It can be challenging when our faith leaves the parking lot of social isolation and enters the racetrack of public opinion. That transition is where our faith gains traction as we speak the truth in love against issues that oppose the heart and will of God. A public witness can appear so raw and honest it will offend those who believe any expression of faith should only be seen, not heard.
I have increasingly seen believers who are happy to remain in a sheltered place where their faith remains set apart and uninvolved in the affairs of culture. I get it. I used to be one of those people. That choice works for a while until policies of a government begin to harm those it swore to protect, or when a school board approves a curriculum that abuses the healthy development of innocent children or some form of evil is platformed and declared as the new normal to be digested without discernment. It gets especially challenging when we are told to accept a lie under the threat of legal action or social ostracization. As these trends move forward unrestrained by truth, badges of virtue are worn by those who chose to “remain above the fray” not engaging in a practical application of their faith thinking somehow that is the higher path. Historically, it has always proven to be a lower and regretful path.
A faith without such traction is going nowhere. It may feel good and be applauded in gatherings of like-minded people, but in the end, it will observe, from a distance, a cultural reformation that will produce the promised fruit of the Great Commission. Jesus saves people not to become silent and isolated. We are saved to be change agents, vocal salt dispensers of truth in our world where lies are too easily digested and remain unchallenged.
The Church is called to be an intervening and redeeming presence in culture. That intervention requires traction. When Jesus cleared out the Temple, He intervened when the purpose of God’s house was being violated. Wilberforce openly spoke openly against the evil of slavery with great effect. Martin Luther King Jr demonstrated through suffering how to pastor a nation toward reform. At this time, we need God’s intervention in His house – the Church – where many have bought into the spirit of non-engagement with social issues and have adopted unthinking compliance to every dictate of the state.
The greatest objections to gaining such traction sadly comes from those within the Church who have over-spiritualized their faith resulting in a forfeiture of its intended place of traction in culture.
An intervening faith is never comfortable nor is it accepted by everyone. Those who seek comfort and acceptance over the need for a Spirit-led public intervention against evil will come to a sad conclusion. They will come to realize they never ran a full expression of their faith because it remained safely strapped to a trailer in the racetrack parking lot. They never allowed the tires of their faith to heat up and feel the power of the traction of truth – traction so powerful it demonstrates to the world, and to the reluctant ones within the Church, what it looks like to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth.