Appreciation Day

So I didn’t eat at Chik-fil-a today.

Some brothers and sisters would say that makes me a coward, unwilling to fight the good fight. I’m not living out my faith if I don’t participate in an anti-boycott of a brother’s restaurant. I must stand in support of my values; I must publicly voice my concerns against the cultural acceptance of homosexuality; I must vote republican. That’s what a good Christian does.

On the other side of that coin, some brothers and sisters would say that makes me a true believer. I lived out my faith by not falling prey to a marketing campaign designed to make some rich people more money. I refused to jump on the “God hates gays” bandwagon; I demonstrated the all-accepting love of God; I threw politics and legalism out the window. That’s what a good Christian does.

All I can say is: come again?

As I see the statuses of my Facebook friends and read blog entries and news articles I am saddened to see divisions forming. This should be expected between believers and the rest of the world. But between brothers and sisters who all claim the name of Christ and are sanctified by His blood? That should not be! And ironically, both sides do it in the name of “spiritual warfare.” Funny you should mention that.

My grandfather and I were in the middle of a great discussion about theological theories not too long ago when we got sidetracked on the topic of why it seems that we Christians have a penchant for quibbling over eternally insignificant things. True to form, he let slip some of the wisest words I had heard in a long time. I’ll paraphrase because I don’t remember his exact words, but he essentially said: “I actually believe it is a form of demonic opposition. As human beings, we only have so much energy we can devote to being antagonistic. Satan tries to get us to argue amongst ourselves because it is in his best interest. When we devote our energies to quarreling in business meetings and debating over theological semantics, we have less energy to fight him.”

Wow, I love my grandpa.

I’m not in the habit of posting large amounts of the text of Scripture when I write because I believe it’s more effective to have people look up references and read them in their own Bibles. But I’ll make an exception today because Romans 14:5-12 speaks so perfectly for itself on this issue:

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (ESV)

Regardless of where you stand socio-politically on the Chik-fil-a issue, my question to you is this: have your energies been focused on making some sort of statement, or have you devoted yourself to putting on the armor of God, wielding the Word, building up the brethren, interceding in prayer, and forging ahead with the Great Commission? That is true spiritual warfare, and I’ll be the first one to admit not all my focus has been where it should be.

Let there be no doubt: I most assuredly have an opinion about all of the goings-on, but this essay is neither the time nor place; it simply would not be constructive. What I will say, however, is this: I didn’t eat at Chik-fil-a today...

...because my meals were lovingly prepared by my wife.

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