What is to be done when one campaign uses an enormous war chest to peddle constant lies, confusion, and chaos?
No, I am not talking about our forthcoming elections in the United States, as important as they are. I am talking about a much bigger campaign, with a world-wide scope and a much longer game in mind - the real battle for the eternal souls of men and women. There truly is an enemy who longs to topple God from His rightful throne as Creator and Ruler of the Universe. All of us are constantly bombarded with propaganda from this slick campaign.
Recently we had a too-typical encounter with a university student who is struggling with deep depression, confusion, and outright despair. You might have seen this student or many others like them about town. Young people like this will often act and dress in such a loud, brash manner as to purposely push back against everything around them. For so many of these souls, their boldness belies a deep secret...their worldview does not bring any hope or peace in life at all. In fact, it delivers just the opposite.
Some Christian students tried to befriend this particular person, and spent much time trying to really listen and help. They shared the hope and purpose they each personally found in Christ with their new friend, but to no avail. Though drowning in despair and fear, from their vantage point Christianity seems so burdensome and restrictive that this troubled young person refuses to even consider God.
This situation is quite familiar on the college campus, and is becoming more common everywhere. Many of us long for things to “go back to normal” - but this is the new normal in a society plugged so deeply into media. Students on high school and college campuses all over the world have been soaked in this worldview 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since they got their first phone or device in grade school. They know no other reality. Worse, culture also demands that no help be given to anyone who struggles or despairs. In the name of tolerance, all of us are pushed to just sit back in silence and watch as soul after soul is devoured by the idea that there is no God, and that all of life is just unstoppable, bitter, random chance.
Our enemy's campaign strategy is quite effective. So many Christians today find themselves confused or wondering if maybe they are not a little off-base and intolerant, like everyone is accusing. Maybe we shouldn’t be so rigid and uptight about sin and selfishness. Maybe it really does not matter how anyone chooses to live their life. But if we would only look and see the despair and self-destruction of these precious, real people who are being consumed by lies...
This is the perfect time for Truth to be proclaimed! Those of us who stand on solid, sure ground cannot sit back and watch others sink into quicksand, no matter what pushback we have to endure.
But what can we do - how can we make a difference in such widespread confusion, and fight back against this terrible campaign?
We must go back to the very foundation of our faith.
In Theology class with our interns, the discussion last week was the concept and foundational doctrine of the Trinity. Christians are unique in worldview because our God is unique. Other sytems of thought and worship have many gods and godesses, or just one all-powerful god, or no god at all - just nothingness. Every other religious system is, in one way or another, humankind’s search for God and meaning. Christianity alone is God’s search and rescue of men and women.
The Trinity is so hard to understand and explain. We believe that God is one, but three; a beautiful, perfect triune. We make stabs at explaining it with analogies such as, “It is like a woman who can at once be daughter, mother, and sister,” or, “It is like H2O which can be water, steam, and ice.” However, none of these analogies are perfect. We can also try to explain the Trinity by saying what it is not. “The Trinity is not a hierarchy, as in God the great Father, Jesus the less-powerful Son, and the cleanup crew Holy Spirit.”
But why is the very fact that our God is three-in-one so vitally important?
Simply stated, because of love.
Read the words of Tim Keller, who explains this so well...
"If there is no God, then everything in and about us is the product of blind impersonal forces. The experience of love may feel significant, but evolutionary naturalists tell us that it is merely a biochemical state in the brain.
But what if there is a God? Does love fare any better? It depends on who you think God is. If God is uni-personal, then until God created other beings there was no love, since love is something that one person has for another. This means that a uni-personal God was power, sovereignty and greatness from all eternity, but not love. Love then is not of the essence of God, nor is it at the heart of the universe. Power is primary.
However, if God is triune, then loving relationships in community are the 'great fountain at the center of reality.'
When people say, 'God is love,' I think they mean that love is extremely important, or that God really wants us to love. But in the Christian conception, God really has love as his essence. If he was just one person he couldn’t have been loving for all eternity. If he was only the impersonal all-soul of Eastern thought, he couldn’t have been loving, for love is something persons do. Eastern religions believe the individual personality is an illusion, and therefore love is, too. Chesterton wrote, 'For the Buddhist…personality is the fall of man, for the Christian it is the purpose of God, the whole point of his cosmic idea.' It is the purpose of God because he is essentially, eternally, interpersonal love.
Ultimate reality is a community of persons who know and love one another. That is what the universe, God, history, and life is all about.“
-Tim Keller, The Reason for God
This is what our enemy so desperately wants to hide from everyone. This is what we bring to the table as Christian people. We know and have had our lives transformed by our God who is Love and who created each of us with delight and purpose. We also know that His great love is for everyone who will accept Him, for all eternity. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Our hope rests on this firm foundation, and our job while we live is to share this Good News with everyone we can. People all around us are desperate to know if anyone sees them or knows them or cares for them. The answer is yes! Love is real. Hope is real. Redemption is real. Our God is real and can never be voted out of office, no matter how slick and seemingly-efficient the opposing campaign.
Be encouraged today, and let's share the love of God with someone who needs to know.
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)