So Goes the World

A Word to Consider - So Goes the World
by Bill NeSmith

    Much is happening in our world that is provoking many to evaluate what they believe, where they stand, and what course of action they can take to make the world better.  Many are learning that old ways no longer work.  Still others are being better rounded by past mistakes to properly respond now to the issues at hand.  Many are praying and seeking wisdom and counsel to address the issues correctly.  This is good.  Dialog is being created that was once tenuous at best and undesirable at worst.  Much is changing in our world – some for good and some for bad.  But life and the vibrancy which it brings continues because hope and faith remain vigilant.  Where the enemy has sought to bring division, God is bringing to light a unified force in preparation for the expansion of His Kingdom.  

     I have a challenging perspective to look at today and it has been brought about by current affairs.  It is simply a sincere encouragement for the churches and the Christians that attend them weekly.  

     Quite often what occurs in the spiritual realm shapes the natural world around us.  That is the power of prayer and belief.  Our Lord Jesus spoke of such power.

"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." - Matthew 21:22

     Using the topic of immigration, let us look at assimilation versus colonizing and settling.  When persons aspire to leave their home country to come to a new land, it is very often provoked by hardship and matters that are no longer acceptable to them.  They are willing to take great steps to get to a better future, freedom, and a new life.

     America has been hailed for its history of immigration and Ellis Island is dear in the memory of so many, but even at Ellis Island, we had never openly accepted, nor tolerated those who simply wanted to be 'settlers', or those who wished to ‘colonize’ our lands by bringing their home culture here expecting to have separate laws or generalized social norms. We actually turned them away.  While seeking the huddled masses, in many cases, we even turned away the drastically ill because we worked to balance the freedom of the individual with the safety and freedom of the country and culture. 

(Many illnesses we simply could not manage at that time.  America has since become one of the greatest sources of medical breakthrough, along with Israel, because we have at our core a desire to help the broken and weary while protecting our people at large.)

     According to Dictionary.com, assimilation is ‘the process of adapting or adjusting to the culture of a group or nation, or the state of being so adapted: assimilation of immigrants into American life.

     The process of assimilation is drastically different from the actions that surround settling and colonizing.   Our Puritan fathers were settlers in a vast and undeveloped land.  They brought their culture to America with no intent to assimilate.  It was a time in human history of exploration and expansion.  Many mistakes were made during this and other times but land was plentiful and Europe at that time had grown cold and intolerant of religious freedom.  Looking back I am sure that even the settlers would wish they had done differently but that is a discussion for another article.

     Settlers and those who colonize bring all they have and the aim is to expand.  Assimilation by its simple definition is ripe with the idea of surrender, adaptation, transformation and a new life filled with new ways and new dreams realized that were previously unavailable or unimagined.

 

    Now what would happen in the culture of our churches if we were more tuned to the idea of assimilation rather than settlers or colonizers?  Do we still remember what it takes to assimilate or have we swung wide our doors with another policy in mind?

     Have we forgotten our Lord’s Immigration Policy?  Simply put, Come as you are but come as surrendered and in need of a Savior.  Come as one broken from your sins wishing to live another way, His way, - a ‘no matter what it takes’ kind of want.  Come looking for forgiveness in brokenness and the Helper will come.  He comes later to fill a new vessel – a place where God dwells.  The need to be resurrected is what is sought, not just help to live your settler’s life as you aspire to colonize the church with old ways, your ways, the world’s ways. 

     When the churches on various corners, not every church perhaps, and hopefully not your church where a message of salvation is clearly presented, but where churches remember the reason for our calling, the Good News Gospel we bring, then perhaps we will see a change in the culture around us, and then we will be a light on a hill, a challenge met by Him and not morphed by us.  Then we will be the people for whom all creation groans.  The world is awaiting our arrival – as humble and resurrected immigrants of His Kingdom and not settlers of this world.

     Christ purchased us with His blood to make a way for us to have a better life, living free, changed and being transformed into His likeness to the ways of a Kingdom of light having been transferred from a kingdom of darkness, despair and hopelessness.

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. – Acts. 20:28

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, - Col. 1:13

     We are to assimilate into His Kingdom, which is not to simply be populated by settlers and colonizers of the ways of this world.  It is not about our style of worship or the presentation of the message.  It is about an honest and clear presentation of the life-changing message of the Cross, our Savior, and His Kingdom Message.  The world will follow such an example as we are changed into His image.  Christ bids us ‘come and be transformed’ (assimilated) as we leave our old lives in the spiritual grave that He brought us out of through repentance, resurrection, and the transforming power of the Cross and His Blood that was shed for our sins and set us free.

After all, as the church goes, so goes the world.

 

[Note: The Church as the Body of Christ will always be victorious through Him.   I use a lower-case 'c' to denote the churches, congregations, or the ecclesia in various denominiations and forms.]