February 12, Sunday

The person who wrote Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on December 27, 2015, wishes to remain anonymous. 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The Christian Faith and Secular Ideology”

John 17:14-7 (ESV)

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

Leprosy causes the loss of all physical sensations, including pain.  Even an open wound, infected and full of puss, doesn’t hurt; if left untreated it will disfigure the entire body, limb by limb. At the risk of offending some, many evangelicals suffer from spiritual leprosy.  Living in this world that is becoming increasingly militant against God’s truth, we feel no tension, no indignation, and certainly no desire to fight back (but not with the weapons of this world). 

The fundamental tension for us is one between Christianity and the reigning paradigm of our time—secular ideology.  But the thoughts and teachings of this world, of which we are a part, will never, ever be our highest authority—only Christ and His word is, no matter how alluring, appealing, or popular the dictates of secularism appear to us.  

At the same time, we must learn to avoid the extremes of a hateful “us versus them” stance and a naïve lack of discernment in encountering the good, evil, and sometimes ambiguous influences upon our souls.  For instance, even as we take on secularism or radicalized Islam, we do so respectfully, not hating the person and even learning a thing or two from those who oppose us. 

But through it all, we must remember that we live by faith, not by sight. We live for Christ, and not for any person or nation. We live by evaluating human experience through Christ’s word, not primarily the word of this or that guru or intellectual elite. Nothing should become our ultimate foundation and measuring rod for right living and thought, whether our favorite political movement, secular ethic, ideal of social justice, life pleasure, human identity, technological advancement, or fashionable science. 

As alluded earlier, that is not to deny there may be things of great value in the secular ideas and products I have just mentioned; on the contrary, we can welcome many of these to improve human living or enhance our intellectual and moral growth. But our ultimate hope and authority will never be to anything secularism has to offer, anything that comes out of the city of man. Our allegiance is to Christ alone. I leave you with Joshua’s call to the people of Israel as they started their existence as a nation in the Promised Land: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). 

Prayer: Lord, deliver us from spiritual leprosy so that we can begin to feel the righteous indignation in light of secular and post-truth ideologies that defy God’s eternal truth. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 8

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