The title above may not be the best choice, but my goal is to prepare us for what may lie ahead. To be clear: Christians, in many cases, are to comply, but when compliance becomes capitulation (surrendering what you know to be right), we are operating in fear rather than faith.
Is There an Election on the Horizon?
It appears that mask mandates, more jabs, social distancing and fear-driven politics may be resurfacing as President Biden plans to ask Congress for funding to develop a new COVID vaccine, and may require shots for all Americans.
Roman Balmakov also recently reported that "colleges are reinstituting their COVID mandates," and "a major Hollywood studio is bringing back mask mandates, contact tracing and even mandatory COVID tests; and the federal government is buying up brand new COVID supplies in bulk, hiring advisers and investing over a billion dollars in new vaccines."
Is it just a coincidence that there is a major election coming up? Many are calling the next variant the "election variant" for this very reason. It could also be the final reset that many globalists have been pushing.
Wisdom and Discernment are Key
In all seasons of life, we are called to use wisdom and discernment. For example, we now have a plethora of information about masks and how they offer false hope. Very serious issues have also been raised about the experimental mRNA drug as well as isolating people. Albert Einstein once cautioned, "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important affairs." He also said that science must be questioned!
The main challenge for believers in times like these is to properly balance submission with resistance and boldness with love. We must be slow to speak, but we also must speak the truth. Make sure that you are full of the Word to dispel the darkness, and that your words and actions are guided by humility.
Passivity has Parameters
Christians should not have a rebellious spirit, but we are called to be confrontational when the truth is at stake. If passivity is the goal, then Jesus really blew it because he confronted and challenged many, including the Sanhedrin (a governing body).
I also often imagine him rebuking child groomers and pushers of perversion: "It would be better for you if a heavy weight were hung around your neck, and you were thrown into the sea than to hurt a little child" (paraphrasing Luke 17:2).
Yes, He would point them to hope through the cross, but He would also point them to repentance and the eternal consequences of their actions, telling them to "Go and sin no more."
Different but United
To be sure, not everyone is called to be bold and outspoken; we have different callings, and we should not be quick to judge others. For every bold Elijah confronting the king, there's a low-key Obadiah hiding God's prophets. And for every soothing gospel of John, there's a hard-hitting epistle of Jude.
But we all should be united in exposing the works of darkness, and be bold enough to confront a wicked and perverse culture while at the same time, lovingly pointing them to the cross.
The church in America is in serious trouble and this should increase our intensity to contend for the truth. Cowardliness is contagious, but so is courage.
Romans 13: Context is King
Romans 13:1 is often used by silent churches to rebuke bold ones who stand against tyranny. It reads, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God."
If we keep reading, it becomes very clear what the context is: "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil..." (Rom. 13:2-3). God's ideal for the government is to restrain evil, not to encourage it.
For Rebels, Not the Righteous
Two things are crystal clear from Romans 13: First, God calls the government to restrain evil. But many imply the opposite, saying that believers must always submit to a godless perverted agenda. Nothing could be further from the truth: When the government restrains good and promotes evil, we must take a stand. Taking a stand begins in the prayer closet. Sadly, gun safes are full but prayer closets are empty.
Second, the corrective nature of Romans 13 is for the reader to "cast off the works of evil" and to love others. It's written to those who are rebellious and arrogant. When they resist the authorities, they will be punished. Did you catch that? Romans 13 is addressing a rebellious, arrogant heart that has a problem with authority, not a humble believer standing for the truth.
When Authorities Promote Evil
In the book of Daniel, we see Daniel and the three Hebrew boys rejecting the will of the king because it would have forced them to worship a false god. In the book of Matthew, we see the wise men not returning to tell the king they found Jesus (no doubt punishable by death if found out).
In the book of Acts, the early church did not submit to the government if they were forced to sin or cause harm. Believers also disobey when they can no longer worship God. Early Christians were killed because of it. But again, if you're not filled with God's Spirit and remain humble and broken while erring on the side of grace, but instead, are allowing anger and arrogance to guide you, you will hurt others and be outside of God's will.
There Aren't Always Absolutes
Another reason we must be slow to speak and live with humility is that we don't know what someone is going through. For example, they may wear a mask to visit their child in the hospital because compliance overrides the need to resist.
Many chided those who got the vaccine to see their grandkids or feed their family; while others rebuked those who didn't get it, failing to realize that they did hours of research on the experimental drug and didn't want to rush ahead. We now know that many of their concerns were valid. Again, this is why we are to err on the side of grace.
This Must Fuel and Fill Us
We often send the wrong message when we allow anger to lead. I've been there myself and I can slip back if I don't stay close to the fountain of living water and drink deeply. Brokenness and humility while spending significant time in prayer and worship must fuel us and fill us. It's the prayer closet, not angry tirades, that help us regain lost ground.
What's going into you will be what is flowing out of you. The best way to fight this battle is to comply with God's Word and then address the inconsistencies, false narratives and demonic agendas through the power of the Spirit. Always remember: The true battle is His, not yours.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, and free downloads of his books are available at WCFAV.org. Visit him on Facebook and subscribe to his new podcast. For more biblical application on this important topic, watch his sermon, Whatever Happens Next: DO NOT COMPLY, being released on 9/3/23 (subscribe here).
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, and free downloads of his books are available at WCFAV.org. Visit him on Facebook and subscribe to his new podcast.
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