“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”
Sounds right, I guess. Sounds… responsible. Deal with reality. No wishful thinking. But does “dealing with the world” mean agreeing with it? Becoming more like it?
I guess it all depends on your perspective. What is Your perspective, Lord?
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
The words at the start of this post were spoken just two days ago by Robert Gates, President of the Boy Scouts of America. At their annual national meeting, he was calling for an end to the Scouts’ ban on gay adult leaders. He said because of certain “cascading events” — potential employment discrimination lawsuits, the impending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, mounting internal dissent over the “exclusionary policy” — he had concluded that the current rules “cannot be sustained.”
In essence, I guess he was saying it’s time for the Boy Scouts to conform to the pattern of this world.
“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country…” (Boy Scout Oath)
God? In the beginning (1910), the founder even wrote about You, Lord… explaining that the aim of Scouting was that scouts would “practice Christianity in their daily lives,” not just “profess theology” on Sundays. A worthy aim. It didn’t take long for “God” to become any “god” scouts might want to profess. But spirituality (of some kind) is still considered an important part of scouting.
Cultures change… don’t they, Lord? Why? Because foundations shift. Sometimes they crumble altogether.
We have a Gary Larson cartoon book in our bathroom. Light reading for… well, You know. 🙂 Just the other day I saw one particular cartoon I had never seen before. I guess the timing was another one of those “non-coincidences” of Yours. A guy and his friend were in the top floor of a highrise building. He was looking out the window, and called to his buddy: “Hey, come here. Have you ever noticed this before?” Several buildings next to his were shaped like dominos.
We all know what dominos do. Especially when their foundations shift.
“… everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rains… streams… wind…[came]… and that house… fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
For me, the decision by the Boy Scouts of America is heartbreaking… and also heart-fortifying. It’s a reminder that we live in a changing world, and we serve an awesome, unchanging God who is Steadfast and True. A God who loves us all so very much, You would not let our own sin — or the adversary who hates us — keep us from You. You made a way for us — You became The Way — if only we would embrace You.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am The Way and The Truth and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” (John 14:6)
It’s a reminder that our struggle as Christians is never against even those people who have their hearts set against us. Our struggle is always for those who are blind to You, Lord… those who are lost to You… those who are hurting for You, even when they don’t realize it’s You they so desperately need. This is one more trial we are to consider with joy, letting it strengthen our perseverance. We must keep encouraging each other and spurring each other on to love and good deeds… even on behalf of those who consider us enemies.
Yes, we must deal with the world as it is. Not by becoming more like it; rather, by becoming more like You, Lord.
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
That’s what we need more than ever, Lord — to be filled to overflowing with the fullness.of You! So the fruit of Your Spirit in us will shine forth in brilliant contrast to what the world is “serving up.” Where there is hatred or grief or distress, we will exude Love and Joy and Peace. We will, by Your Spirit, possess an inexaustible supply of patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… especially when the world’s defiance of such qualities would seem to render them impossible.
All we need is a daily “megadose” of You, Lord. I call it a megadose of “Vitamin JC.” The very Rx You have already dispensed to us, Lord, as our Great Physician… with free refills, forever.
How “lucky” can we get? 🙂