We live in a wasteful society where remnants are generally thrown away or ignored. Yet, as every granny knows, the most beautiful quilts are often made from the leftover remnants. They form a beautiful mosaic of forgotten remembrances from the past that is treasured by generations to come.
There was once a time in America when people knew where Christians stood. Before the modern hypergrace movement and recent Christian-consumerism became the norm, Christians were considered respectable, honest, noble and generally someone to be emulated. They were people of integrity who stood for the cross—even in the face of opposition. Christians were the “good guys.” They wore the “white hat,” didn’t give in to their temptations and made an honest living. Christians were honored as the pillars of a strong society.
These days seem to have gone away … If you ask the common person on the street the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian, their response will probably be that one goes to church and one doesn’t. Obviously, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.
This has happened because some “Christians” have abandoned the call to take up their cross and follow Christ. Far too many have settled for the superficial, shallow, consumeristic and ultimately heretical version of Christianity that now permeates American culture.
A few years ago, my wife, Ada, and I went to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ playoff game against the New York Giants. Remember way back when the Bucs used to make the playoffs? We sat among all Giant fans. They were belligerent, rude and constantly taunted Bucs fans.
I kept thinking: “This isn’t right! I’m not supposed to feel like an outcast at our own stadium!” I would expect it if I went to their stadium, but not our home stadium! In the same way, some might say “Isn’t America a Christian nation, founded on godly values and principles! Why can’t I root for my God on His home turf! Why am I being harassed when the majority of our nation still claim to be Christian?”
The answer is relatively simple. The Christianity practiced by many today has no allegiance to Christ. It is no longer a call to die, to take up your cross, and surrender your whole self to The Lord—it is now a counterfeit; take up your cross when convenient (or emotional), follow God if/when he blesses you … and at all costs, only sacrifice when absolutely necessary. While most Americans still claim to be Christians, they actually despise Christ’s teachings. So we find ourselves amidst a culture that’s increasingly hostile toward Biblical Christianity and its views.
Depressed yet? This lack of genuine Christianity can make the true believer feel heartbroken and alone. Isolated. Like you’re the only one left.
If you feel like this, the good news is that you’re actually in good company. Elijah, arguably the greatest Old Testament prophet, felt the same way. He felt so alone that he even had a mental breakdown in I Kings 19 and prayed to die! Hopefully you haven’t gotten that depressed. In Romans 11, the Apostle Paul is commentating on this account of Elijah and he writes this: