For many years now, I’ve said that I’m not as much concerned with the presence of darkness in America as I am with the absence of light. Darkness will always be present, but light can drive it out. That’s why our greatest need is to get our light shining brightly again. Otherwise, darkness will prevail. As Jesus said in a different context, “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23b)
We all know the saying that you can’t put the horse before the cart. But before you can hitch the cart to the horse, the horse needs to be healthy. Without that, no one is going anywhere.
And that’s where we stand today in America: the greatest need is a healthy Church. Then, with a healthy Church, the “cart” of cultural and moral and political change will follow as a natural consequence.
But it’s not a matter of either-or, as if we must focus either on spiritual life or on cultural life. Instead, it is a matter of priorities, a matter of putting first things first. When we do that, everything else falls into place.
When we are right with God, we will be right with people, and we will make things right for others.
Put another way, if politics is upstream from culture, then culture is upstream from spiritual life. So, voting is important, but living moral lives on a daily basis is far more important. But the key to living consistent moral lives is a vibrant relationship with the one true God. That’s where everything starts.
Jesus said to His followers, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13)
This is similar to one of Dr. King’s famous remarks. He said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.”
As salt, which was used as a preservative in the ancient world and which was also used for flavoring, the Church is called to be “the conscience of the state.” But we can only do that by maintaining a good conscience ourselves. We cannot show the way if we are not living the way, and we cannot call others into something that we are not living ourselves.
Not only so, but if we lose our saltiness – meaning, our spiritual and moral distinctives – we not only become useless. We become irrelevant. Worse still, we become the object of mockery and scorn, not because of our godly living but because of our empty words and hypocrisy.
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SOURCE: AskDrBrown.org, Michael Brown
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 40 books. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.