“Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent on things eternal.’#valleyofvision
I came across this tweet the other day, that for me, summarizes how a Christian should approach those political, social, and economic events that surround their lives on a daily basis. In other words – how we approach life on this earth.
First, recognizing that these events are temporal, is an important step in coming to terms with the fact that there is much more at stake than political agendas, social reforms, judicial appointments, and the breakdown of public discourse. Those things are all cloaked in brevity, and their course can change according to the whims or dogmas of the time.
Eternity, and where each of us will spend it, is at stake – for Christians and non-Christians alike. We should therefore have our eyes fixed on things that have eternal, rather than temporal relevance.
“Among the mature, however, we speak a message of wisdom–but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.” 1 Corinthians 2:6
Paul goes on to say this, in his epistle to the Philippians:
“With my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
The Matthew Henry Commentary provides, what I feel, is a spot-on interpretation of Paul’s epistle, and one that is applicable today, particularly where the once abnormal is being normalized in our culture and discourse; where religious leaders are forming unholy alliances with immoral political leaders, and where we feel forced as a church, and as individuals, to acknowledge those things that are contrary to the teachings of Christ, as normal – all in the name of tolerance.
“Believers make Christ all in all, and set their hearts upon another world. If they differ from one another, and are not of the same judgment in lesser matters, yet they must not judge one another; while they all meet now in Christ, and hope to meet shortly in heaven. Let them join in all the great things in which they are agreed, and wait for further light as to lesser things wherein they differ. The enemies of the cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites. Sin is the sinner’s shame, especially when gloried in. The way of those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but death and hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shall share their end. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where his Head and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly; he sets his affections upon things above; and where his heart is, there will his conversation be.”
Christian believers need to accept, that by holding true to scriptural teachings, they will become more and more out of step with the cultural norms of this Post-Christian age. To enter into a marriage with what our culture considers normal, is to submit to temporal norms, while losing the “prize” of the eternal, that the Apostle Paul talks about.
This is not to say that the Christian Church should be indifferent to, or judgmental of those constituencies that dwell with us; whose lifestyles and actions run contrary to our understanding of scriptural teachings.
Churches that preach hate and condemnation, and who vent their anger and hate against gays or any other group in the name of God, have no place in the kingdom of God.
The church need always remember, that to have its eyes remain fixed on the unseen, it must keep its lens focused on casting grace instead of judgement.