We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. – Ephesians 6:12-13
One of my fundamental writing prompts goes like this: “When I’m not sure what direction to take, use a trusted source to point me toward the scriptures, and God’s agenda for my work.”
So that’s what I did this morning. Just a couple of minutes ago I clicked on my link to “Bible Gateway” and I read their “verse for the day.” So now I’m responding to that prompt.
First, here’s some of what I know about how God speaks through the Bible.
- The scriptures are not partizan; the Bible never points out how right we are, but highlights our great need for Jesus.
- No single passage, no verse, no chapter, can be the understood without the context of the great arc of the biblical narrative.
- That great story is the timeless story of God’s initiatives of grace, and humankind’s response; it is the story of God’s invitational love; it is the story of how humankind consistently tried/tries to control the relationship via religious law until Jesus broke that pattern through pure love.
- The scriptures challenge me to follow Jesus with passion, and to tell the truth about God’s love in the way that I live.
- The Bible is not a book of rules but an invitation to live.
- Everything in God’s word supports the essential premise that none – absolutely none – are worthy, that all – without exception – are welcome, and that our responsibility as followers of Jesus is simply to light the way.
Everything in God’s word supports the essential premise that none – absolutely none – are worthy, that all – without exception – are welcome, and that our responsibility as followers of Jesus is simply to light the way.
Given that kind of a lens, I read what appears to me to be a deeply relevant scripture, given the events of this past week. No matter where we stand on the political spectrum, we must equip ourselves with the tools God has provided if we are to live for Christ with purpose, with integrity, and with effectiveness.
The measure, then, of how we deal with what is obviously deeply troubling for many Christians, is how faithfully we increase our love for Jesus, how deliberately we place ourselves in closer proximity to God, and how genuinely we love those we disagree with.
- We must guard against the kind of “righteous indignation” that is more about our need to be right than the imperative to follow Jesus;
- we must be wary of building walls where God has instructed us to build relationships;
- we must stand as witnesses to – and examples of – the light, even where (maybe especially where) we are tempted to yell into our bullhorn of self-congratulatory arrogance and judgment.
Why? Because we are called to follow Jesus. Yes, that involves doing justice, and yes that involves loving mercy… but it most certainly involves a lot more WALKING HUMBLY than I’ve been witnessing these past few days!
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8
In peace, and because God loves me with such tender mercy – DEREK