Not too long ago, I was an avid reader of Charisma magazine, the voice of the Pentecostal-charismatic churches. I loved columnist J. Lee Grady, who was editor for many years and served as the conscience of my high-risk, high-reward Christian faith tradition. Take a look today, though, and here’s what you might see:
A Biden win will signal the end of America as we know it. My question: Is that a bad thing? There are quite a few things I’d love to see the end of in the America I know.
I’d be happy to see the end of economic policies that allow more than half of the nation’s wealth to accumulate in the hands of 59 people.
I’d weep for joy if I saw my nation—and especially my fellow Christ-followers—embrace racial justice and make amends for 400 years of slavery, dehumanization, murder, and oppression.
I’d take heart if our pro-life convictions extended to all people, born as well as unborn.
I’d be thrilled if we found the parents of those 545 children separated from their families at the border and used our power and creativity to devise sane, humane immigration policies.
I’d get excited for future generations if the American Church abandoned its culture of comfort and expended its wealth, strength, and faith on the vulnerable in our own cities.
America can only be saved under President Donald Trump’s leadership. So we really have put our faith in a man? We’ve gone all in on idolatry?
MyPillow’s Mike Lindell says this is the most important election ever. Right. I’m supposed to take my cues from a pillow salesman now.
Be on the lookout for Christian witches. Wow. After all that, witches too?
My point isn’t to invalidate Charisma magazine, whose publisher, Stephen Strang, is a brother in Christ. I just want to know when we as the Church gave way to wholesale fear.
Fear of our Black and brown neighbors across town.
Fear that we won’t get to keep the comforts we’ve enjoyed for so many years.
Fear that I won’t have “every friggin’ roll of toilet paper” (to borrow the memorable words of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins) stashed away for…what exactly?
Fear that our faith in Christ will not stand.
Instead of inclining our ear to the prophets of fear, let’s look at what the Scriptures say. The passage that has been on my heart again and again in this season is Luke 12:32-34. It comes right after Jesus’ familiar words about refraining from worry because God cares so much for us. Instead of running after the power and material things the Gentiles crave, we’re to seek the Kingdom of God.
Jesus goes on to say: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Let’s just pause a moment. These are the unchanging words of the Eternal One.
I’ll never forget the incredibly wise words of a pastor-prophet lady from South Africa named Carol Gossman. She told me how so many of our prayers are actually based on fear. She’d sent off her children to university and found herself praying these fear-filled prayers that they not get involved with the wrong people, not give way to the wicked ways of the world, not lose their Christian faith, and so on.
One day the Holy Spirit convicted her that her prayers were rooted in fear. From that point, she began taking authority in the Spirit and declaring that her children would be difference-makers, that they would set the tone in whatever environment they were in, that they would tap into faith to overcome trials, that they’d be motivated by love and joy and peace…you get the picture.
My prayers for my son changed after that priceless word of wisdom.
I’m not saying things are going to be easy after this election. Everything in my journalist’s mind says we’re entering a season of crazy court battles and social unrest.
But we still possess the power of Christ to love each other as sisters and brothers and not give way to the things this world fears. Let’s use that power wisely and show the world whose we are.
That testimony will last so much longer than our vote.
Julie Lyons is an evangelical Christian from the Pentecostal-charismatic branch of the faith. She is a wife and a mom, a freelance editor and writer, and a part-time seminary student at The King’s University. She believes the Renewal theology perspective is conspicuously lacking in evangelical media, and hopes to do something to right the balance. Visit her blog at: www.julielyons.com.