There is this constant tug-of-war in our lives where we feel pulled in two different directions. The world is constantly tugging at us, offering us the blessings of uniformity, of conformity, of living out our teenage dreams or of relinquishing our roles as a mom or dad like everyone else. The world desires an end to war, an end to our fighting spirit. It seeks our peaceful surrender, the peace of knowing that “progress” is inevitable! It promises us the riches of going with the flow, of a smooth sailing over the falls.
Of course, the Lord is tugging as well. He is doing the exact same thing but in the opposite direction. He is tugging at us to be a benefit to others, a blessing to our family and nation. He wants our allegiance, our pledge of allegiance to remain “under God”. He seeks and encourages our fighting spirit. He wants us to fight, and fight till the very end. He wants us to fall in line, but on the right side of the line. He is not interested in us feeling good about ourselves. Rather, He wants us to be good. And there is a huge difference between the two.
Moses tells his people exactly what the Lord asks of them. He tells them, “Serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul.” Will this not be a blessing, a benefit to family and country? He continues, “Keep the commandments and statues of the Lord…Circumcise your hearts and be no longer a stiff-necked…Show no favorites and take no brides.” Is the Christian not a blessing to society?
The disciples, during Christ’s ministry on earth, were in a constant tug-of-war. They felt the tug to conform, to not offend anyone, especially the elders and the Pharisees. Before Peter could even open up his mouth, the Master was asking him a question. “What is your opinion Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” The answer is obvious: from foreigners. “But that we may not offend the collectors of the temple tax, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”
The disciples were simple men who loved their nation, their culture, and their families. The Lord taught them that if they truly loved these things, then they must love the Lord above all these things. Otherwise, they would soon enough conform and submit to everything below these things.
If we know anything about the Jewish people it is their tendency to stick together, especially during tough times. There is no doubt in my mind that they must have felt like outcasts, outsiders when their own rejected them or became angry over the words spoken by Christ. After all, to be enemies of the Pharisees and scribes meant to be enemies of the men who had worked so hard in keeping their nation together.
May we never forget that when a Christian stands out, stands up for God and His faith, then he is truly standing up and standing out for his neighbor, his friends, his family and his country.
God. Family. Country. As long as there are Christians in the world, then you can be sure that God will be known, family will be protected and country will be defended.
Just recently, the Hungarian people ratified their new Constitution. It is a masterpiece! They have learned from us, from our past mistakes. They have done what we should have done. It will go into effect on January 1st, 2012. Here are some its articles:
From the section entitled “National Avowal of Faith”: “At the dawn of a new millennium, we members of the Hungarian nation declare the following, with a bond of duty to all Hungarians: We are proud that one thousand years ago our king, St. Stephen, based the Hungarian State on solid foundations, and made our country a part of Christian Europe.”
“We acknowledge the role Christianity has played in preserving our nation. We respect all our country’s religious traditions. We solemnly promise to preserve the intellectual and spiritual unity of our nation, torn apart by the storms of the past century” [the devastating effects of atheistic Communism].
It gets better. Article K states “Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage, understood to be the conjugal union of a man and a woman based on their voluntary decision; Hungary shall also protect the institution of the family, which it recognizes as the basis for survival of the nation. Hungary shall promote the commitment to have and raise children…Human dignity shall be inviolable. Everyone shall have the right to life and human dignity; the life of the fetus shall be protected from the moment of conception.”
God bless Hungary! May God bless America!