I was recently reading a book with the simple reminder. We are in a mission field. To the degree that you either understand this or reject this you will have a better understanding of what is going on in our world. America is becoming a place where Christians are despised and rejected. Jesus said this would happen to his followers but do we really want that to happen?
I keep coming back to the movie the Matrix and as much you may dislike the sequels the story was still ingenious. It had so much Christian imagery that it inspired me personally and many others back then. It was a world with the sheets pulled over its eyes. They did not know that they were slaves to a system that merely wanted them to continue trying to continue on. The people did not know they were captive and that all their efforts at progress and love and peace were futile because they not only did not see the true enemy but did not know they existed.
The story unfolds around those who do Wake Up to the true reality of the world and fight against it understanding that those they are trying to save are still hostile to them while under control of the system. A savior is needed to turn the tide of the war. This is Christian theology 101.
We find out later that one of the freedom fighters had grown tired of the fight and realizes that it was easier when he was ignorant of the whole war. He wanted to return to a place where he didn’t have to worry but continue his futility because he would feel comfortable. Now we do not do so overtly, but every time we fail to understand that we are on a mission field, even while we are here in America at home, we let the comforts of the place dull us to our purpose and we may as well not have one.
Some are still stuck in this box of thinking. We think if we can reclaim the capitol or regain the streets for Christ then everything will be better again. If only there was a Christian in the White House he could fix all our problems. Well we have done that and it doesn’t really work. This way of thinking is not fueled by love but by self-protection. The goal was never about creating a place where we will be comfortable but a place where people can come to find God. The feelings of safety in the country was never the issue.
Now I desire safety as much as the next guy. I want a land that values what I value. I want a place that is not overrun with sin. I don’t America to become Nineveh before it repents. I want to dwell in peace with my neighbors as Paul encourages us to do with what degree we are able. I like that. But the truth is that that may not be possible, especially when a society has not only turned its back on God but is seeking to erase him from the culture as well. If we think we live in a Christian country still then we will continue to try to make appeals to the government so everyone behaves as they ought. But when we understand we are actually in a mission field we will gain a heart of wisdom.
A missionary does not try to change the government and bemoan the lack of rights they have and struggle against the establishment, no, they infiltrate the people. They understand they are an outsider and do not have those rights. It is a grassroots movement. It is about showing the people a more excellent way. The problem is we forgot we were to infiltrate the community and instead we integrated with it.
Everyone fights for their way of life. Everyone.
I know this is a bit rebuke-y but I have realized part of the reason I am so worried about the turn of events in our land is because I don’t trust in God really. I want my own house, and my own rights, my own stuff. I love my gadgets, and my comforts and my pleasures and so I end up living like the world because these are things I fight for rather than for the souls of people. I fight for the way of life I have established.
I think this all comes down to heritage and mindset. If I believe I am an American first then I will have American ideologies. If I truly believe what Peter says: .
Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to abstain from sinful desires with war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of wrong doing they may see your good deeds and glorify God. (2 Peter 2:11-12)
Peter is calling us to two things here to understand our identity is different from those around us. We have been born into a different heavenly country. This is not our home so because of this we have different values that should cause us to have good deeds that point to God. This is what the fruit of the Spirit is all about.
This is also why Moses spends so much time and then Joshua warning the children of Israel before they enter into the land. The temptation will always be to assimilate with culture, always-continually. This is literally the purpose of the book of Deuteronomy to restate the Law because of the coming cultural temptations to abandon it, look at chapter 8 specifically.
If we think we are merely Americans then we will simply pursue the american dream. If we understand that we are strangers in this land then we may remember our purpose for being here. In the beginning of our country we were a Christian people seeking Godly things but over time we became Americans seeking peace for our Christian way of doing things. Why is that bad? May it be because we sought control rather than salvation of the indigenous people?
God is not interested in another theocracy, he wants the whole earth, the people themselves, despite the living conditions. He is away preparing a place for us after-all. We tried to create a place that was safe for Christians to dwell and instead proved to the world that the state can never replace God’s own presence. But God’s presence requires more than friendly laws, it requires submitted hearts. God doesn’t need us to prepare a place on earth for him, he is the one preparing to take us to himself, what he does want is for a dwelling place in the people’s hearts, people’s lives.
Now that control has passed to the pagans they are enforcing it the same way we were and we do not like it. This irks us because it doesn’t feel like our America anymore, but understand this: it really isn’t. If we remember we are in a mission field however that doesn’t matter as much though because we regain our purpose of souls. To the degree that stuff is a distraction from the goal is the degree that I have lost and have been assimilated.
America is the land of sinful desires realized, so how do you missionary?
See if we are not missionaries, foreigners, then we are simply citizens of Sodom and probably will want to look back when the hail falls, or worse yet, not realize we were being warned. Lot seemed content to dwell among evil but did he evangelize? Are we?
If I am not a missionary in a mission field then I am at home and I will put my feet up. The Matrix has me. I will fight to keep that safety and security if I believe I am already at home. It becomes Woe to him who tries to take my comfort, especially if I can label them as looking evil.
But shouldn’t it be woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel?