The world is changing fast and we feel passionate about our faith - we know that inside of it is truth and peace and life and we desire to see all men know God.
So we put these passions to work and do what we believe is fighting for the Gospel, taking a stand for Christ. Our sword is drawn and we are ready to be "Kingdom Warriors" in this world.
But here's the thing... our eyes and our swords are turned outwards.
We're not wrong to be warriors, maybe we're just worrying about the wrong war.
Somewhere in this evolution of Christianity since the time it was born at the dirty, dusty feet of Jesus 2,000 years ago, we have developed this mentality of "us against them" when really I think there are more verses that call it more like "us beneath them."
That if we aren't loving people, serving people, then it's worthless. Our efforts and our words and even our message is an irritating, clanging gong in people's ears.
(Dang, Paul. Tell us how you really feel.)
So, we may hear ourselves speaking in the beautiful tongues of angels but we are really just clanging out an awkward, annoying, dissonant noise.
We think we are taking a stand for Christ when we stand firm and push back but don't we know -don't we really know?- that our biggest problem is inside of us and not out there?
That whether or not God's glory will be seen in this world is whether or not it's being seen in us?
Fighting hard for the truth of the Gospel probably looks and feels a little more like dying than winning. Taking a stand for Jesus should probably be less like standing tall and more like face-in-the-ground humility and washing-their-feet service.
We die to ourselves, friends.
We sharpen our sword and then turn it inwards, where the ugliest battle is really raging.
That's the war that shines so bright in the darkness and these are the wins that draw people to Jesus.
Because Jesus is coming, we know. And we want people to be ready, yes. But this has happened before and there was a man that wanted the same thing.
But he didn't actually go into the temples and the religious courts and the public streets and try to educate the people about the Truth of the Messiah that way. He didn't bother with arguing interpretations of prophecies and religious law.
In fact, he avoided it.
He ran as far away from all that as he could so that he could be a lone, clear voice in the wilderness.
And he was actually kind of put out when the religious snobs even came around.
He lived a wild and culturally radical life in the desert preaching the coming Kingdom and calling for repentance, and people came. And he had a message, alright: one about a winnowing fork and a threshing floor and an unquenchable fire.
But he wasn't afraid to turn the sword inwards. His passion and calling transformed his way of life and people drew near to hear and repent and be baptized.
I'm not saying we need to be like John the Baptist. (This blog is about milk and honey, not locusts and honey.) But when we feel great zeal for Christ, when we want to prepare the way of the Lord and call people to repentance and warn them that the Kingdom of God is at hand, maybe it's our life that get's turned upside down first.
We live it out in whatever wild and beautiful way that God has made us for.
And then people draw near and hear our message and we won't be clanging gongs anymore.
Suddenly our words and the gospel inside of them are ringing out clear and true, in harmony with the saints and the angels and I really believe that is when the lost will enter the song to say, "What must I do to be saved?"