FIRST Focus

I received a text a few days ago from a friend who shared a quote from Tony Evans, Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. The text read, "If we really want to change our country for good, we should just get Christians to live as Christians." And that started me thinking. Such a goal is possible but only as we who identify with Christ are enjoying a healthy relationship with Jesus as Lord.

If you have ever heard Tony Evans speak you won't soon forget it. You will soon realize that he speaks from his heart, and he speaks from the Word of God as the Spirit of God enables him. God has and continues to use this faithful servant in so many ways to promote the gospel of grace throughout the world.

There are many in Christian circles who discuss, even debate with others about the core condition of our country. In fact, it seems there are few conversations of any length that do not touch on the subject in some way. Concerns about where we are as a nation and what the best path forward remains prominent. It seems many talk about it, some even with passion who do nothing else. While addressing the problem with honesty is a great start, a response to act on one's core convictions is essential for anything to change.

Sixteenth century Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke once said, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

And three-hundred years later, it appears that evil is on the rise in our country while 'good' seems more comfortable with hiding in the closet.

There is a lot of talk in our country about change that is sourced in the natural instead of the supernatural. And the evidence of that truth is shared with the world through our daily walk.

Christians will not live as Christians naturally. They cannot. This kind of life can only be lived consistently when the believer is being supernaturally sourced by the Spirit of God. And that can only occur as my will is submissive to my Lord's will. Again, easy to say, maybe easier to hear. But the reward comes in the doing, not just in the hearing (James 1:22).

Permit me to share a biblical example of such supernatural living that is consistently Christ-like.

This scripture is found in Ephesians 4:31-32. "Let ALL bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you."

What impact would this kind of supernatural living have on our marriages? Our families? Our friendships? Our fellowship at church? Our community? Our state? Our country? Our world? I believe you and I would witness how God defines genuine revival and spiritual awakening. I also believe that nothing will change until those who profess Christ as Savior permit His presence to define who we are, direct where we go, and determine what we do or do not do. That is the first step of good people who desire to be godly. It is not external but internal. This supernatural work of grace sets in motion the healing of marriages where forgiveness is essential IF we desire to live as Christians instead of just leaning toward Christianity as many appear to be doing. Many are Christian when it's convenient and they aren't when it's costly. Jesus had something to say about that in Matthew 16:24.

John Meador, Pastor at First Baptist Church, Euless Texas shares the following--"It's difficult to lay aside all the normal human responses to the hard realities of life and live the Christlike way. Who among us hasn't struggled with bitterness against someone who betrayed us, wrath against evil intentions, and the whole range of these responses when we're at our worst? It's natural to respond in this manner. But it is not supernatural. And that is the issue. God calls us to a supernatural life in Christ." end

And that is what Ephesians 4:31-32 commands of Christians who desire Christ. In fact, God will not accept anything less from those who are being conformed to His image. Truth is, on your best day and on mine, we cannot live a bitter free life apart from being filled with His Spirit. We will not forgive those who have hurt us or those who hate us without being filled with the Spirit. We will not return good for evil without being filled with His Spirit. We will not! We may say we do or have, but we won't because we can't without Christ as Lord! And we don't because it is often inconvenient or too costly to the natural part of us, the flesh. However, the supernatural depends on Christ and in so doing discovers anyone can do all things through Christ who strengthens them (Philippians 4:13). And little by little, as the Church is conformed to the image of God's Son (Romans 8:29), the community and country change accordingly.

Bottom line--we who have embraced grace must be being filled with His Spirit. That simply will not happen unless we desire first to be free of the flesh. That is where victory in Jesus is realized!

As Americans and as American Christians, we did not get where we are in a few weeks or a few months. And we won't get back overnight either! However, all things are possible when Christians start living like Christ in the community in which the Lord has strategically placed us rather than just leaning toward Christianity when it is popular or profitable to do so.

If you really want to see the tide of transforming faith rise in our community and country, permit God to change your heart. And you will see the Lord change your home and anything you are connected with closely.

If you don't want to see that, then keep doing what you are doing (the natural thing) and evil will surely continue to do its thing, at least until the Lord deals a death blow to evil and all who embrace it.

There is a better day coming! And we don't necessarily have to wait until Jesus comes to take us out of this world to see it. Remember, God has left us here for a purpose and if you're reading this, your assignment isn't over!


Have courage as you continue the journey of faith!


Pstr K

Jeremiah 29:11