is not what God calls us to do. God calls us to move upstream toward Him. Just last night in Bible Class one member admitted that she had been living with her head in the sand about the homosexual marriage issue. If all who claim to be Christians had stood up strongly at the beginning of this surge, it might have been stopped, but now it is like trying to stop a tsunami. That doesn’t mean that we throw up our hands and say ‘if you can’t beat them join them’, but it does sometimes feel like ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. Being faithful to God and winning the war against Satan is important even if we lose some of the battles, even if we lose our privileges, rights, freedom, or lives, we fight because we want to be on God’s side. He has already won and those on His side will be victorious with Him, 1 John 2:13-14; 4:4; 5:4-5.
God wants a peculiar people, not a people that is not quite like everybody else, but a people that is just weird. We encourage our children to aim for weirdness. In so many areas of life normal is worthless. Why is it most parents don’t encourage their kids to aim for average grades or a career that will bring them an average income. They don’t want their kids on the average team. They don’t want them to be average in their looks. They don’t want them to marry someone who is average. They don’t want average or normal in many areas, so why not encourage them to excel spiritually and not be average. God has a term for the average Christian, He calls them lukewarm and they make Him sick at His stomach , Revelation3:15-16. Someone who has been cooled off and watered down by the world and has become worse than worthless to Him. Did you notice that God even says He would prefer for that person to be all the way cold?
God calls on us to overcome the world, and makes some precious promises to those who do. Maybe we should spend some time looking at the reward for not being mediocre or being tainted by the world. Several of these are mentioned in Revelation:
* 2:7 - eat of the tree of life in paradise
* 2:11 - not be hurt by the second death (hell)
* 2:17 - eat the hidden manna, get a white stone with a secret name on it
* 2:26 - given power over the nations to rule, receive the morning star
* 3:5 - clothed in white clothing, have name in the book of life and have Jesus confess name before His Father and the angels
* 3:12 - be a (pillar) permanent part in God’s temple and never leave it, have God’s name and the name of His city and Jesus’ new name written on us
* 3:21 - be allowed to sit with Jesus on His throne
* 21:7 - inherit ALL things, be heirs (sons) of God
In addition to these things, being faithful to Him will bring the blessings of: receiving a crown of life - 2:10, being worthy to walk with Jesus - 3:4, having a door opened for us that can’t be closed - 3:8, having others know that Jesus loves us - 3:9, being shielded from certain temptations or trials - 3:10, sharing a meal with Jesus - 3:20, drinking freely from the fountain of the water of life. On the other hand, those who are fearful and succumb to the world will forfeit all of the things above and have their place in the burning lake of fire and brimstone - 21:8.
Revelation was written to Christians who faced persecution and were fighting behind enemy lines. These saints were struggling with the temptation to just give in and become part of the world and that makes it a great book of encouragement as we face those same struggles and temptations. Some of them overcame and so can we and so can our children, but we have to see that the things God offers are worth sacrificing the things that Satan and the world promise. Being weird is worth it if there is a payoff, sacrifice is worth it if there is a benefit at the end. We may even have to be looked at as weird by other Christians, remember 600K left Egypt and only 2 made it to the promised land. Somehow I don’t think that Joshua and Caleb just suddenly became weird at the end. I bet they were different all along the way. I hope that more than 2 out of every 600K Christians make it to heaven, but what are you doing to make sure your family would be one of the 2. How many of the Israelites, do you suppose, thought they were just as good as the other Israelites that left Egypt? How many of those average Israelites made it to the promised land? The more I learn about the Bible the more I believe God wants us to be so weird that the whole world is talking about it - Romans 1:8.
I am reminded of a story I heard years ago about a young lady who was going off to college. Her mother was concerned that as a Christian going to a state school she would face some teasing or worse. The mother tried to warn her daughter of the possible dangers that awaited her in a place where most of the people would not be Christians. After listening for a few minutes the teenager tried to comfort her mothers concerns by saying that her mom shouldn’t worry because they will probably never know that I am a Christian. Not much comfort in that, but more truth than we like to admit in many cases. If they can’t tell that you are a Christian, it is likely because you are not. Instead of being like this foolish girl, let’s actually become God’s peculiar people - Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9.