What’s My Focus?

We were talking in Sunday School about Christians and our role in the world. What should be our focus?

Some Christians are very involved politically, exerting a lot of time and energy to bring about policy change. Some Christians focus much of their time and energy on boycotts and writing letters to certain companies whose policies are offensive. Some Christians are involved in charities and helping the poor.

Should these be our main goals?

I think all of these activities are OK. Some of them are even good. But I do not want us to fool ourselves. We will not bring about real change through political activism, corporate boycott, or civic philanthropy. Those activities focus on the surface of issues. We can only participate in real change when we address the heart. Real change requires the power of the Gospel.

Fortunately, we Christians have that power, and we have been charged with freely giving the Gospel to everyone we meet. Unfortunately, many of us do not obey that charge and we fail to tap into the power that has been given to us.

Our associate pastor said in our Sunday School discussion — something to the effect of — it doesn’t do any good to change minds; we need to be a part of changing hearts. Political discussions and activism can change minds, but the Gospel can change hearts.

He also said that Christians are now getting involved politically because for years and years, Christians failed to be active politically and failed to share Christ and let our country slip out of control. Now, Christians are trying to force a Judeo-Christian veneer over a country that isn’t Judeo-Christian any more. We can’t make our country look Judeo-Christian. But if we form relationships with people and share Christ with them, we can make a real difference one soul at a time.

This whole conversation (along with some great discussion over at my friend Molly’s blog ) has gotten my brain going. Our main focus MUST be the Great Commission. Our main focus MUST be Christ. Our main focus MUST be telling others the good news.

We recently had a missionary visit our church. He is a former Muslim from a Middle Eastern country who is now a Christian. He travels to that part of the world a few times a year to train Christian pastors, church planters, and church leaders from all over the Arab world. He told us that, though he supports the United State’s efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and believes it is a necessary war, bringing democracy to the Arab world is not the real solution. The real solution is to bring Christ to the Arab world. This missionary and his organization are fighting a war in the Middle East — they are fighting not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. His focus is Christ — fighting terrorism by the power of the Spirit of the Prince of Peace.

So . . . I had this little epiphany. It sure is easier to write a letter to my senator in support of a marriage amendment than it is to befriend a homosexual and share Christ with her. Don’t get me wrong — I’m in favor of the marriage amendment. But I don’t think that supporting that alone is the end of my Christian responsibilities. If I am really concerned about the sin of homosexuality, then I should form friendships with homosexuals and love them and tell them about Jesus. Banning homosexual marriage doesn’t address the heart of the issue; only the Word of God and the good news of salvation can do that.

I’m all for political activism and civic philanthropy (I’m not quite as convinced those corporate boycotts work), but these things have to be done as a subset of the main thing, spreading the Gospel.

What’s my focus? Am I distracted by a lot of good things? Or do I — like the apostle Paul — maintain my focus and press forward with the Gospel?

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4 Comments

Filed under Christianity, missions, politics

4 responses to “What’s My Focus?

  1. Tammy

    May I have your permission to print this out and post it on our small church’s bulletin board? It’s great!

    I remember being a student in a Christian law school (Regent University). We were studying the abortion issue in our Common Law class. Of course, at that institution, the wide majority of students were opposed to legalized abortion. In class, a particularly sensitive female (not me) stood up and questioned if we really held our beliefs as a conviction? [That’s a great question, btw]

    She continued that if we did, then each one of us would not just volunteer in a crisis pregnancy center, but that we would open our hearts to pregnant females considering abortion, and prove our concern by providing a place for them to live and meeting their needs.

    She went even further and said if we really wanted to save little lives, that we should adopt the children born from those pregnancies. You could’ve heard a pin drop amidst all those law students as we really considered our beliefs and how we live out our faith. We should sacrifically love people and share Jesus and the hope of our salvation with them.

    After all, Jesus commands us to follow/imitate His perfect example of sacrificial love.

    Oh that I would be willing to choose the hard, sometimes dirty, excruciating sacrifices of Christ over the easy, convenient stances that make me look “nice” and “Christian”.

  2. Yes, Tammy. You can print it. And thanks for sharing that comment. That girl in your class had guts.

    And I think you should have your own blog. I’d love to regularly read your thoughts. 🙂 If we can’t live in houses next to each other (here on earth), and if we can’t have long, uninterrupted phone conversations, maybe we could read each other’s blogs. 🙂

    love you!

  3. I am over from Molly’s blog! I liked what you said over there–and in this post here, too! I’ve been thinking so much the past few days how as a Christian I am to affect the world I live in for Him! You have some very good thoughts here! Thanks!

  4. Hi Jennifer! 😮 ) I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I’ve appreciated reading your thoughts on the church, and on our own focus within the Church.

    I look forward to reading more of you. 😮 )

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