With An Unveiled Face (part I)
by Jennifer McAlister – 12/5/2020
Have you ever noticed that when you fill your gas tank up, it seems you can drive a long way before the needle gets below the full line but as soon as it gets to the quarter tank mark it seems to evaporate ten times faster? Jesus told us that as we get closer to the last days that deception, wars, earthquakes, famines and persecution would enfold like birth pangs. Like contractions when a woman is in labor the pains grow stronger and closer together. I think we can all agree that the year 2020 feels like we are at the quarter tank mark with one pain after another with little time to recover in between.
During hard times, people should unite and grow stronger. Unfortunately, the exact opposite has happened; the world has never been so divided and the love of many has grown cold. This is a very dangerous place to be since a house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). Yes, division is dangerous but even worse is disregarding Biblical principles. The Bible says, woe to the those who call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20). We are living in a time where Satan doesn’t have to disguise himself anymore because his agenda is now openly celebrated and promoted! If you disagree with what the world endorses, you are labeled as intolerant, uncaring and judgmental. No one is allowed to have an opinion that contradicts what the masses promote.
“We are living in a time where Satan doesn’t have to disguise himself anymore because his agenda is now openly celebrated and promoted!”
A couple of years ago I was told by a young woman that I was being selfish and unconcerned about the ocean and the plight of sea turtles. When I asked her what she was talking about, she pointed to the plastic straw in my drink. In 2018, both social media and the news began broadcasting reports of trash-littered oceans to include a video of a sea turtle with a straw up its nose. This fueled the watching audience to take a stand and demand a ban on plastic straws. Soon afterward, restaurants quit giving out straws and California even tried to make it illegal by introducing a bill that would impose jail sentences if a restaurant worker handed out a single unsolicited plastic straw! Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s very important to be good stewards of our planet. What concerned me was the divisive spirit behind this movement and the inconsistency of the argument. For example, if you hated the paper straw and chose to use plastic, you were deemed irresponsible and judged; but the 32-ounce plastic cup you were drinking out of was good to go.
Fast forward to 2020 where, thanks to Covid-19, the straw argument and the use of plastic, has taken a backseat to the latest divisive issue, the coronavirus mandates. Ironically, due to the need for disposable eating utensils and containers in restaurants, plastic is king and treated as a critical tool in the fight against the spread of Covid-19. On the bright side, I haven’t been glared at for using a straw for months! I’m a fan of being a responsible citizen but once again, it’s the divisive spirit behind the mandates, coupled with the inconsistency of the argument that I have a problem with. In the name of concern and compassion, you will be confronted, yelled at, and called heartless, irresponsible, and ignorant if you don’t put your mask on and keep your distance.
As Christians, we are called to live in unity and be peacemakers but what do we do when the world we live in requires us to do the exact opposite of what God’s word says? Act 5:29 tells us, We ought to obey God rather than men. Yes, we are to obey governing authorities (Romans 13) but not to the extent where it goes against God’s laws. In the Bible, we’re told that Daniel didn’t quit praying because it was mandated. Instead, he chose to be thrown into a pit of hungry lions before submitting to a nonsensical, man-made law prohibiting prayer. God blessed his obedience by shutting the mouths of the lions. His courage honored God, and in return, God supernaturally protected Daniel.
WHOM SHALL WE FEAR?
We need to be very careful to not be a reflection of the culture around us but instead shine the light of God’s truth in the darkness. Ephesians 5:11 says it this way, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
For example, the world encourages us to live in a constant state of fear by presenting us with a daily scoreboard of how many people have contracted and died with Covid-19. It’s hard to find an outlet that highlights any good news or even mentions how many people have recovered from this virus. Why is this? I believe it’s because fear is Satan’s weapon of choice used to control those who bow down to it. Ephesians 2:2 describes our enemy as being the prince of the power of the air…” After seeing how the media has cooperated in the promotion of panic, prince of the power of the “airwaves” seems to be a more appropriate term!
When you live in fear, you’re in bondage to it and are easily manipulated. God does not want that for His children and reminds us over 100 times in the Bible not to fear. Isaiah 41:10 sounds more like a command than a suggestion when we read, Fear not, for I Am with you… This is good news! God is with us and for us, so who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). This should increase our faith and shelter us from all the lies of the enemy.
Worry is a choice and when we choose to elevate fear over faith, it will kill joy, steal peace, and destroy relationships. Whether we realize it or not, we worship what we fear. When we worship worry, it will demand that we trade our life for existence, the opposite of what Jesus wants for us. He came to give us life, and life to the full! (John 10:10). God alone is worthy to be feared.