It’s what Jesus would do, no matter what the world does to us.
Shawn A. Akers
Jesus said in Matthew 24:12, “Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
To dissect our Savior’s thoughts a bit further, 2 Timothy 3:1-4 says, “Know this: In the last days perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such people.”
The latter reminds me of a verse from a favorite 1980s song of mine from by Christian artist Steve Camp: “In these last days man’s hearts will turn hard. They become lovers of pleasure. Oh, how they run away from their God to seek other treasures.”
While this pattern began many years ago, we’re now beginning to see the full force of what Jesus, Paul and even Steve Camp spoke about. And, the prevailing attitudes will continue to worsen in America, despite the mistaken notion of many that President Donald Trump and his administration can remedy the situation.
A great example: This week, an Oregon Court denied the appeal of Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Bakeries by Melissa, and ordered them to pay fines of $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake to celebrate a lesbian couple’s same-sex wedding. Because the Kleins refused to violate their values and principles (a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution no matter what any court says), they were forced to shut down their bakery, thus killing their American dream and their livelihood.
The plaintiffs in the case, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, can help claim responsibility for obliterating that dream because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) find someone else to bake the cake for them. Their selfishness and pride drove them to make an example out of the Kleins, and it proved successful.
Jack Phillips now faces the same scenario. The United States Supreme Court reviewed Phillips’ case and is deliberating on it. You can bet the result of the Oregon case will come into play on the outcome. National Religious Broadcasters president and CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson spearheaded by an appeal for hundreds of thousands of believers to pray for the High Court to rule in Phillips’ favor,
Those mark only two examples of the injustice this country aces. If Phillips’ case goes the other way, look out.
What should believers do? We can continue to fight the good fight, which is what I believe Jesus would instruct us to do. We must continue to fight for our rights as citizens and what is guaranteed us in the U.S. Constitution.
However, we cannot stoop to the world’s level. We must stand up and fight like Christ would—with love. In my last column, I challenged all believers to hold fast to and follow Ephesians 5:1-2, in which the apostle Paul compels us to: “Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.”
In other words, do not seek revenge. An eye for eye does not work for believers. The Bible instructs us to act Christlike at all times and follow Jesus’ example, especially when His enemies mocked Him and put Him to death.
Our example will turn more hearts to Christ. In due time, God will deal with those who cannot see or accept this love—guaranteed.
The Holy Spirit daily pricks my heart to act in a Christlike manner at all times and to show forgiveness, even to those who persecute me. He wants me to pray for them. Each day this coming year, I will compel readers to pray for a specific person or group of people. In a separate post today, I will begin with the Kleins, the Oregon judges and Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
“If my people will humble themselves and pray …”
All of God’s blessings to you today and every day. And remember to do something to rise up higher in your calling today.
Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. He is a 30-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.