Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
This question came up in my fellowship group recently: If there is civil unrest ahead as a result (either way) of the finalization of the election in the United States, what do you see as your Christian role?
We discussed a two level response, physical and spiritual, with the spiritual of equal if not more importance, with each believer ministering as led and graced.
Alongside the rest.
For at the root of all unrest are the forces of good and of evil, and as each of us is an essential part of the Body of Christ here to promote the former and combat the latter, like any “combat unit,” we function best en toto. St. Paul puts it this way in his Letter to the Romans, chapter 12, verses 4-5:
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
As to what those functions are, verses 6-8 clarifies:
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Depending on the severity of the unrest, some might say, however, it’s of most importance to take up your sword and buckler! (as it were) and mount your steed! (for a comment Jesus made alluding to this kind of service, read here).
But as a regiment of believers we are not limited to only one kind of resistance to evil because we also serve who prophesy, teach, exhort, give, and show mercy, operating in the spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6:10-18.
No matter what era, in or out of conflict (and which era is ever out of conflict?) all of us, believer and non, old and young, able and challenged, are in need of guidance, instruction, correction, support, and compassion–and we are in need of those who provide such services.
I am reminded here of the contrasting “seasons” of life and of history we may find ourselves in at one time or another, as illustrated in Ecclesiastes 3:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Only God knows, yet, if the days ahead will lean more toward war than peace although they do seem ominous.
It may well be, for awhile anyway, there will be a combination of the two until such time as the Tribulation will ensue–the darkest time ever on the face of the earth–a seven-year period of time also known only to God; we are privy only to the signs.
But whatever lies ahead next month–and beyond–the Christian ought to prepare as diligently spiritually for the demands of this season as he or she gathers water, food, and ammunition for any season where “normal” involves more ordnance than ordinary, more unexpected than expected.
For the spiritual harvest is, indeed, ready for the workers, as it usually is when trouble looms large, and people tend to look to some kind of savior or to The Savior for help.
Not to mention those we are to also serve who are always among us and in need of a cup of water, a visit in some prison, the balm of companionship, a few moments of comfort in a time of grief…
For there are many battles both without and within common to the race, wars of their own sort, and while some may be in need of conventional arms, all need the arms of Christ.
It is especially in such uncertain, destabilizing times as these that we can help those who may look to us, the people of the Word of God who can point to the ultimate deliverance from evil by faith in One, Jesus Christ, the Word Made Flesh, in what ways each of us has been graced to do so, even as others before helped us.
For even in the worst of times it is both combatants and non-combatants, in the flesh and in the spirit, who will bring good news and the Good News to a hurting world.
And everything we do in the name of Christ, as best we can, overcomes evil one way or another not only in this present age but in all ages.
For more information on how to discover one’s spiritual gifts and callings, here is a good starting point.
For more information on both kinds of preparation, spiritual and physical, including wisdom both ancient and modern on ground-level battle strategies, here are additional articles.