Take Heed

Memorial Day welcomes reflection. Some Americans believe this is one of the worst years we’ve ever experienced (racial division, political infighting, low moral virtues, religious persecution, climate concerns, etc.). While others believe the tide is right for exceptional prosperity and happiness (growing economy, plethora of religious choices, growing diversity, technological and medical advances – to name a few).norman-rockwell-freedom-to-worship_i-G-20-2021-E834D00Z

While I do not know the future, I do see potential pot holes that may cause great difficulty ahead. Eight times the Scripture implores us to “take heed to yourselves” (Exodus 19:12, Deuteronomy 4:23, 11:16; Jeremiah 17:21; Luke 17:3, 21:34; Acts 5:35, 20:28). Whether you are “burying your head in the sand” or maybe you’re “enjoying the ride”, we must open our eyes to what’s around us and what’s coming ahead.

In teaching our son to drive, I find myself having to address the abundance of bad-driving happening around him. While teaching him to be aware of his own blind spots, its easier to address how others are not aware of their own blind spots (that’s why it’s called, “Defensive Driving”). I want him to “take heed” of all blind spots. Taking heed is one of the primary tasks in prayer.

Perhaps the most egregious blind spot in American culture today is the risk of losing religious liberty. The handwriting on the wall is clear to those who care to observe it: Christians in more than 60 countries around the world are facing religious persecution, but when it rests on American soil, most Christians will not recognize it. Our freedoms of speech and freedom of religion are eroding. If exercising our muscles prevents atrophy, then exercising our freedoms must be effective in retaining those freedoms. An President’s Executive order or a Congressional vote does not ensure religious liberty for long. As easily as they are protected, freedoms can be prohibited. We must continue to speak up!

In his book, Counter Culture, David Platt wrote: “those who understand and believe the gospel advocate the free exercise of faith.” God has given every person the freedom to decide whether to worship Him or not and we cannot allow our nation to rob us of proclaiming this freedom to all people. Furthermore, if those Christians who have no religious liberty are doing so much for the advance of the Gospel, what must God think of us who have been given so many more freedoms yet are doing so much less? What we do with our freedom is a clue to our character.

 

What can you do?

  • Ask God to prepare Christians in East Texas to respond boldly and humbly to cultural opposition.
  • Ask God to work in the lives of rulers in our country and in the world so that there is more freedom given to live and speak the truth of the Gospel.
  • Pray that God will strengthen persecuted believers around the world regardless of the consequences they face.
  • Pray that God will open your eyes to your own blind spots.

 

Prayer that lacks honest, personal awareness looks more like tossing a coin into a wishing well than genuine prayer. Be intentional to take spiritual inventory as you consider these blind spots for the impediments that they truly are. Evaluating one’s individual life in Christ helps maximize our corporate life together in Christ.

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