Kill The Greater Conspiracy
Who killed J.R. Ewing? If you're as old as I am or older you likely remember this climactic episode in 1980 from the daytime drama Dallas. The murder of the star character was one of the very first creations of entertainment that I remember about which the general public became obsessed. To this day I have no idea who the perpetrator was but I vividly remember how often it was discussed in the public sphere.
In our day the Internet has blurred the line between entertainment and helpful reporting of world or local news. No doubt you have had conversations about things that some would say are absolute truth and others would deposit in the folder for tin foil cap ideas. But how should we as Christians respond to the availability of so many theories and perhaps even realities of the evil ploys that exist in the world? This gives us a great opportunity to practice the biblical discipline of self-evaluation. Here are some good questions that I think will be helpful when trying to decide what to focus our attentions on and what we can and should do.
Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The idea of every Christian (and all humans really) exercising dominion in the world has fallen on hard times. We often don't take our sphere of responsibility seriously enough. But in these times when the world has gone mad it is quite tempting to try to take responsibility for a domain that has not actually been assigned to us. How should we discern whether or not we are called to action? The first question we should ask ourselves is this;
1. Has God given me the priority or responsibility to discern the truth of this claim and has He given me the authority to do anything about it?
As a pastor I often hear of others that are doing things that God considers to be grievous against him or Christ or the church. Recently my Twitter feed had become full of this kind of information. It became such a distraction for me that I was compelled to delete the app from my phone. Way too many hours were wasted trying to find out who the guilty parties were when in fact God has not given me the priority, responsibility or authority to do anything about it. I am called to exercise dominion among my own family and the people God has assigned me to shepherd. Sometimes our domain includes people outside those groups but it certainly does not include people with whom we have no personal face to face interaction. Our desire should be to stick to doing what God has assigned to us and what we can actually accomplish. Once we have come to a balanced approach on this we are ready to ask;
2. Does my belief in and discussion of this particular conspiracy cooperate fully with the principle of 1 Corinthians 13:7?
1 Corinthians 13:7 (Love…) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Of course understanding the love that “believes all things” is not a call to be naive nor does it instruct us to put on blinders to avoid seeing what actually is happening in our world. Believing all things within the body of Christ is dependent on “rejoicing in the truth” about Jesus the ultimate example of love (vs. 6). In other words beliving the best of others depends on our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the context that includes chapter 12, our spiritual giftedness is meant to serve the one anothers in the church particularly when the difficulties, trials and even persecutions of life are actually happening. We prepare for those events by building our faith in Christ and of course practicing the one anothers in less “necessary” circumstances. We don't necessarily need to uncover them or attempt to root them out. Let’s endeavor to not be distracted from love that compels us to believe the best about our fellow believers whether or not they agree with our perspective on the latest internet post.
With those two principles in mind it is good to move on to the most important question of all;
3. Does my pursuit of or discussion about the conspiracy that is revealed distract me or others from resting fully in Christ in the here and now?
Every difficulty that those who are united to Christ experience in this area is directly connected to the first sin (Genesis 3:1-6). The question that the father of lies posed to Eve was a direct assault on the character and nature of God. As such it was obviously satanic. That conspiracy continues today. Does God's goodness have reign over the worst intention of man? Yes! As believers we have the responsibility to do everything possible to not distract ourselves and others from resting totally in the goodness of Jesus Christ our Lord who has seen fit to redeem us from the effects of that sin and restore us to absolute faith and obedience to Him, no matter what, and come what may.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
We will be tempted toward distraction because of recent events that may be or may not be directly linked to the evil intentions of men. Not every conspiracy, even if true, is worth pursuing if it's going to be an obstacle that prevents or even slightly hinders us from relishing our union with Christ, our risen Lord. But in trying times I am convinced that asking these questions will be our guide to faithful living as true followers of Jesus. Walking in His grace, trusting in Him for our ultimate safety and liberty will do much more than vanquishing the most heinous conspirator can ever do. Let’s endeavor to be a part of killing the true conspiracy. Let’s fight the fight of faith by focusing on Christ and helping others do the same.
Soli Deo Gloria!