Pastor Viewpoint: 'Ambassadors'
By Pastor Randy Simonson, Harvestime Outreach Church
I have been reading the book of Daniel lately, and I believe that just like Daniel did in his day, Christians today can live distinctively and authentically Christian lives under any form of earthly government. In the United States, we are privileged to be living in a context of religious freedom; most Christians around the world do not. We are privileged to be living in a nation where its foundations are constructed upon morals and ideals derived from the Bible. Most of our brothers and sisters around the world are not. That does not mean God loves them any less. He loves all people the same — skin color, country of origin, homeland, none of that matters in the eyes of God.
What the world needs is not a Christian America, but for Christians in America to be distinctively and authentically Christian. If everyone in the United States who claims to be a Christian were living an authentically biblically-informed, Christ-redeemed, spirit-filled, kingdom-advancing life, the culture would be transformed. Perfect? No. Without issues? No. But it would be noticeably different in positive, God-honoring ways.
Culture wants to keep God muted and yet we know that God and his word are immutable. He never changes. (James 1:7, Hebrews 13:8). God speaks, and he established his word throughout the testimony of the Bible. The only way God can be muted is when individuals turn a deaf ear to him. Likewise, a culture can functionally mute God by suppressing what he says, preferring to satisfy their itching ears with their own collective worldly wisdom. This is the state of things in the nation where we have been deployed to serve as ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are representatives of Christ and we are charged with living as Kingdom citizens and echoing what Christ says about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God," (2 Corinthians 5:20).
It's not easy to be an ambassador in a culture where secular thought controls many of the institutions of influence in this country. Christians feel like God has been silenced as culture pushes the biblical worldview from the table of public discussion. Instead of whining about America no longer being a Christian nation and how evil the culture is, it is our job as Christ followers to break into the conversation with the diplomacy of an ambassador, as an agent of grace, speaking the truth in love.
Instead of shrinking back, we need to lean into our calling as representatives of Jesus Christ in the world today. Too often many of God's people shrink back from conversations when we should lean in. Sometimes we find ourselves without our armor on. Sometimes we have to admit we are pretty rusty handling the sword of the spirit (the Word of God). But, the vast majority are so busy with the things of this world they don't perceive themselves to have time for the divine appointments God sets. In the end we must admit that we don't really care that much about our neighbors and those around us. That is a sad statement and one that needs to change. Too often we sit around in judgment like Jonah, and we pass by on the other side enroute to something more important to us.
I believe it's time to bring God's perspective into the conversations of the day. Ordinary, regular, run of the mill, Christians like you and I, are God's people, sent out to speak as ambassadors of his kingdom. We need to plant seeds and help people think about a different perspective — God's perspective. We do it by demonstrating God's love with our actions and kindness, and sharing the truth of his word to people who desperately need it. This is your calling as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.