Monday, November 26, 2012

A Hill Worth Dying On

We seem to be positioned to place a lot of focus, these days, on where our resources (time, money, efforts, etc.) are spent. While this has always been a truth, it appears that Christ-followers are increasingly put to the test, today, as our nation, and our world, loosens its conservative grip in lieu of a softer, gentler, more accepting, and more tolerant world-view. I wonder if we know why we're fighting the battles we do fight, and when to even fight them; specifically as Christians? Boycotts of businesses for what they do or do not support, deciding where we spend our money, where we invest it, etc. As the world becomes smaller we are less and less an island unto ourselves. Every action and transactions in our lives affects more than just "me". Every thought seems to become captive, be it by the world's standard or by God's.

Is being accountable for these "resources" that significant? I believe it is, and I believe God's word demonstrates it and demands responsibility of us. This is a question of stewardship, to be sure. I believe it is also a question of faith and discernment. To what extent do we account for each "transaction" (not merely monetary) as we walk through each day in our lives?

Titus 2:7 indicates... "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity," Luke speaks of stewardship in his gospel... "And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes." (Luke 12:42-46), "One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much." (Luke 16:10)

But how do we work this out in our own lives, in these days? How do we decide what is a.hill worth dying on?
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 tells us....
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds."

The battles we face, and those we might choose to fight, are often of greater significance than their earthly outcome. As we teach our children that it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game, so it is true in our walk with Christ and the battles, the struggles, we face. Before going "into battle" it is indeed important to be "prayed up", distinguishing obedience to Christ from our own agendas and bents. As we navigate these murky waters it is important that God's word serves as our guide.

Do not be motivated by fear
"for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (2Timothy 1:7)
1. Fear generates selfish decisions.
2. Love generates selfless decisions, and is stronger than fear.
Don't allow your own pet peeves to become a soapbox by which to defend your service to God. He needs our obedience before our ability.

Do not be motivated by winning
"This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. mAnd I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand." (1 Samuel 17:46-47)
David's purpose, in battle, was to demonstrate the power of God ...not his own ability. Our love for God may call us to take a stand. It may also call us to take a seat. Knowing His will, as demonstrated through His word, will be our guide.

Do be motivated by Christ
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete." (2 Corinthians 10:5-7)
The battles truly, and ultimately, belong to the Lord. We must check our egos, our own definitions of what is acceptable to the Lord, at the foot of Christ' cross, and pick our battles carefully and prayerfully, so as to not become a stumbling-block to the gospel; wise as serpents, gentle as doves.