“Would Jesus wear a face mask?” I asked this question at ladies Bible study last night. My stubborn, stiff-necked, rebellious heart didn’t like the answer that came back from the ladies: “yes.” My heart knows that the answer is right, but I don’t like it. Like other American’s, I love my rights, and I don’t want to lay them down. I have been searching God’s word for a loophole – anything — that would provide justification for civil disobedience on the mask mandates. I haven’t found it.
Writing the letters to the church in Corinth – specifically 1 Corinthians – Paul addresses a laundry list of disputes in the church, including eating meat offered to idols. On these issues, Paul says in 1Corinthians 6:12 and again in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial” (HCSB). To paraphrase, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 10:24, “no one is to seek his own good but the good of the other person.” Paul sums it up in 1 Corinthians 10:31 when he says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything fo the glory of God” (HCSB, emphasis supplied).
What does this have to do with masks? As American’s the Constitution and Bill of Rights gives us individual freedoms. However, as I read and study, God says that whatever we do, “do everything for the glory of God.” Wearing a face mask does not meet the threshold for civil disobedience. On the contrary, if you have a terrible rebellious attitude like me, it does not glorify God. It wrecks my witness for Jesus in my community. As we navigate these bizarre times as American Christians, it is essential to remember that the word of God trumps the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. American Christians have to be very careful that while exercising our American freedoms that we are not creating a stumbling block or creating a contrary testimony.
My personal opinions about wearing face masks haven’t changed – I still doubt their efficacy and safety. But, wearing a face mask isn’t in violation of God’s word (again, I’ve checked), so for me, God is calling me to submit and be obedient to Him.
Grace and truth. Bless or curse. Speak or remain silent. Act or don’t act. Civil obedience or civil disobedience. In these turbulent days of 2020, I feel like the Body of Christ is walking a tightrope trying to balance these issues that all seem so diametrically opposed to each other. Which is the right choice? I believe the answer from God is “BOTH.”
Robert Madu’s sermon, “Living Between Tension & Grace” really hits the mark on this issue. John 1:14 says that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father full of grace and truth.” The Body has swung wildly from one side of grace where we can’t say or do anything that is “not positive” or “makes people feel uncomfortable,” to the other side of “the truth hurts” so here, let me beat you over the head with scripture. Neither of those extremes is right or correct. The truth lies in the middle where there is balance.
Physical fitness experts will tell you that to have good balance you have to have strong core muscles. The same is true to be spiritually balanced. Core spiritual muscles are developed in intimate prayer and study of scripture. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus found it necessary to have alone time with Abba, Father. To know what the Father feels, says, does and what Abba wants us to feel, say, and do, we have to be connected to Him. The Body of Christ will never find balance without building these core muscles. Each of us individually, will never find balance without that time building our relationship with Abba, Father.
Where are you out of balance? Too much truth given with a bat? Too much grace because you want to be nice? The answer is between you and God. In these turbulent times, you need to be able to hear what God is saying and be bold enough to follow through with what He asks. Find your balance, build your spiritual muscle — Get alone with God. Be obedient to what He asks you to do or say.
It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.
It is the grace of God that empowers us to live obedient to His call.
It is the mercy of God that delivers us from what we deserve.
It is the truth of God that gives us freedom and deliverance.
It is the love of God that covers our sins.
It is obedient faith to God that allows kindness, grace, mercy, truth, and love to flow in and through us.
It is quite evident that mainstream media appears to be biased — if not outright propaganda factories. Down is up, left is right, right is wrong, suppression of free speech by anyone opposing the radical left narrative is censored. Given these blatant and vicious lies, I — like millions of others — have followed the white rabbit down the hole of what was formerly called conspiracy theories. Today a family member forwarded me a link to a video discussing the moves and countermoves of the radical, Marxist left agenda. Frankly, if true, this would result in the presidential election being nullified, and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, being made “interim” President of the United States. This sequence of events is connected to the voter fraud that will be brought about by mail-in votes. Terrifying, right? What should those in the Body of Christ do? How do we line this up with God’s written word?
Regardless of what you think, feel or believe about following the white rabbit down the conspiracy hole, you must remember that:
- God is JEHOVA SABAOTH — the LORD OF ARMIES (Psalm 84:12).
- It is God who “will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
- The Body of Christ must remember that we are to PRAY and then SPEAK or DO whatever God leads us individually to do.
- BE AWARE that this is a SPIRITUAL BATTLE manifesting in the earthly plane. Remember, we are to wrestle against the powers, principalities, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
- Don’t be afraid, God is in control, but you must engage and participate. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I say this with all love, but, you can’t stick your head in the sand. This IS NOT JUST POLITICS BECAUSE IT IS AN ELECTION YEAR IN THE USA. You must engage in the battle even at the risk of your reputation and relationships.
The moves and countermoves are in the hand of the Lord of Armies. It’s our prayers that move the Hand of God
Like you – I am tired of this whole pandemic nightmare. My personal Facebook news feed this week is filled with conspiracy theories – local and global. People shredding and accusing looking for someone to blame. As hard as it is, I am choosing to keep my focus on Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” None of us know exactly how this pandemic came to be, but God is allowing us to go through this trial to perfect our faith. None of us know the details of how this pandemic came to be or how and when it will end. But this I do know: I (we) have to walk through this holding onto God’s hand. Keep your focus and don’t lose sight of Him.
Be encouraged today, He is on the throne, He will not leave us alone. Allow Him to do what He needs to do in you and those around you.
Yes, Abba, I tend to be more than just a little bit judgmental: always looking for the flaws, sins, and shortcomings of others. Lord, help me to change my focus: to see others through your eyes of compassion and grace.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Tonight I had a profoundly moving pity party. Like a lot of people, I am tired of the inconvenience and awkwardness isolation has caused in our lives. After cutting my thumb tonight, I fell apart and sobbed. I whined about the arrows on the floor of the grocery I store that kept an orderly flow of traffic. I cried about going to church tomorrow in a parking lot. Feeling very sorry for myself, I wrote a lot about my tale of woe and suffering. Then quietly, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “really”?
During this global pandemic, many people are no doubt inconvenienced. This inconvenience pales in comparison to the tireless efforts of healthcare workers and others on the front lines of this battle. And, let us not forget the families who have lost loved ones to or are coping with the virus. Indeed, the inconvenience of those who are still healthy is not a primary concern. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, the Apostle Paul says, “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (CSB). Right now, we are only enduring a momentary light affliction.
Tomorrow, along with my church family, municipal leaders, and invited law enforcement, our local church will have our service in the parking lot. The whole thing is weird and awkward. But, if Jesus endured the cross for me, can’t I take the weird and awkward for Him? In 1 Peter 1:3, we are told, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy [,] he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (CSB). Church in the parking lot is temporary. The hope we have in Jesus is eternal. In this time of momentary affliction, I choose to focus on the eternal. What will be your focus?
There are no small things in the kingdom of God. Listening to Pastor Luke Frechette’s 2020 Palm Sunday video during a global pandemic, this statement cut to the heart. You see, God told me years ago to create a blog and begin writing. I was obedient, sort of. I secured the domain name, created a logo (branding is essential, right?). Like Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3 and 4, I can provide a long list of reasons why God should look elsewhere:
- I don’t know how to write.
- Who would want to listen to me?
- Can I write under a pseudonym? I want to share my heart, but I don’t want people to know me.
- I don’t have anything of value to add.
I have an endless list of justifications for my disobedience to God. As I sit here today, it is taking everything within me to post this, to accept that “good enough” is permissible. I want a plan. But, God doesn’t give us the next step of the program or the interim goals. God is a God of progressive revelation (again, hats off to you, Pastor Luke). We simply get to do it one step at a time, not knowing what is coming next. As soon as we are obedient to the first step He has given us, then He will provide us with the next.
Today I stand before God and each of you repenting of my rebellion. I don’t know what God wants to do with Aging Awkwardly. But if it touches one heart, just one person, that’s OK. Because there are no small things in the kingdom of God.
“But I consider my life of no value to myself;
My purpose is finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus,
To testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 (CSB)
“Before I formed
you in the womb I knew you.
Before you were
born I set you apart,
I appointed you as
a prophet to the nations.”
I’m still not quite sure why I do it, but, I always try to
“develop” myself into something else.
Under the guise of “plan, do, study, act” I look at my failures, try to
“develop” those failures out so that I become a better version of myself. For all intents and purposes, that’s not a
bad thing. But, somehow, something in me
takes it to a different level that involves battling thoughts of illegitimacy,
being a fraud, stupid, uneducated, worthless, rejected. My most recent failure set the cycle off all
over again. This time though, I want to
let God speak. Maybe it’s not a
failure. Maybe it’s his will that puts
me on a different path. Just maybe this
is part of his process in changing me into what he purposed for me from before
I was even born. Just maybe I can relax
and trust his process.
My prayer for today is that God’s voice and his love for me
would speak louder to me than the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). Help me to trust his process to develop me
into what he wants not what I think I need to be. Only God can equip me for the purpose that he
created me to fulfill.