Hope for something better in 2021 had largely evaporated by January 4. In complete disregard for the Bible and America’s traditional view on gender identity, the House of Representatives passed House rules prohibiting the use of gender-specific pronouns. These terms include father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, husband, wife, grandson, and granddaughter.
Commenting on this new policy, former House member and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard stated, “To somehow believe that it is a good thing to remove all references of mother and father, brother and sister, son and daughter from essentially the administration of the House—from the legislative rules—not only does it not make sense, it is a dangerous step toward undermining who we are and the existence of men and women.”
Two weeks later, the ban on openly transgender people serving in the military was repealed. Likewise, an executive order restoring Obama-era LGBTQ policies is pressuring public schools to use the Equality Act to allow boys that feel like girls to use the bathroom of their choice and to be given the option to participate on girls’ athletic teams.
Make no mistake. These changes in America’s fabric are not fundamentally political; they are fundamentally anti-God. The advocacy of transgenderism strikes at the heart of God’s purposes in creating males and females (Gen 1:27; Matt. 19:4).
Other forms of evil are also surging. Big Tech has boldly aligned itself with the father of lies by dictating what perspectives are permissible for public consumption. Increasingly, various views on important issues are banned or suppressed. Moreover, fear roams the land because of the threat of being publicly maligned by cancel culture warriors.
A month ago, while pondering these and other distressing realities, I found myself crying out, “Lord, what can we do?!!!” Soon God answered.
In summary, I believe that God is calling the body of Christ to fight for the good that remains in our families, churches, and nation. And, if He gives us greater grace and further opportunities, we must fight for His purposes to expand into the darkest parts of culture.
To fight against evil fell out of vogue in the church about the time that tolerance emerged as one of our culture’s highest values. Nevertheless, fighting to promote righteousness is a top priority in Scripture.
John the Baptist drew battle lines against legalistic religious leaders and King Herod’s immoral lifestyle. David stepped out in faith to challenge Goliath. Samson repeatedly confronted the Philistines. Elijah confronted and slayed the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. And what about Israel’s other prophets? How did they fair? Some battles were won while others were lost, but it often cost them everything.
Also, when nearing the end of his life, Paul declared that he had “fought the good fight” (2 Tim. 4:7, emphasis added). Why did Paul describe his journey as a fight? He understood that the Christian life is a battle against fleshly temptations, worldly influences, dangerous ideologies, and Satan’s attacks. But to Paul it was not only a fight against but a fight for God’s best. Paul fought for honoring God’s Word in every situation. He fought for spreading the gospel. He fought for a holy, radiant, influential bride of Christ. And he fought to see God’s kingdom and purposes advance throughout the world.
Counting the cost
Influencing culture—what Jesus called being the “salt of the earth”—is costly. Put another way, God’s people are never called to partner with evil in order to get along. We are called to do whatever it takes to confront evil while promoting good.
In practical terms, godly schoolteachers will be required to confront their school administrators over why biological boys are being allowed in girls’ bathrooms. Parents may need to remove their own children from athletic teams when transgender students are competing. Because of not wanting to celebrate sin, Christ-followers will have to make the hard choice to not attend gay weddings—and explain why. Critical race theory, cloaked in diversity training, will need to be confronted by Christians who will be bold enough to present a biblical alternative. And, as it has been throughout much of history, it will be costly to defend Jesus to family and friends as the Son of God—the only way to God—and to defend the Bible as the exclusive Word of God. As noted above, godly men throughout the Bible understood this and paid the price, sometimes the ultimate price, but many of them are also remembered as those who turned the world upside down.
Rigged in our favor
Living righteously in our godless culture will be challenging, yet, Paul taught that God has already “seated us with Him in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4–6). Therefore, we are already seated with Christ in every battle, meaning that we have the high ground. In fact, the entire battle has been rigged in our favor!
Here are some ways that God has rigged the battle in our favor:
- By putting on the armor of God, we can stand firm in the face of surging evil (Eph. 6:10–17)
- In Christ, we have authority over all the spiritual forces of evil that come against us (Luke 10:19)
- We have the truth. Speaking the truth will expose and defeat the father of lies (Matt. 4:1–11; John 8:31–45; Eph. 4:15, 25)
- Sharing the Good News will plunder the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13–14)
- Prayer and fasting will result in breakthrough (Jonah 3:1–10; Luke 4:1–14; Acts 4:31; 13:1-3)
- Employing our spiritual gifts will make us dramatically more effective (1 Cor. 12:4–11)
- Heavenly wisdom—the most effective form of wisdom—is at our disposal (James 3:13–18)
- The Holy Spirit, who resides in every believer, works powerfully through us (1 Thess. 1:5)
Fighting to the finish
Manohar, a pastor in India, is one of God’s choice servants who has experience in fighting the good fight. During a conversation with him, it slipped out that he had been beaten to the point of death because of sharing the Good News. Alarmed and speaking out of my American Christian mindset, I began to question him about what happened and what compelled Him to be so bold in his fight to proclaim the gospel. Manohar’s reply was simple, yet unforgettable: “Dave, it is only persecution.”
I like that answer. It puts the cost of the Christian life and contending for God’s purposes in perspective. And it reminds me that every battle that God leads us into is a fight to the finish, regardless of what happens. Also, it reflects the heart we all need to have in this day and hour: “That . . . Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:20–21).
In America too, there is an intense battle before us—a battle with sobering realities. It is a battle that we did not seek but is a battle that has come to us. And I can hear Jesus responding to my prayer about what can we do by calmly and confidently replying, “We fight.”