Do People See Christ in You?
by Jim Denison
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are visiting Puerto Rico today and Florida on Wednesday to view areas devastated by Hurricane Ian. There have been eighty-seven confirmed deaths from the storm as of this morning, but the number is expected to rise.
Meanwhile, a cultural storm is brewing that is devastating not just a part of our country but our entire society.
The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade one hundred days ago yesterday, which was a historic victory for life. However, of all the massive consequences so far, one is especially foundational: the “culture wars” are coming home. States and local communities are taking ownership of morality issues on unprecedented levels and in unprecedented ways.
Let’s consider some examples.
Last Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 107, which David French explains this way: “A child can cross state lines to obtain ‘gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care’ and obtain immediate protection from efforts from parents to bring their child home.” In short, if your child goes to California for sex-change surgery, there is nothing you can do to stop them once they get to the state. The order even blocks parents from receiving information about their child’s treatment.
This is just one of the ways many in our secularized culture are seeking to dismantle the family and overturn traditional morality.
A Wisconsin school board is going forward with sex ed curriculum that teaches lessons on gender identity to elementary school students. A New Jersey law forces schools to teach LGBTQ history. The New Jersey Department of Education has imposed sex education standards requiring school districts to teach middle school students about sexual activities I will not describe here.
One author even has a book titled Abolish the Family.
This trend is extending into Christian denominations as well. The United Methodist Church and many of its local congregations are more affirming of LGBTQ ideology than ever, though many local congregations remain committed to biblical orthodoxy. The same is true for the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and numerous other mainline denominations. Even some Baptist churches are embracing LGBTQ ideology over biblical sexuality.
If you stand for biblical morality, expect to face the opprobrium of society as a result. As one example, the Supreme Court’s approval has sunk to historic lows after its abortion ruling.
How should followers of Jesus respond most redemptively?
Secular people are unlikely to be persuaded by biblical arguments. I assume that a Muslim could not persuade you to adopt Islam based on verses from the Qur’an.
So, following Paul’s example in employing Greek logic and quoting Greek philosophers to persuade Greek philosophers (Acts 17:22-31), we need to understand those we seek to persuade. Let’s begin with the reasoning used by secularists who oppose biblical morality.
For advocates of California’s new law protecting children who seek “gender-affirming” therapies from intervention by their parents, any parents who oppose such therapies are abusing their children. Abortion proponents believe the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe victimized women by denying them “reproductive freedom.”
More Americans than ever before believe that people who oppose same-sex marriage are just as discriminatory as people who oppose interracial marriage. It is conventional wisdom today that LGBTQ rights are just as valid and vital as any other minority rights.
Now, let’s use secular evidence to show our secular friends that secular morality is not working. For example:
- One consequence of the “sexual freedom” movement is a horrific upsurge in sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis.
- In response to federal recommendations that all adult Americans ages nineteen to sixty-four be screened for anxiety, the Wall Street Journal headlines “The Next Pandemic: Anxiety Over Life Itself.”
- A 2021 poll found that just 49 percent of Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic about the state of the world, a low point since the survey began in 2009
I plan to discuss several biblical responses in tomorrow’s Daily Article. For today, let’s close with this fact: to persuade people that they need what we have, they must want what we have.
Advertisers work hard to convince people who don’t need a new car that we want a new car. Otherwise, we’ll be content with what we drive. The same is true of our souls. If people see Christ in us, the “God-shaped emptiness” in their souls will be drawn to our Lord.
So, how can we live in such a way that others see Christ in us?
John, Jesus’ beloved disciple and best friend, counseled us: “Whoever says he abides in [Christ] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6). This is both biblical and logical. If I abide in Christ (John 15:5) and his Spirit thus controls my life (Ephesians 5:18), the Spirit of God will make me more like the Son of God (Romans 8:29).
Therefore, I can determine the degree to which I follow Jesus by the degree to which I imitate Jesus. So can the world.
Are you confident that the people who meet you today will see Christ in you?
If not, why not?