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Introduction

The Holy Spirit had been urging me to write this article for a week or so before I started it and frankly, I’ve struggled with this article over a period of a couple more weeks.

Why?

Because I desperately don’t want this perceived as an angry diatribe judgmentally lashing out at everyone who doesn’t “measure up to my standards” of what a Christ-follower should be, say, and do. This is written as much a challenge to myself as it is for you, my precious readers, and no one — least of all me! — has a moral high-ground from which to pass such judgments. Instead, I want to present these thoughts as a challenge for all of us to rise up and “take a stand for Christ” in ways that phrase is not typically/traditional understood or interpreted.

My heart — and I believe God’s heart, as well, or He wouldn’t have led me to write this — is grieved and breaking from the dysfunction in His Body: the strife, division, backbiting, entitlement, laziness, scriptural ignorance, and spiritual hubris. So there is more than a little bit of me feeling like “a voice crying out in the wilderness,” calling the Army of the Lord to arms, for us to:

…let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God! — Hebrews 12:1-2 TPT

In other words, the goal of this exercise is to paint a picture — or cast a vision if you will — of what could happen if we pulled up our socks, tightened our britches, rolled up our sleeves, and got serious about the things of God. If the Holy Spirit speaks to you through this article about some area of your walk needing serious attention, obey Him, repent, and move on to whatever He has for you to be and/or do. If you find you have your ducks generally in a row, be encouraged and keep on keeping on.

Let’s get started!

As this article’s title implies, we are going explore the question, “What if the Body of Christ actually practiced what Jesus taught/exemplified and what she proclaimed she believes?” and its corollary, “What could/would the world look like if she did?”

There is actually at least one historical precedent for this question having been answered in the real world. That amazing feat was accomplished by the early Church as documented by renowned sociology-of-religion expert Dr. Rodney Stark of Baylor University in two of his books, “The Rise of Christianity” and “The Triumph of Christianity”, the former of which I heavily referenced in a a previous post. While the world they faced was far bleaker spiritually than anything we could possibly imagine outside of a modern-day Communist or Islamic regime, somehow they were able to transform their government, society, and culture in ways we can only marvel at today.

What if His People Prayed?

This subhead is actually the title of one of my favorite Casting Crowns songs which appears on their eponymous first album, a song which still brings tears to my eyes nearly 20 years since.

Our keynote Scripture passage concerning prayer for this section is:

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. — 1 Timothy 2:1-3 MSG

What if We Prayed for Our Government?

Let me hasten to add here that when Paul penned his letter containing this Scripture passage, the Western world was ruled by a series of Roman emperors, governors, and puppet kings, all of whom were subject to no being other than the Prince of Darkness himself! The remainder of the world was no better off, them being ruled by petty tyrants and warlords.

  • What if with once voice, the Body of Christ boldly came before the Throne of Grace and prayed for those who have been elected to lead our country?
  • What if we not only prayed for godly wisdom and guidance for our valiant Christian President Trump, but also those speaking/acting at the behest of the powers of darkness such as the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mario Cuomo, Gavin Newsome, Adam Schiff, AOC, Ilhan Omar, and rest of the so-called progressive leadership?
  • What if we spoke to those powers, commanding them to cease and desist while invoking the ancient toast, “confusion to our enemies,” and then binding the satanic forces driving those folks to espouse and enact laws designed to put us into bondage, rather than preserve our freedoms?
  • What if we pulled down those strongholds exalting themselves against the knowledge of the Most High (1 Corinthians 10:4-5), rather than proclaiming on social media how reprehensible those people are for their words and deeds?
  • What would happen if we prayed for the voters who were deceived into voting for them so they would not repeat their past mistake(s)?
  • What might happen if we prayed with one voice for the lot of them to have a conversion experience akin to Paul’s on the Damascus Road, one which would transform their very lives and consequently their legislative agendas? What if we imitated our Savior by praying, “Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do?” based on the spiritual reality they are puppets of the demonic?
  • Would New York and other states be passing full-term abortion laws, expanding our nation’s genocide of the innocent to include new victims?
  • Would there be abortion-on-demand at all? Would Planned Parenthood even remain in existence?
  • Would satanically-motivated politicians be in office passing unjust laws to further enslave us?
  • Would the Clinton Crime Family be alive, well, and free to pursue their nefarious schemes or be in imprisoned where they belong?

What if We Prayed for Our Media Outlets?

The modern news media has become a travesty, a disfigured/diseased shadow of its former self, having abandoned even the pretense of impartiality and political agnosticism. News and entertainment alike have become a propaganda organ for the political left, Pravda for the current age.

  • Rather than taking pot-shots at the likes of Anderson Cooper, Dan Rather, Shephard Smith, Jim Acosta, Oprah, Rachel Madow, the women on The View, and a host of others way to numerous to name, sniping at them from the cheap-seats of social media, what if we took that “Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.” seriously and united with one voice, interceding on their behalf before God?
  • What if we prayed for reporters to truly investigate what is transpiring within both the government and post-modern culture, exposing the true evils and nefarious falsehoods being propagated by the corrupt, rather than trumpeting evil as good to anyone gullible enough to listen to their propaganda?
  • What if we took a stand in the Spirit against the evil spirits driving the producers, writers, and actors of almost every current movie and TV series?
  • Would CNN/MSNBC/etc. continue to be able to blatantly lie on camera without immediately destroying themselves?
  • Would the news outlets be able to proclaim their perverted opinions as fact with a total disregard for reality and morality?
  • Would Oprah still be in business hawking her New Age horse-hockey and liberal philosophies to the gullible?
  • Would sports figures and Hollywood actors be spouting their politically treasonous and morally bankrupt drivel to all who would listen?
  • Would godless agendas promoting/normalizing vile sexual acts, coarse language, and Islam be crammed down our throats in almost every single movie and TV series?
  • Would the arts be celebrating God’s creation or simply confine itself to being yet another propaganda organ?

What if We Prayed for Our Educators?

The favorite targets of ridicule for our educational institutions — and vice-versa! — are Christ-followers. The vast majority of the educational systems in this world are morally bankrupt, politically corrupt, and display an intense hostility towards Jesus which beggars the imagination. Many of them are in bed financially and politically with Red China, a corrupt foreign power hating anything and everything we stand for. Hostility against Christians and everything we stand for is at an all-time high at every level of education. Persecution of Christ-followers and political conservatives by school officials, faculty, and students — especially in colleges and universities — is pervasive and becoming ever more violent by the day. Yet Jesus never once commanded us to ridicule “those who persecute us and despitefully use us,” now did it? Oops!

Almost all of our Ivy League universities began as seminaries founded to train men called to God’s full-time service with the theological knowledge needed to effectively minister to God’s flock. Now, these institutions are bastions of ultra-liberal ideological group-think lacking even a vestige of the open academic inquiry which has been their historical charter and purview. Most denominational seminaries still clinging to existence seem to spend far more time propagating liberal theology and progressive ideology than laying a sound biblical foundation in their students. The other such schools positioning themselves as Bible-centric tend to be far more focused on their respective denominational traditions than on what God’s Word really has to say.

So what would happen if we Christ-followers stood in faith and agreement, pulling down all those philosophical strongholds exalting themselves against the knowledge of God? What if we spent serious knee-time praying God’s protection over all the young people (not just our own!) attending any school at any level, that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all Truth and preserve them from the lies perpetrated by accuser of our brethen? What if we bound the spirits of darkness driving atheist professors and others of their ilk and loosed the Holy Spirit and angels of God upon them to bring about their conversion?

  • Would demonic concepts and behaviors be enshrined in our educational institutions, flooding our children with lies from the pit of Hell?
  • Would atheistic professors be free to brainwash our children with such lies?
  • Would our children who we have spent years raising “in the fear and admonition of the Lord” be able to attend school without having them deconverted to agnosticism at best and outright atheism at worst?
  • Would the intellectually bankrupt concept of Darwinism — as well as its equally bereft-of-reality progeny, Marxism — have such an ideological foothold in our education system that they are almost considered holy writ?
  • Would seminary graduates be indoctrinated with progressive theology, thereby espousing universalism, greasy grace, same-sex marriage, homosexual/lesbian ordination, and a host of other theological ills?

What if We Prayed for Our Church Leaders?

There have been heretical and otherwise false prophets/priests/pastors/elders/deacons as well as ministerial moral failures for the entirety of Church history. However, starting with the Jim Bakker/PTL and Jimmy Swaggart scandals of the 1980s, there seems has been an exponential increase in revelations of financial malfeasance, ministerial sexual misconduct (adultery and pedophilia), deconversions (falling away from the faith), doctrinal compromise (e.g., public acceptance of universalism, same-sex marriage, liberalist ideology, etc.), as well as wholesale abandonment of the ministry by pastors experiencing burn-out and discouragement. The Internet troll feeding-frenzies surrounding such are simply appalling with — tragically — most of that trolling coming from within Christendom. Equally tragically, Christianity has often been described as the only army in Western Civilization which kills its own wounded.

Brethren, this should not be so!

What many of us in the pews fail to realize is our leaders face exactly the same trials and temptations we do using only the selfsame spiritual weapons we ourselves possess in Christ, yet have a far huger target painted upon their chests because Satan does his dead-level-best to destroy God’s shepherds and through that, destroy His flock. In other words, folks called to the ministry have no greater or lesser anointing to live the Christian life as those whom they lead, yet face temptations and trials far greater in quantity and magnitude. What ministers do have is an anointing to preach and teach God’s Word to:

…train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the Church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. — Ephesians 4:12-13 MSG

When dealing with those who have fallen, the Word of God clearly states we should imitate God’s consistent character trait of reconciliation and restoration as expressed in Galatians 6:1-3:. Here is that passage as expressed in several translations:

New King James

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

The Passion Translation

My beloved friends, if you see a believer who is overtaken with a fault, may the one who overflows with the Spirit seek to restore him. Win him over with gentle words, which will open his heart to you and will keep you from exalting yourself over him. Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. If you think you are too important to stoop down to help another, you are living in deception.

The Message

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

The Amplified Version

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any sin, you who are spiritual [that is, you who are responsive to the guidance of the Spirit] are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness [not with a sense of superiority or self-righteousness], keeping a watchful eye on yourself, so that you are not tempted as well. Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]. For if anyone thinks he is something [special] when [in fact] he is nothing [special except in his own eyes], he deceives himself.

J. B. Phillips New Testament

Even if a man should be detected in some sin, my brothers, the spiritual ones among you should quietly set him back on the right path, not with any feeling of superiority but being yourselves on guard against temptation. Carry each other’s burdens and so live out the law of Christ. If a man thinks he is “somebody”, he is deceiving himself, for that very thought proves that he is nobody.

Instead of this, what takes place is the reputational crucifixion of fallen leaders with the “sheep” ostensibly proclaiming themselves to be Christians joining in with the “wolves” of the drive-by media and secular public opinion as judges, juries, and co-executioners, forever guaranteeing the offender’s life is completely destroyed beyond any hope of recovery. Granted, the offenders definitely committed one or more sins, are totally without excuse, and need to stand down from ministry until repentance has been proven and their root-cause issues resolved in a godly manner. That being said, the attitudes and behaviors of most so-called Christians on social media towards them is no less sinful and equally without excuse.

The Body of Christ was never commanded to air out its dirty laundry in public venues before the lost!

However, all such situations are clear-cut cases of “an ounce of prevention always beats a pound of cure” and “too little, too late.”

  • What if we prayed for our spiritual leaders, interceding for them before the Throne of Grace rather than taking thoughtless pot-shots at them over whether we liked how/what they preached, their annoying pulpit mannerisms (every preacher has them!), how they look/dress, their perceived effectiveness, their management style, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum, ad nauseam?
  • What if we were to call the angels of heaven to attention and command them to minister life to and protection over our pastors, their spouses, and their children?
  • What if we honored those who lead us spiritually rather than publicly crucifying them in the court of public opinion because they fail to live up to our narrow sets of expectations?
  • What if, in cases of ministerial family issues, we came against the spirits of dissension, schism, and divorce attacking those families, commanding them to cease and desist?
  • What if we “stood in the gap and made up the hedge” as we interceded against the foul spirits of deception, confusion, doctrinal compromise, discouragement, sexual temptation, and hubris who relentless throw themselves at ministers with total abandon?
  • What if we diligently prayed for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our leaders away from the multitude of temptations presented to them daily simply because they are called to lead God’s flock?
  • Selah!

    What if We Prayed for One Another?

    James, by the inspiration of God’s Spirit, commands us to:

    Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God — it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. — James 5:16 AMP

    A tremendous amount of the strife, division, and illness in the Church would be resolved if we but humbly obeyed this command!

    What if We Studied God’s Word & Actually Obeyed It?

    As I was having coffee one day with one of my friends, Pastor Scott Mitchell of The Church Next Door, he let out a loud chuckle and a hearty “AMEN!” at my casual assessment of the typical professing American Christian as having “the Bible knowledge of a rock and the attention span of a flashbulb.”

    Tragically, the typical occupant of any given church pew in the US has little-to-no grasp of what the Scriptures actually proclaim, command, and promise beyond what they have heard from a pulpit, typically such pulpits being found within a tradition-steeped denominational setting. Many of them sing “Gimme That Old Time Religion” without giving a single thought to that proclamation’s implications. I laughed and laughed when the late folk-singer Pete Seeger took that “old-time religion” schtick to it’s logical conclusion one time by adding the following stanza:

    Well, what about them Druids?
    They drink fermented fluids,
    Running naked through the woods,
    And it’s good enough for me!

    But I digress…

    What if we studied and did our best to present ourselves to God approved, workmen [tested by trial] who have no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the Word of Truth (2 Timoth 2:15 AMP) by emulating the Berean disciples who “were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the Truth” (Acts 17:11 NLT)? What if we who “by reason of use have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14b) according to what the Word says, rather than our own personal opinions, prejudices, and preferences?

    What if we actually heeded James’ command:

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. — James 1:22-24 MSG

    Ignorance is one thing and is easily remedied by simply digging into the Book using proper hermeneutical standards. The problem comes when ignorance is coupled with the hubris of thinking we have all the answers concerning God when in reality we have next to none, then presumptuously exalting ourselves to the Judgment Seat of God and passing sentence on all lesser mortals having the temerity to disagree with us or espouse any doctrine falling outside our heavily-defended comfort zones.

    Hey, none of us — least of all me! — is perfect by any stretch of the imagination and no one has all the answers, again least of all me. My statements in this article are neither meant to heap guilt and shame, pass judgment, perpetuate perfectionism, nor exalt myself as some sort of stellar example. We are, after all, stumbling towards the Light together. What I am saying is that many folks proclaiming themselves to be Christians are “all hat and no cattle,” as a local aphorism goes. As I’ve already discussed, we witness this kind of thing daily on social media. But, again, I digress…

    • Building on that thought, what if we took such hard-earned grasp of what the Scriptures really say and actually do what it really commands of us? What if we took seriously what Jesus said about us who we are, what He said we can and should do, as well as what the rest of the New Testament says on those same issues?
    • What if we boldly, unapologetically, and unashamedly proclaimed the Truth of Christ’s resurrection to all who would listen — and even those who refused to listen, rather than being paralyzed by the fear of being thought weird or silly or bigoted or racist by the world system and pop culture? The famous atheist entertainer Penn Gillette of Penn & Teller fame was supposedly quoted as asking the rhetorical question: “If the claims of Christianity are indeed true and Christ is the only Way to heaven, how much would you have to hate someone not to share that?
    • What if, as an extension of our Gospel message, we threw our fears of what people might think to the winds and boldly prayed for the sick as Jesus both exemplified, promised, and commanded? What if we stopped allowing the devil to cow us into inaction with his perpetual question, “What if it doesn’t work?” and allowed God to be God and as our Supreme Authority take responsibility for the results wherever His Word is being fearlessly preached and obeyed? Do you think we as the Body of Christ would be hiding in the so-called safety of our homes during a pandemic or would we be out there on the front lines alongside the medical professionals and seeing the miraculous?
    • What if we all gave generously and continuously of our substance (at the very least, a tithe) to both further the Gospel and assist the poor? What if we continued to do so as the Lord gave us the increase so that we actually became channels of financial blessing as our lifestyle? Do you think all our churches, ministries, and ministers would be fully equipped for every good work?
    • What if we actually walked in agape love for one another in the Body of Christ, modelling the very behavior by which Jesus Himself said the world would know us by rather than taking cheap-shots at those we disagree with on social media? What if our thinking and behavior were so transformed into Christ-likeness that fence-sitters in the marketplace of ideas and the court of public opinion could only say, “Well, we still suspect they’re crazy, but their words and actions show something has definitely impacted their lives for the better! I wonder what that’s all about?”
    • What if God’s ministers spent far less time worrying about attendance numbers, doctrinal traditions, and what folks think about their preaching style, management style, etc. and decided to preach the unvarnished Word of God in its entirety without compromise? (I am privileged to count my pastor friends within that demographic, but we are a minority.) God’s people are perishing from lack of knowledge and the blame for much of that can be squarely place on their shepherds.
    • What if husbands took seriously the Word’s commands and exhortations to love their wives unconditionally and sacrificially? What if wives threw away the so-called wisdom of this age concerning their husbands and began respecting them unconditionally, as well? What if both husbands and wives humbled themselves and submitted to one another as the Scriptures dictate? What if they, when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their marriages, they humbled themselves even further and sought godly help?
    • What if we parents not only raised our children in the “fear and admonition of the Lord,” but far more importantly were secure enough in our faith to engage our children’s sincere questions concerning the things of God without mistaking those questions as attacks on our faith, childish rebellion, or casting aspersions on our parenting? A member of the Christian apologetics group I belong to on Facebook is studying “de-conversions,” — people who were raised in Christian homes, made a profession of faith at one time, and yet abandoned it all as adults — as part of his doctoral studies and found the vast majority of such cases were raised by rigidly religious parents who ran their households accordingly, brooking no serious discussion of their children’s doubts, questions, and concerns. Once free of such a toxic family environment, most of their offspring fled the faith without looking back, especially after entering college.
    • I could go on and on…

    Conclusion

    I’m a huge music buff and recently came across the following 2 songs while listening to K-Love. Both are on a heavy repeat cycle on my phone. From the moment I started writing this article, I’ve been praying for a high note we could end on and I believe these are what the Holy Spirit had in mind.

    Believer

    The first is Believer by Rhett Walker, a bold, fearless anthem of who and what a Christ-follower is and the attitude we should exhibit as we walk with Him.


    Here are the lyrics:

    Verse 1
    I walk a bit different now,
    Now that my heart’s been found.
    Nothing really feels the same!
    I hold my head a bit higher,
    I lift my voice a bit louder,
    Yeah, something inside has changed!

    Chorus
    I am a mountain-mover, water-walker,
    More than just an overcomer,
    ‘Cuz I’ve been set free!
    I am a Gospel-preacher, heart-on-fire,
    Freedom-singing testifier,
    ‘Cuz I’ve been redeemed!
    I am a believer!

    Verse 2
    I know this is not my home.
    I know I don’t walk alone.
    No matter what comes my way!
    I have peace through the trouble,
    I have joy though the struggle,
    And now my hope’s in a brighter day!

    Chorus

    Bridge
    I am a child of the Father,
    An orphan no longer,
    No doubt about who I am!
    I’m in the hands of the Healer,
    The arms of the Savior,
    His grace makes me who I am!

    Final Chorus
    I am a mountain-mover, water-walker,
    More than just an overcomer,
    ‘Cuz I’ve been set free!
    (repeat 1x)

    I am a Gospel-preacher, heart-on-fire,
    Freedom-singing testifier,
    ‘Cuz I’ve been redeemed!
    I am a believer!

    Edge Of My Seat

    The second is a song by TobyMac entitled Edge Of My Seat which perfectly describes my optimism concerning an imminent mighty move of God where what I have portrayed in this article are very real possibilities, indeed likelihoods:

    Here are the lyrics:

    Verse 1
    Well, I thought that I had seen most everything
    And if jaded was a people, I’d be the king!
    So cold to what a brand-new day could bring,
    So icy cold to all the wonder that should be moving me.
    Oh but then came You,
    Hot like June
    I’m jumping out my skin just tryin’ to catch the view!

    1st Chorus
    You got me on the edge,
    Got me on the edge of my seat!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    You got me on the edge,
    I am on the edge of my seat!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!

    Verse 2
    Lost all my worries, feels like Christmas came early.
    Yeah, I could stay here day and night and never feel no hurry.
    Needless to mention, Lord, You got my attention!
    My eyes are wide with wonder feeling for this soul ascension
    ‘Cause no one else is ever gonna do for me
    Ever gonna do for me what You do for me, yeah
    Ain’t no one ever gonna steal the mystery
    You put right in front of me, right in front of me, yeah

    2nd Chorus
    You got me on the edge
    Got me on the edge of my seat!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    You got me on the edge,
    I am on the edge of my seat!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    You got me on the edge,
    I am on the edge of my seat!
    And I can feel the wonder rushin’ over me!

    Bridge
    You are opening my eyes, Lord,
    Opening my eyes, Lord,
    To brand new possibilities!
    (repeat 3x)

    Spoken
    Behold, I am doin’ a new thing in the land!
    It’s springin’ forth!
    Do you perceive it? (Hey!)

    Final Chorus
    You got me on the edge,
    I am on the edge of my seat!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    I can feel it rushin’ over me!
    (repeat 3x)

    Outro
    You are opening my eyes, Lord,
    Opening my eyes, Lord,
    To brand new possibilities!
    You are opening my eyes, Lord,
    Opening my eyes, Lord!

    Behold, I am doin’ a new thing in the land!
    It’s springin’ forth!
    Do you perceive it?

    And far more importantly than mere perception, are you willing to participate in making it come to pass?

    Thanks for reading!