After listening to Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, I couldn’t help but to consider the spiritual state of our nation. The following is a warning – a warning over realities that are only seen with spiritual eyes (2 Cor. 4:16–18). First, I will share my burden for the nation and the condition of the church, then I will share what I believe to be our only hope.
Regardless of which book of the Bible I read, it is clear that America is drifting from the God who orchestrated her founding, blessed her beyond measure, and has carried her these 243 years. In modern times, our national trajectory is not only one of departing from God’s will, but we find ourselves at the crossroads of potentially rejecting God – the One who loves us and who is the solution to every problem we are facing.
The leader of ancient Israel once said, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (Deut. 4:7–8). Like the Israelites, who eventually departed from the God who had done so much for them, America is choosing a similar path.
It has been touted over the last few decades that abortion should be rare, legal, and safe. Sixty million abortions later, sacrificing our children on the altar of convenience has become commonplace and has left our nation defiled before a holy God (Is. 59: 3, 7; Ps. 139:13–16). Recently, the protection of our most defenseless and innocent took another devastating blow in the state of New York. The leadership of this influential state passed legislation allowing abortion for almost any reason up to the moment of birth. With other states debating whether to follow suit, we must search our ways and repent or we will face the wrath of God (Rom. 2:4–6).
The shedding of innocent blood is only one way we continue to distance ourselves from God’s hand of protection and blessing. I could highlight how God hates divorce (Mal. 2:15–16; Mark 10:1–10), and yet we have become a nation of divorce, or how God’s intention is to “keep the marriage bed pure” (Heb. 13:4), and yet our nation has participated (to various degrees) in every sexual perversion imaginable. Further, as a culture—even within the church—we have saturated ourselves with worldly entertainment, including pornography (James 4:4). Because of these behaviors, we must search our ways and repent, or we will face the wrath of God.
Possibly most egregious, the church has been negligent in addressing the issues of our day—the very issues that bring God’s blessing or provoke His judgment (Jer. 18:7–10). How will a young person know that gay marriage is prohibited by the God who loves us, unless we tell them? How will those struggling in their marriages take their vows seriously if we don’t address the need to work things out at any cost? How will we become God’s friends by rejecting worldliness if we don’t tell the flock how worldliness is creeping into our lives individually and the church corporately? We must search our ways and repent, or we will face the wrath of God.
In addition, in recent decades the numerical growth of churches is often rooted in marketing techniques, dynamic speaking, feel-good messages, and churches that offer programs for everyone. But the Scriptures reveal that God has one church growth strategy—the only strategy that produces genuine fruit—that is the strategy of putting His presence, power, and truth at the center of all we do (John 15:4–5; Rev. 3:15–20). Everything else is doomed to failure due to the entrapments of entertainment, personality cults, and other methods of attraction that ultimately leave God on the periphery and the sheep spiritually famished. We must search our ways and repent, or we will face the wrath of God.
Our enemies are many; both within the church and outside the church, domestic and foreign, but our hope is still anchored in the one, true Living God. Ironically, because His judgments are righteous, our nation’s greatest threat is God Himself and yet He is our greatest hope (Ps. 9:7–20).
I believe that God wants to be our first love more than we understand (Matt. 22:37–38; Rev. 2:4–5). Even in the waywardness of our nation—both inside and outside the church—God is beckoning us to come to Him in humility, repentance, and faith. To see the negligence of the church reversed and the matrix of unbelief changed may seem like an impossible task. But our job is to humbly open the door to the Lord and let Him show us what to do (Rev. 3:20).
While inspiring his generation toward space exploration, John F. Kennedy declared, “We choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” To change the church in America, which indeed will have far reaching affects on our nation, will be hard. But like President Kennedy dared his generation, we must not let the daunting nature of this task deter us from pursuing it.
A historic push to shift the body of Christ toward full obedience and to become full of faith is our only hope. The day and hour we find ourselves demands nothing less.