Bummer. The Twins lost the Wildcard game last night. It was a late night for this cat.
One can’t escape the turmoil going on in the world. Everywhere we look, we see people fighting about something. Not debating, mind you. Arguing and fighting. People get really, really upset. All are claiming so-and-so is violating his or her rights. I deserve this or I deserve that. It’s chaos, I tell you. It really is. On top of it, we are told it is our right to fight for our rights. Right?
What really are our rights? I suppose that depends on to whom we pledge allegiance and whether or not that source is capable of granting them to you. In the United States, we have a basic framework granted to us in our Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Still, that isn’t cut and dried. We have political parties who pass laws in favor of particular rights, often at the expense of other rights. We have judges who individually or collectively decide based upon their particular worldview. The result is turmoil as football players take a knee during the anthem to the uproar of the fans. Now we have the Las Vegas shootings. It’ll be a non-stop gun debate until the next headline news story come around. Interesting, isn’t it? Our troubles with Iran and North Korea seem to have disappeared in the midst of hurricanes and boycotts.
Is it all worth the angst trying to keep up with it all? Maybe we’re playing the wrong game by trying. What really are our “rights”? I’m reminded of these two verses:
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father or our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
2 Peter 1:2 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
As Christians, our rights are granted to us by God through the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. Our rights are with regards to heavenly things. Here’s a couple verses that should drive this point home:
Matthew 6: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
So, really, the only rights that matter are the rights given to us by God the Father. Not only that, but he provides us the means to claim such rights. Of course, we have our obligations that come with the package, but these are always heavenly obligations. As Paul tell Timothy, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Timothy 2:4)
For me, it is important to remember I am rewarded deeply with the things money can’t buy when I am focused on Jesus: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. With regards to our interaction with the world, we have this tidbit at the end of our bible:
Revelation 22:11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
With regard to those rights “given” to us by government, I can think of only one instance in the bible, offhand, that someone made a point of exercising one:
Acts 25:11-12 If then I [Paul] am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then Festus, when he had conferred with this council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed, to Caesar you shall go.”
It was there, while waiting in prison for his day before Caesar, Paul wrote many of his letters.
Doesn’t it make sense, therefore, to look for opportunities in all this turmoil to do right and still be holy? What might that be? May I suggest look for opportunities to share the gospel – and then do it. This may take many forms, but I am quite certain that you will need to actually use your lips to tell people about Jesus. Furthermore, you will know if you are on the right track when you enjoy the fruits of the Spirit, especially in the midst of the trouble and persecution you are certain to face as a radical follower of Jesus. If you lose your peace and other fruit, you will know that you are going down the wrong path.
Father, keep our eyes on Jesus so that we may tell a sick and dying world about the life that is in Him. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers