Forward Toward what End? The Question Revisited (Pt. 3)

TerryExiles in Babylon

A return to traditional values is clearly required. But, it is not the practice of traditional values that will save our nation – all nations are appointed to Judgment and, ultimately, destruction prior to the establishment of the Kingdom of God. What can be saved are people; and, if enough people can be saved, then degree by degree the “Forward” trajectory of our national journey can be turned away from a hedonistic hurtle into the darkness and toward a purposeful walk in the Light. Put another way, it is by turning to Christ, who saves us and gifts us with His Spirit, that the individuals who comprise our nation can be redeemed; it is through the courage of these redeemed in living out their faith in private and in the public square, that “traditional values” can again begin to characterize the daily life of communities. “Traditional values” are the civic expression of the unity that results when many believers, manifesting the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control), come together as a community, and when communities come together, ultimately, as a nation.

Accordingly, I pray that all mature Christians would have renewed courage to live out their faith in every aspect of their life, public and private. I pray that they would live every moment — at home, at work, out and about, and in their civic duties — as ambassadors for the King. I pray that new believers would continue to grow up in Christ so that they, too, would do the same.

I pray that weakly-believing Christians — and there are so, so many of them — would be led to get themselves straightened around with Jesus. I pray that they would be convicted of their lukewarm or dim understanding of Scripture so that they would commit to deep, biblically-anchored study and that in the process they would stop leading others astray with their naive or false doctrines. I pray that they would stop being ignorantly complicit with evil-doers through their foolish campaigning, advocacy, and voting for people and causes that are destructive and unrighteous.

I pray that as individuals repent of their cowardice in the public practice of their faith and their ignorance of Scripture and important doctrine, their lives would catch fire for Jesus. I pray that these fires would be blessed to spread out across the darkness that covers the spiritual landscape of America, and that they would come together to consume the darkness, drawing even more of the wayward, the confused, and the lonely out from the lost places and into new life in Christ.

I pray that churches would begin overflowing with believers – not just at Easter and Christmas — but every single Sunday. I pray that those believers would actually bring their Bibles with them to church, open them, write in them, dog-ear the pages, crack the spines from heavy use, and have to tape the pages in place.

I pray that people would again begin to treat one another with the love of Christ as they go about their daily business. It is from practicing the love of Christ, really, that all public civility and charity springs.

I pray that people would be made aware of their preciousness to Christ and, awed by that, convicted of their responsibility to act as His ambassadors to others. I pray that this conviction would cause them to conduct themselves with a renewed sense dignity in the public square — and that this would reflect in their manners, in their speech, in their dress.

I pray that this grassroots revival would transform life after life after life, relationship after relationship, and family after family. Life apart from the hope of Christ is so sad, and Hell is so terrible.

I pray that as this revival happens our nation would be transformed in its daily and civic life, its culture, its national character, and its international presence so that we can again live in civility, freedom, security, and prosperity and that, yes, our nation would once again deserve to be a beacon of hope for the world.

However, as lovely and blessed a vision as this presents, the practice of Christian values are in and of themselves, not a sufficient answer to the “Forward, toward…?” question. The answer to the question is simple: “Forward, toward Judgment and then — by God’s grace and with inexpressible joy for those who call Him Father — onward into the sunrise to greet the eternal Kingdom of God.”

That is the only destination that really matters for those who belong to the Lord.

Let us move forward, with courage and resolve, toward Christ and His Kingdom.