The hottest topic in churches around Houston is the subpoenas that were served upon Houston pastor’s by the mayor. Naturally, this ignites fiery conversations about our first amendment right to free speech, as well as the separation of church and state. But rather than simply grow angry over this situation, let’s do something about it.
Rather than simply gather together to tell each other how angry we are, let’s deliver a message that the city will actually pay attention to. All Christians should speak the language that the city speaks: money. We should stop buying goods in the city of Houston. I feel sure you think I am out of my mind, but hear me out.
Shopping outside Houston would cut into the sales tax that the city would receive. This can be done without a harsh word or anger and send a very clear message. While the mayor may not appreciate the Word of God, she does appreciate your money. For many, this will be very inconvenient but often it is inconvenient to be right. We do have a number of options: Bellaire, Pearland, West University and many others.
Now, having said that, we must also understand this as it relates to how we glorify God. We cannot fall into the temptation of promoting people and movements that are simply attacking bad behavior in our culture. Granted, it is not wrong to condemn immoral behavior. But it is wrong to retreat quickly while throwing rocks at the world until we make it to our spiritual bunker where we hide from the culture that surrounds us.
That is pharisaic and flawed in its very nature. We are not to deal with the world at an arm’s length. It is so easily seen when the anger aimed at our community is more passionate than the prayers for those same people later that evening at the prayer meeting.
This will change when we move from under the tree of good and evil to the shade of the tree of life. Those that live by the life of Christ do not act as though they are morally superior to others. Although they stand separate from the world, they embrace those that have been hurt by the world, confused, and defiled. So on one hand we are believers “set apart from sinners,” but on the other hand, we are friends of sinners. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. - Hebrews 7:26
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” - Matthew 11:19
Christ never changes and so the very compassion and love for the brokenhearted and rejected that drew men and women to Him 2000 years ago, still does. That is often times the missing piece in the church’s relation to the culture today. If we live under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then we act like Pharisees. If we live under the tree of life, we will be empowered to go into the godless culture around us as servants of the one true God that they do not acknowledge.
It is critical for us to live the life of Christ that is in us so that we can display the same Jesus who shook the world. His culture, conquered sin and death, set the captives free, and lives forevermore. When you enter into a dark place, it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
It is imperative that we move beyond the religious knowledge of good and evil and fully yield to the life of Christ that beats within the heart of every child of God. Human energy in the work of God won’t cut it. It’s one thing to work for God. It is another to work with God. And it’s still another thing to have God work through you. The work of God is God himself at work.
The latter only happens when we are living under the tree of life and Christ becomes the motivation and the source of our service. In this way, we discover what it means to serve in the Lord’s energy rather than our own and we will no longer pick up rocks to throw at our enemies, but will pick up our cross and love our enemies.