Jesus prepared his first followers to succeed in their mission in the world without political, cultural, moral or military support. They did.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Jesus
Every word Jesus spoke and every day He lived led His disciples to the conclusion that His life could be lived and His commandments obeyed even in the face of open cultural hostility. The needed support for such a quality of Christan life would come from within where the continuous support of the Trinity remains constant in a person of faith. The first disciples knew that those willing to cooperate fully with Christ formed in them would have all the daily support they needed to carry Jesus’ presence forward with power in the world.
For Christians now living in western civilization which was heavily influenced by Christian thought, morality, culture and even military might are experiencing an enormous adjustment to a new reality that is quickly forming around them. External support for anything Christian is diminishing across the west. In other parts of the world this external support has never existed or ceased to exist over time. The time for the normal Christian life of inner rest, food, water, happiness found in Jesus abiding within is for such a time as this in the west.
“Without Me you can do nothing.” Jesus
A generation of western believers is being spiritually born into an environment where they will need to hear Jesus’ teaching in a fresh, new way. They are our children and grandchildren. They will need to personally hear Jesus’ voice again about the normal Christian way to live in a time and a place where they will come to expect no external support for success in their endeavor to see, hear, love and live Jesus one day at a time.
These new believers and even older cultural Chrstians will need to experience being empowered from within by the Spirit of Christ and nurtured to full spiritual formation in Jesus by communities of believers who know how to abide in Christ alone. Old formulas based on a mix of cultural support and accumulated Bible knowledge will not weather the storm that is to come. In these days we will be driven within to live in Jesus moment by moment to find the strength to move forward unafraid and living out Jesus through the storm one day at a time.
For those of us who have lived our faith with cultural support of all kinds, our frustration and tears of loss will need to be very brief. Those being born again right now still need us to form communities of faith, hope and love that manifest true Christianity’s ability to adapt to want or plenty, support or no support. With or without external support from the culture that surrounds us, Jesus’ mission will powerfully move on and on in abiding believers. Nothing on earth can or will stop the fruit of such an inner supported life received from Jesus one day at a time.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul. Apostle and Martyr