Recently, I have thought a great deal about what Revelation 2:10 actually means for a follower of Jesus in 2020. The verse says, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (NKJ) It caused me to ask myself, what am I willing to die for?
Our nation is suffering severe convulsions. The foundations that have guided our nation for 244 years are being rocked. Events unimaginable in January 2020 are happening before our very eyes. In light of the sweeping cultural changes we are witnessing, I have diligently prayed Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” I have prayed that, not rhetorically, but to genuinely seek wisdom about what I am to do personally in the current political environment in which we find ourselves.
The struggle for the soul of America is being waged in our generation. While still open, the window of freedom is beginning to close. People who have freedom will never willingly give up that freedom unless they are deceived into doing it. The decisions we make now as a nation will impact our individual freedoms and livelihoods for generations to come.
Let me give you one example that impacts us as believers. We are witnessing Christians willingly giving up their First Amendment right to religious liberty in exchange for the promise of health security. “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NKJ)Our natural desire as Christians is to do what is right by others. We don’t want to be responsible for getting anyone sick with COVID and possibly causing their death from exposure to the virus. Churches did their civic duty to “flatten the curve.”
They voluntarily closed their doors to help the community fight the spread of the virus. Easter 2020 was the first time in 670 years that churches were closed around the world. Not since the Black Plague from 1347 to 1351 were Easter Services not held. Keeping churches closed has now become compulsory. Those churches who are in open defiance of government mandates to remain closed are having their electricity and water shut off to make it as difficult as possible to reopen.
These recent events are disorienting and intimidating. A new Cato national survey finds that “self‐censorship is on the rise in the United States. Nearly two-thirds—62%—of Americans say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive.” (Cato Institute, July 22, 2020 Survey Reports) Nobody enjoys being persecuted for their beliefs.
Edmund Burke, in a letter to Thomas Mercer in the 1790’s wrote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It would appear that evil is gaining the upper hand in America. Evil is nothing new. But for Christian Americans not being able to recognize evil is new. Our generation is largely ignorant of what is taught in the Bible. We are unable to heed the warning in Isaiah 5:20-23; “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!”
As followers of Jesus, when the foundations are being destroyed, what are the righteous to do?
I have asked myself, “Ok, where am I willing to draw a line in the sand? Where am I willing to take my stand? If it came to it, am I willing to fight and die for what I believe?”
Those are tough questions for me to answer. I recently went back to study the life of the Apostles. Did you know, that with the exception of the Apostle John, they each died for what they believed?
Matthew was killed by a sword. Mark was dragged by horses through the town until he was dead. Luke was hanged. Peter was crucified upside down. James was thrown from the temple pinnacle and then beaten to death. Nathanial was flayed to death with a whip. Andrew was crucified. Thomas was speared to death. Jude was executed by arrows. I could go on but the point is that the Apostles were willing to die for what they believed. Do I have that kind of courage? I would like to think so, but one never knows until placed in that situation.
If history is our guide, evil will continue to press in and take hold until the righteous stand in the gap. As the psalmist wrote, “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war. (Psalm 120:7, NKJ) Evil has declared war on the righteous. As much as we desire peace for ourselves and our families, it is never easily achieved. Once achieved it must be vigilantly maintained.
What can you do?
- When evil ravages children they are left with significant, life altering trauma. Trauma Informed Care training is helping parents and teachers to help students in that situation.
- Know your rights under the U.S. Constitution by attending one of our Constitution Classes.
- Pray for our nation and our city by getting involved with Steps to Prayer. Pray for your neighbors on your street using the Encounter Outreach app on your phone.
What can you do?
- Join 4Tucson to meet other Christians who want to change the world.
- Join a local church. Without the Lord you will never reach your full potential.
- Be part of the solution by attending a Discover your Purpose Workshop and discover how God created you to for such a time as this.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJ)
–Written by Mark Harris