We can hear the voices of concern, “Confidently charge into the future? With all this uncertainty? How can anyone be confident about the future when France, Germany, and London have all entered month long lockdowns, and COVID infection numbers are on the rise in the USA? How can anyone charge into the future confidently when the supporters of Presidential candidates attack one another with ferocity unremembered from generations passed? How can we be about the future with threats of rioting, looting, and violence from groups if election results are not to their liking?”
Ok, we admit there is an abundance of uncertainty. There is an abundant supply of uneasiness providing sufficient emotional raw material for anyone to build a wall of worry rivaling the Wall of China! Still, we are committed to the belief that Christians can, and should, approach the future with confidence, and charge ahead confidently. After all, we have Christ’s personal promise, “Be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)
Charging confidently into the future can be difficult. It runs counter to human nature. It is not unlike Jehaziel telling Jehoshaphat to send his army into a valley of ambush against the massive Ammonite, Moabite, and Meunite armies…and then having Jehoshaphat decide to send the choir into battle in front of the army! (2 Chronicles 20). However, God has shown throughout history that he fulfills his promises to those who obediently follow his guidance! So…charge ahead confidently we can!
We can charge confidently into the future, even in the event our own government opposes, even persecutes Christians! Much of the political fervor among Christians is based upon religious freedom and the opposition to abortion. This makes sense, but Jesus has proven to empower and encourage His people in the face of fierce opposition. From the earliest days following Pentecost (Peter and John were arrested, Stephen was martyred, Paul was stoned and left for dead, et al) to the current depraved persecution of the church in North Korea, Somalia, Eritrea, and beyond Christ has stood beside believers. Certainly, we should pray for our government to allow us to live peaceful, godly lives. We should pray for them in the hope that we may be left alone. However, Scripture is honest that governments often persecute Christians. The first century church endured persecution during the rule of both Nero and Domitian. So today, in spite of future political uncertainty, we may charge forward confidently with Christ by our side!
We can charge confidently into the future, even in the face of strident disagreement and potential division among believers! Can we be honest? Can we admit that there has been disagreement and division among believers since the early days of the church…and Jesus has kept his promise to remain by our side.
An amazing thing happened in the early weeks after Pentecost. Scripture says, “All the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” (Acts 2:44-45) Now, this was not the establishment of a commune. People still owned personal property, but they were willing to sell some of it to meet needs, because people were united. Unfortunately, the unity did not last, because humans have a tendency to disagree and divide from one another. Not long after these days of unity, the church became embroiled in a war of race and nationality as shown in Acts 6. Some believers felt their families were not cared for as much as others due to their ethnic origin and “heart language.” Jesus was by the side of the Apostles, and the Holy Spirit led them to a solution. When God moved to bring the all-encompassing Gentile nations into the kingdom, some disagreed and only God’s wisdom brought a solution again. Scripture shows that believers in Corinth were divided by people’s behavior. The church in Thessalonica suffered division over the belief of the timing of Christ’s return, some even quitting all labor to “wait faithfully” for His return. Paul gave instruction to Titus about how to handle division, because human beings are prone to pride!
All anyone need do is spend 30 minutes on Facebook or Twitter to find believers fiercely divided about politics. However, politics is not the only source of division. There is fierce division about the nature of the activity in the church, some claiming that social justice is equal to evangelism while others disagree. There is a wide divergence of opinion about both the veracity and the value of philosophies such as Critical Race Theory and whether or not it is even compatible with a Christian worldview.
Some have said that the greatest challenge the church faces going forward is unity. While we agree this is a challenge, we believe the greater challenge is will the church believe Jesus’ promise that he will never leave us. We believe the greater challenge is will we, as followers of Jesus, act upon this promise and charge confidently into the future. We believe unity will follow a decisive, confident charge into the future by Christ’s disciples as they demonstrate reliance upon Jesus’ promise! This unity may occasionally prove fragile during challenging times when individuals disagree on individual elements of teaching and how teaching applies to events, but it will come.
The days in which we live are challenging. A virus, political differences, and the threats of violence and social upheaval may have shaken us to the core of our being. However, there is one unassailable promise that lies before us. Jesus is walking by our side throughout these (or even more horrific) events. It is time to take Jesus at his word and charge confidently into the future, relying upon his Word, his wisdom, and his Spirit. The only question remaining is, “Will we?”