On Behalf of the One, True King

By: Mitch Prosser, Interim President Palmetto Family Council

In a world that demands self-censorship of any person or people group that disagrees with the cultural norm, the Christian may wonder what their proper place is in this foreign land.

•What can I say without being “cancelled”?
•How can say what I believe in a world filled with contradictory “truths”?
•How can I speak and live in a way that will effectively communicate Kingdom principles and the Truth in a world that hates the Truth?

Our words matter. How we speak those words matters. Moreso, how we support those words with our lifestyle and actions matters.

In this final instalment of Living Faithfully in Tough Times, I think it’s important to share some very practical ways that ambassadors of God’s Kingdom can live effectively as we operate in a foreign land. This list of tips won’t be replete, but it will lay a framework for us to work within and around.  Tough times are here, and for the Christian who lives as an ambassador to a foreign land and people, we must equip ourselves for the journey that lies ahead of us until the day we see our Heavenly home.

God loves justice. That seems like an odd place to start this practical article, but I think it’s imperative that we speak on behalf of what God loves. Psalm 97:1-2 says,
The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
    let the many coastlands be glad!
2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

The perfect God of our eternal home loves justice and righteousness so much that He made them the foundation of His throne. Physically? Possibly, but more likely is the idea that God’s rule and reign as Master of all is predicated on a foundation of Justice and established on His unchanging righteousness.
Isaiah tells us in his 61st chapter,
8 For I the LORD love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

In context, Isaiah is recording the words of God to those whom He is showing His favor. A clear contrast can be seen in verse 8. “I love justice; I hate wrongdoing.” It’s fascinating to follow the line of God’s Word. He’s telling His chosen people (Hebrews) that He will rebuild what others have destroyed, He will avenge those who have done wrong to them, and He will make an everlasting home for them. Does this sound familiar? Is this not a similar trouble that Christians face today?

Another Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah says this,
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Not only does God love justice, but He is demonstrating that justice along with righteousness and steadfast love here in the world that He created. Our Heavenly Father loves justice and we should too.

Does this mean that we embrace the Social Justice Movement and become Social Justice Warriors? Does God’s love for justice demand that we furnish that justice with our own hands in a “mob justice mentality”? The answer to both questions is NO!

So how do we talk, walk, and live while embracing and radiating the love and justice of God?
We speak and act as representatives of our sending authority. We need not speak in our own authority. What fragile ground that is to stand upon. Instead, we stand on the firm footing and foundation of God’s authority. We speak His Word and we live according to it. We live as messengers of the Kingdom. Will that look strange? Will it rub people the wrong way? Will talking and walking that way be “counter cultural”? Absolutely! But we don’t make the rules, God does. If He says something, we say it.

We speak for and on behalf of our home in God’s Kingdom. We are not to build up our own platform or kingdom. As ambassadors, or job is to point those around us to the One who called us out of darkness with His light. We are not the light, the Light lives in us.

We speak the truth. The truth is under assault. Even more, we must fasten ourselves to the foundation of all truth. We cannot wander from the source of all truth and expect to be truthful. Tough times are turbulent and shake people to the core. When this happens, those who are rattled may look for any steady hope to cling, be that steady force in tough times. How? Rest in the Truth.

Our words must be credible. Our lives must give our words credibility. If our words are backed by how we walk, what good are our words. We can share the gospel 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and while I’m not negating the transformative power of the gospel, if we live contrary to our speech the world around us will naturally be confused. The consistency of our message matters (James 3:5-8). Our lives must be consistent with the message we preach. One pastor said, “Let your mouth do the talking, make your feet do the preaching.” Is this hard? YES! It’s difficult to live in a foreign land and not succumb to cultural mannerisms. But our King and His message of redemption are worth every second.

Our words and lives need to be attractive. How we do what we do matters. If all we ever do is complain and rail angrily against the sins of society, we will naturally push people away. If we live consistently with God’s Word, speak the truth gracefully, and rest in Him to do the work of the gospel through us, we will see those around us turn to us in tough times.

I’m reminded of 3 Hebrew men who lived in a foreign land. They we captured and exiled to mighty Babylon. The king, Nebuchadnezzar believed so strongly that he was deity that he created a massive idol of himself and forced everyone in his kingdom to bow and worship the statue. 3 men wouldn’t bow. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, better known in Sunday school classes as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose to defy the king’s orders and faced the consequence, the ultimate cancellation, death by fire. The king cranked up the heat to prove he meant business, but the one true King had a different idea. As Nebuchadnezzar peered into the flames of his furnace, he saw 4 men not 3. Who was the 4th, God incarnate spending time with His faithful servants. What unbelievable comfort it must have been to go from knowing you are going to die for your stand to meeting God face-to-face amid the fire.

Daniel records the kings words in conversion to the one true King in Daniel 4,
34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,
for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
    and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
    or say to him, “What have you done?”

Why did Nebuchadnezzar turn his gaze to heaven? Obviously because he saw God in the fiery furnace. But would he have ever seen God in that furnace if 3 ambassadors in a foreign land hadn’t obeyed their King and defied an earthly king?

You and I are called to be faithful ambassadors in a foreign land. Tough times are here, and they aren’t going away or going to get better. We must be resolved to stand firm on the foundation of Truth, God’s Word. We must speak and live according to God’s Truth. Our role and responsibility is to represent our King and His Kingdom in a manner that demonstrates His steadfast love, justice, and righteousness. Will it be difficult? Yes! But for all of eternity we will proclaim the worth of a Savior who called us to His Kingdom.

-Adapted from a devotion given by Professor Jeffery Brauch, Regent University School of Law

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