Doing the Right Thing
I’d rather write about something else.
There – I said it. Taking a stand for principles of righteousness regarding biblical sexuality and marriage is not easy. It comes at a price; persecution and lack of popularity – even within some Christian circles – is part of the cost.
Currently our state is battling nondiscrimination ordinance efforts in a number of cities. (See Montana Nondiscrimination Ordinance Update.) We encourage those who consult with us to count the cost – to consider their commitment before taking a stand. (Luke 14:28)
It would seem that most believers are not able to reach outside themselves and take on the larger problems of society. For many, the “cares of this life” preclude involvement; others embrace a gospel of least resistance – which avoids conflict, controversy or rejection. Some hold fast to the “escape theology” that purports things have to get much worse before they can get better. Still others know what is biblically sound but mistakenly believe we’re not supposed to get involved.
I believe God is rallying believers to stand in these areas. He is not necessarily looking for a large army, but seeks those willing to “take up your cross and follow me.” Those who do stand must understand spiritual principles of life and death and not be afraid to lay down their lives for Him. (See Judges 7:7; Matt. 16:24-26; John 12:24-26.)
God is looking for men and women of courage unafraid to make sacrifices for Him and whom, in turn, He will honor. And sometimes bravery could best be described as just hanging in there doing the right thing.
Surrounded by Love
Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with you? (Ps. 94:20)
The Hebrew word for “law” in Psalm 94:20 could be translated as “ordinance” and can be used as extending to natural laws (Strong’s #2706). This verse reinforces the biblical principle that light has no fellowship with darkness. Specifically, laws and ordinances that elevate lifestyle choices God abhors cannot be passively accepted by those serious about advancing the kingdom. (2 Cor. 6:14; Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:22-29)
Of course, we are no longer under the old covenant of the law, but under grace. No longer are acts of sexual perversion offenses punishable by death – love is the new standard of the law. (Lev. 20:13; Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:10)
This establishes the underlying foundation for being rightly motivated in becoming involved—love. Our love for God grants the understanding that God’s heart is genuinely grieved when people—young people especially, are deceived. And our love for mankind then grants the knowledge that men cannot know what comprises the truth unless someone is willing to tell them. (See Mark 6:34; Rom. 10:17.)
And love is our means of surrender. When Jesus prayed, “Not My will but Thine,” He was surrendering in love to the will of His Father. (Luke 22:42) Love empowers us to do the right thing when it’s difficult and uncomfortable to do so. We can’t effectively stand on these issues without being completely surrounded by love.
Wise as Serpents – Harmless as Doves
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matt. 10:16)
Having God’s heart in the matter means we cannot stop praying and working to see godly fear established in our nation. Years of involvement have brought us insight into some strategies that can be helpful when utilized.
1. Prayer is obviously key. We must pray for righteousness to be established and for the fear of God to return to our nation, states and cities. It’s important to pray for strategy, wisdom, protection, and unity among believers.
2. As already stated, we must be covered by love. We must be genuinely able to love people as God loves them, and separate them from the spirits that drive them. This allows us to bless and not curse, ask the Father to forgive them, and not take rejection personally.
3. We’ve got to put the kids first. Remember that God’s heart is especially touched when young people are deceived. (Mark 9:42) The younger generation needs those who will speak the truth in love and counter the opposite voices they’re hearing.
4. Know what you know. It must be firmly settled in your mind and heart why these issues involve choice and not civil rights (from God’s perspective). And ideally you should be able to impart this knowledge to others, also. Utilize teaching resources and materials to reinforce truths in this area, as needed. (1)
5. Build a support team. Encourage pastors, leaders and concerned organizations to work together in unity. If possible, bring in outside support from Christian legal and family foundations. They can provide essential specialized knowledge and help facilitate unity among local pastors and leaders. (The gay rights movement uses similar tactics to great advantage!)
6. Be open to working with others with like-minded family values, particularly Mormons and Catholics. Personally, we have experienced some of our strongest support from these groups! As you trust God to model His heart through you, He will draw these people closer to Himself.
7. Be willing to serve in places of influence where decisions are made and policies are set – such as school boards, city councils and local governments – as the Lord directs. And encourage others in your sphere of influence to consider also serving. In our state, it’s fairly typical to have a largely conservative city or town with an elected majority of liberals in governance. It is crucial that godly men and women allow God to use them in places of societal influence. The absence of believers in places of power has exacerbated the situation we now find ourselves in.
8. Become familiar with opposing strategies. Pay attention to news releases and similar resources. Often the best source of information comes from opposition web and social media sites. Their strategies are not usually hidden – you just have to watch for them.
As an example, Republicans hold the majority in the Montana State Legislature. Consequently, the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and the Montana Human Rights Network are leading efforts for local nondiscrimination ordinances – because their efforts to get a state law have failed. (And these groups acknowledge this strategy.) We are currently leading efforts to raise awareness across the state so that believers can unite and not be caught off guard when their city is targeted.
When it comes to same-sex marriage legislation, obviously there is upheaval right now, as some states’ same-sex marriage bans have been overturned. Even with the current situation in many states in flux, we still advocate awareness of the opposition’s strategy. You can bet that they have one – whether Christians are aware of it or not is the question!
To use our state as an example again, Montana does have a constitutional definition of marriage as one-man and one-woman. But in light of recent developments where Federal judges have ruled that such constitutional amendments violate the U.S. constitution, same-sex marriage proponents are adjusting their strategy. (2) In other words, expect strategies to be changing rapidly.
9. Remember to wait upon the Lord to renew your strength. (Isa. 40:31) The intensity and volatility associated with these issues can prove exhausting for those involved. The strength that comes from resting and waiting on the Lord will be the difference in going the distance.
It may seem like we can’t win this battle, but we can remind ourselves that the battle is not ours but the Lord’s! As watchmen over our nation and cities, we will answer for the positions we take on these issues.
Win or lose, we can’t quit without a fight. Lord, I pray, raise up warriors of the Spirit who are willing to fight!
• That our nation might fear God and turn to righteousness. (2 Chron. 7:14)
• That godly men and women of courage would stand strong for principles of biblical sexuality and marriage. (Ps. 27:14)
• That the Lord Himself would fight for us, and join us in this battle! (2 Chron. 20:15)
• Ask the Lord what your role is in defending principles of biblical sexuality.
• Consider serving in cultural places of influence and encourage others to also serve as the Lord directs.
(1) For further study on the topic of choice vs. civil rights, consider watching the video Homosexuality and Political Correctness.