Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back (returning to the manner of thinking and living already abandoned), is fit (useful) for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
The context of Jesus’ statement above has to do with turning back to sin and the ways of the world, but one might say it also has an application when it comes to any kind of turning back and away from Christian ministry, thus halting or delaying each of our parts in the “great commission“.
It also offers insight into how to stay steady, so to speak, at the task.
To one such application today, and to the theme of this post, consider how by staying in the place of grief over what just happened politically in the United States, although it is quite understandable that we might and there is a grief process that aids recovery, we might miss out on some important encouragement–and very important work just ahead.
The Time of Socialism
Many believers I know are saying similar things about this new political era we are in, now, in the United States, where openly socialist national leaders are scrambling to institute their utopian daydreams ignorant of, or blinded to, what history teaches–and warns–about such forms of governance, to whit, they all end up one way or another on the trajectory to totalitarianism.
Because when those who lust after total control find out how much there is to steal, what with all that control and power and (tax) money they can now get their hands on, it turns out they somehow forget (although it was only the useful naive among them who really ever believed) all the advertising slogans they papered the complicit press with in the beginning, for example…
Freedom for people not corporations.
From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
…as, ironically, they buddy-up with corporations to narrow not only workforce options but also available goods and services–to convince, corral, and control the masses who become, then, needy thus exploitable.
At least until the power mongers have to bring out the guns because of those who refuse to go along, i.e., the critical thinkers, historians, and believers with an eye, ear, mind, and spirit attuned to a bigger picture, a higher calling.
And there are always critical thinkers, historians, and believers who facilitate–with the weapons of word, wisdom, and war, as needed–the inevitable demise of every totalitarian-spawned regime until it comes apart–sadly, however, leaving behind a bloody wake.
But back to today’s version of totalitarianism that has arguably re-surfaced, re-packaged, in this new generation but for the same old reason, as put in a slogan of a different kind,
The eye of man is never satisfied.
In the difficult meantime…
Now that one might say (and many do) the political switch has been flipped and the drums heralding this new socialist era suddenly beat more loudly, believers (to cite my focus group in this post) fix our sights even more so on our real Commander in Chief: the Holy Spirit Who was sent to lead, guide and direct us in the kingdom of the spirit, that unseen government behind all that is seen.
Because after the propaganda is no longer needed to con the masses and complete power has been seized, we remember that socialists have never been favorable to the kind of freedoms and rights we have enjoyed in the United States to date that come from God and not man, as per our founding documents, and there may well be more of what Jesus also said, this by way of warning:
If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.…(John 15:18-19)
Some believers, as usual, will shepherd their flocks; others, teach; others, preach; and, others, intercede in prayer, but we will, with new focus, continue ministering in the thousand small and big ways that present themselves daily as we interact with our families, friends, co-workers, and passers-by, in this, now intensified, anti-Christian political climate…
My contribution today, hopefully, is to unpack Jesus’ words, cited atop, as the kind of gateway perspective to facilitate the necessary change of focus from peace to war, as it were, in order to plow ahead as best we can with His help.
Because our loss, here in the West, unless delayed or stopped, is great, and its impact is global.
Of course it will also be very hard to let go our grasp of the rails of hope that there still might be some last gasp of redemption by the military or others to right this ship.
It will be hard to leave, mentally and emotionally, what we have known as a free nation, meanwhile, executive order after executive order is hurriedly being signed, even in the first days of the New Political Order, pulling down what was the return to the strength, wealth. and freedom of this nation.
But there is a time to move on.
Even though it can be painful.
There is a period of mourning, grieving, that many are experiencing just now, but I pray we can quickly process through this natural reaction to our loss, for the socialists are not slowing down.
Indeed, haste is of the utmost importance to them.
Because enough people who think critically, know history, and believe in God always wake up and begin pushing back.
Yet, at the same time, God did equip us with the gift of grief to help us from one mental, emotional, and spiritual state to another. So we need to let that take its appropriate course.
In the meantime, He gives us advice and encouragement, including the following, to aid the transition.
First of all, here is some perspective Jesus offers that has to do with knowing our enemy, knowing what, beneath it all, “he” (and his minions) are really up to. For in a time of great confusion and many voices clamoring for attention this information keeps us on the right path:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
In other words, stealing, killing, and destroying, no matter how it’s dressed up in the Public Relations Department, is still stealing, killing, and destroying.
And this is good to be aware of, to watch for, and to remember when reality begins to surface.
Some might say that’s a bit of a harsh analysis, but Jesus had a way of cutting to the chase, getting to the point, revealing Truth in ways that leave no doubt particularly when it comes to dealing with evil which is always, at its root, inspired by our real enemy, i.e., he who is the father of S, K, and D (and comes from that place of heat and hate).
For another potent, brief statement by Jesus concerning how to tell who they are,
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:16-17)
This is where critical thinking and historical observation and analysis are key, again, whether one is a believer or not. Believers just have more of a spiritual, “inside” assist*.
And, secondly, now to what I think is most critical to know and to remember in this time of socialism arguably initiated here in the United States of America.
Jesus has not left us bereft. His promises ring true and loud, even now:
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (1:9)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:10-13)
And in light of what persecution and dark times for believers (and/or historians and critical thinkers) that might intensify in the New Socialist Order, be also encouraged:
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
As to knowing who is who, i.e., which one is the “angel of light” whose (evil) ends will correspond to their actions, and which is the (good) Light, Jesus, Who saves, here is way to judge by knowing the real results from the counterfeit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…(Galatians 5:22)
And one more piece of both encouragement and advice when it is hard to tell in the hard sell of all sorts of angels of light:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God…(1 John 4:1-2)
For ultimately, as a very wise person once told me, “when the rubber meets the road, the issue is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone”–whether the question is peace and freedom mentally, emotionally, politically, or spiritually.
I encourage us to lift up our heads and hearts and carry on no matter how hard it is to resist taking the hands off the plough to look back just once more and grieve over what has been lost.
For much has been lost.
But the work of the harvest, though hard, is likely going to be especially fruitful–considering that good flourishes in times of evil, whether it is socialism or any other kind, perpetrated by that angel. You know. The one who is ever at his dark craft. But enough about him.
Jesus is the way, truth, and light forward.
And He has overcome, thus we can.
Here is more from the Source:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)
*For information on the believers’ “inside assist,” as in how the Holy Spirits aids us, see here.