“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil … Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore …”
1 Timothy 6.11-12
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.”
We are in a great battle, and we must fight. The battle is fundamentally spiritual, yet has profound implications in culture, politics, and economics. If we are to be effective in the battle, we must operate in the strength and power of the Lord, we must put on the full armor of God, and we must fight the good fight of the faith.
What does that mean?
It is imperative that we trust God and pray for repentance and revival in our nation. We must pray for a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of the American people. “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7.14)
The Christian community must implement a rigorous discipleship process that equips believers in three dimensions: moral, relational, and functional. Historically, churches focus on the moral and relational dimensions of the Christian faith, but neglect the functional. A deep commitment to all three dimensions is what is required for real change in American society.
The great challenge is that the Christian community has not developed the core competencies, nor has it earned the credibility, to contribute to the operational elements of American society. Our presence and position in society is weak. The church is simply not on the cultural playing field in America in a way to make a significant difference.
The church has allowed secular institutions to dominate functional training and skill-building, which has contributed to the decay of American society. Without the wisdom and guidance of objective truth from the Creator, secular institutions operate on a philosophical foundation that rejects objective truth and morality. The result is competence without character, which is disastrous for our society.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29.2)
The church needs to become a disciplined skill-building community. That is, a true transformational community that equips the people of God to fully engage and be effective in the places where they do their daily work; that is, within the institutions that shape the culture of our society. Every church needs to ask itself: How are we equipping people with the skills they need to be effective in their jobs Monday through Friday?
The church should have a strategy for impacting and transforming the institutions that shape culture. Christian influence on culture occurs not primarily by human design (although human designs are involved), but by God’s supernatural use of obedient and effective Christians in their spheres of influence in all domains of American society.
The gospel does not call us to stand on the periphery and protest the culture, nor does it call us to copy the culture. Rather, we are called to be creators of culture and agents of change in the midst of society. Most importantly, we must earn the right through our character and competence to push for change.
If we do not build effective, obedient Christians who can penetrate and impact culture-shaping institutions, there is little hope for sustainable transformation in our nation.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matthew 5:13-14)