Understanding How To Pray Effectively is a foundational book by Everest John Alexander. Check out the details here.
An ungodly society surrounds us like the ocean surrounds an island. Sometimes the waves come pounding in and we feel that the wicked will overwhelm us. What do we do? How do we live under oppressive systems?
In some countries the oppression and persecution is direct and obvious. These people have no doubt that they live in an ungodly society. One of the problems Western Christians face is the temptation to believe they live in godly nations when the exact opposite is true. Canada, the US, and others are not Christian nations. True, they were founded on Christianity and still have many outward benefits of that heritage, but the foundation has switched to humanism. The benefits of Christianity are fading and the judgment of God will become more manifest as we go along - unless there is national repentance and restoration of the Laws of God. Western Christians must face the fact that they no longer live in a Godly society. They must begin to ask how they are to live in an ungodly society.
Part of the problem is that many Christians have become compromised in their belief system. They confess that Jesus is Lord and then proceed to support many of the enemy's programs. They have no clue that the Bible dictates how the government, the economy, the workplace, and everything else is to be operated. These are not suggestions that we may take or leave but the commands of King Jesus which must be obeyed. Nevertheless, many Christians find themselves supporting the enemy's campaign in these areas because they are clueless as to the modern applications of the Laws of God. They become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
However, there are many sincere Christians who look at the collapsing Christian system around them and wonder how they are to live. Some retreat and hope Jesus will return to rescue them. Some resent and fight ungodly government. Some try to disappear and not make any waves.
We must begin by realizing that God is in control. Why then does God allow wickedness to increase? The judgment of God comes on a nation or civilization because it has forsaken God. We often serve God with our lips and may be very religious but our heart is far from God. God commands heart obedience not only on a personal level but also on a national level. Darkness can only enter when the light is turn out.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chr. 7:14
The first step is to call on God. That means that we have to believe that He is really there and will hear us. It takes faith. We must believe that God will intervene on our behalf.
The second step is to humble ourselves and pray. True prayer is humbling. We have to admit that we cannot handle life on our own. We have to confess that we are helpless. True prayer is not demanding, but throwing ourselves on the mercy and grace of God. Proud people will never get anything from God.
The third step is to seek God's face. In other words, we have to find out how God wants our lives and the world operated. We have to lay aside our own thoughts, desires, and preconceived ideas to seek God's will in every area of life. We may have cherished ideas in politics, employer/employee relations, education, and many other things, but we have to submit all to the entire Word of God. We must believe in Biblical Law as applicable today. We must give up sensationalist "end times" theories. We must put all our beliefs on the altar and study the Word of God for His commands in every area of life.
The fourth step is forsaking our evil ways. Once we know what God expects then we must obey. We must abandon every idea or action that is shown to be contrary to God's Law - which is the entire Bible. It will mean being willing to change the way we think in key areas of life. Until Christians are willing to re-think much of their lives we, as a nation, will continue descending into increasing judgment.
On the other hand, if we will repent and abandon our sinful ways God will forgive us and will heal our land. That is the greatest secret to seeing restoration in our land. Some look for salvation by political action or social activism. For anything to be effective it must come from a foundation built on the uncompromising Word of God. To look to anyone or anything other than God for ultimate salvation is sin. It is a false confidence that will be disappointed.
As mentioned in steps 3 and 4 above, we must learn and apply the Word of God in our lives and in our sphere of influence. We must be humble people of uncompromising integrity even in an ungodly society. Daniel is an excellent example. He was not offensive or disrespectful but he refused to compromise on any command of God. Our lifestyle must reflect the love and righteousness of God. We cannot expect to lead others higher than we are willing to go ourselves.
We must begin develop genuine Christian Social Theory. In other words, we have to understand how a world committed to God would operate in EVERY practical area. We need to know the God given responsibilities and limitations on the family, the church, the state and all other things. We need to discern the Biblical commands on all laws great [i.e. taxation and foreign policy] or small [seatbelt laws]. What are the Bible's orders? Once we have begun to develop a picture of a truly Christian world, we need to develop Godly strategies on how to move from an ungodly society to a Godly society with the minimum of disruption. Then we must teach Christian Social Theory at every level we can - elementary school, high school, colleges, universities, churches, seminars, etc. We must recognize that this cannot be forced from the top down. It must be taught to and then promoted by the majority of citizens in a country as the Holy Spirit regenerates their hearts.
While we are doing this we do not resist the ungodly society or rulers we live under. Unless they are requiring us to be disobedient to God, we obey and submit to them with all respect.
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matt. 5:38-42
I call this the Babylonian Principle. In the Old Testament, disobedient Israel was sent into the Babylonian Captivity for seventy years. God warned them not to fight against His judgment. They had been continuously rebellious and now there were consequences. Part of the consequences was living in an ungodly society far from their home land.
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place." Jer. 29:4-10
What I call the Babylonian Principle is this: Submit, obey, and seek the benefit of the ungodly society and rulers God has placed over us unless such actions would violate the Word of God. In other words, pay your taxes, get business licenses, follow the rules. Do not be a headache to the rulers unless they are requiring God's Law to be broken. This has been the standard practice of the church. One defense Godly men have made is that Christians are the best citizens in a nation even through they may be the most hated and despised members of it.
Daniel was able to advise world rulers, but he never compromised his integrity or the laws of God. Sometimes this meant his life was on the line. So be it. No one was able to point to him as a troublemaker in the country.
Some may argue that in nations where citizens are allowed to vote in their rulers they must be more politically active and resist evil. Yes and no. We submit to laws that are already in place - as long as they don't require a violation of God's Word. We do our best to prevent ungodly laws from being passed and we vote for Godly representatives [not just people who call themselves Christians]. We make sure that our lives ARE committed to God. For example, Christians should not be sending their children to public schools and allowing the heathen to train them in the ways of the world. Just recently Governor Schwarzenegger in California [US] signed bills requiring public schools to teach sexual perversions as normal from kindergarten on up. Christians should object strongly to this attack on Christianity. No Christian should ever vote for him or anyone who supported these bills ever again. All Christians should withdraw their children from public schools - even if this means no schooling. Will this happen? Unlikely, because unlike Daniel we are compromised with the world. We are more committed to the ungodly world than we are to God. This is why God is setting ungodly rulers over us.
While we must stand for righteousness and do everything in our power to promote Godly standards in an ungodly society, we must do so in integrity and honour. We order our own lives according to God's standard. We must treat our enemy with respect. We never result to emotionalism, hurling insults, or personal attacks. We are supportive and peaceable wherever we can be.
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