“I want to tell you something that perhaps no one has told you before,” Pastor Foley paused in the middle of his sermon. He searched the faces of each one of the people before him—the North Korean, the Chinese, the South Korean, the American. “To be a Christian means to always be behind enemy lines.”
While true in every time, the events of this past week have given these words a certain clarity.
In North Korea, Christians must choose whether to bend a knee to the Kim family, or risk being imprisoned for following their Lord. In China, Christians must seriously consider whether following Christ is worth the next wave of persecution.
But what about Christians in South Korea, America, or other democracies with freedom of religion? Religious freedom and democratic societies can be wonderful things. In them, Christians do not need to worry about being imprisoned for their faith. By and large, it is legal for us to evangelize. Does this mean that we are not behind enemy lines?
On the contrary, we are in constant danger of becoming the very enemy we face.
Our countries are filled with ideologies which we are invited to participate in. We can become a part of the conservative party, the liberal party, or anything in between. We can believe that capitalism is the answer, we can boast a strong Christian tradition in socialism, or we can point to Tolstoy’s tie between Christianity and Anarchism. America and South Korea are full of ideologies; but we face the constant temptation to shape God based around our own ideology.
Will we put our trust in governments? Will we protest against our governments? Will we destroy the relationships which God has given us because of political differences? Will we build relationships solely on the basis of our political parties?
By doing these things, we are subordinating our God to our own governments and political ideologies. We are creating a Golden Calf based on the thoughts and ideas of our own ideologies.
But God is so much greater than these ideologies.
“There is a time for everything,” the author of Ecclesiastes writes. Governments and political parties each have their time. One day each one will be but words overlooked in a history textbook.
But God remains.
Today, pause. Ask yourself, “who is my God?” Am I bending a knee to ideologies? Am I looking to find God in fleeting political parties or governments?
God is the unchanging truth who limits himself to no ideology and no political party. Regardless of the government, regardless of the party in power, God expects his Christians to act the same. We are to be spiritual White Tigers, bringing his love into a world which hates us.
“Only one person is worth dying for,” Pastor Foley told his congregation. “And his name is Jesus Christ.”
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