Engaged or Entangled?
Any Christian who is sincere about his walk of faith and service to the Kingdom must, from time to time, engage in personal examination. I want to give you some insight into one such examination on a personal level. mkg
As Christ followers, it is imperative that we discern the difference between engagement and entanglement. We are commanded by Christ and the apostles to engage the culture. There is no clearer admonition than the words of Jesus as He prepared for His ascension to His Father's Throne:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
The whole pattern of Jesus’ earthly ministry was one of engagement with the culture as He sat with sinners, touched the lepers, and confronted the self-righteous. His words reflect His view of cultural engagement when He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
If we understand anything about the Christian life, we must understand that we (all of us) are called to preach the good news, heal the sick, deliver the oppressed, and confront injustice. Paul stood on Mars Hill in Athens as he engaged in debate with the philosophers of Greece. This great Apostle continually engaged with worldly culture all the way from Arabia to Rome as he stood before governors and emperors, silversmiths and sellers of purple. Without question, the church was raised up by Jesus to engage and confront a lost and dying world with the claims of Christ. The calling of God is far more than Sunday morning meetings, great worship services, church suppers and quiet time devotionals. We are called to be the conscience of governments, the opponents of injustice, and friends to the weak and broken. It is vital to our mission in the earth that we understand that believers are not called to flow with culture but will often find ourselves struggling against the flow of the culture; not in parallel with it but to throw ourselves across the path of culture as an impediment to its march toward doom.
But, while we are called to engage the culture we are also warned that we should not become entangled with the culture.
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4
There is a very real distinction to be made between engaging the culture and becoming entangled with it. If we look carefully at the social and political climate of our own country, one thing is clear: Our nation is a divided nation. Our nation has become a cesspool of hateful rhetoric, blaming, accusation, name shaming, and open political warfare. We are in the midst of class warfare, race warfare, cancel culture, wokeism; and if we look carefully we will find the church standing square in the middle of it. Whether in the street, on social media, or on television our own strident voices often are sounding out in chorus with the world we are commanded to engage, but not to become entangled with. The world is not being drawn to Christ, the church is being drawn into the world.
I have learned to not say “everyone,” because I detest broad brush strokes. However, It would seem that much of the church in America has bought into the delusion that somehow the government can fix the morass that has been caused by our wicked and sinful hearts. Somehow, the next election is going to get us back on course. It's a fool’s dream.
I am certainly not pointing fingers. I have no right because I am fighting an internal warfare of my own as I observe how easily I am dragged into the fighting. I realize that like so many others, I am in danger of becoming hopelessly entangled with the culture.
If a lifeguard allows himself to become entangled with the arms of a drowning man they will both drown.
Our culture is drowning; drowning in its own sea of humanism, drowning in the false belief that mankind can redeem itself, drowning in an ocean of pride and arrogance and rebellion against God. As our nation sinks into the depths of its own perversity, each of us must take care that we are not entangled with civil affairs to the point that we are dragged under with a drowning culture. I demonstrated to myself just within the last day, how easy it is to get sucked into a worldly mindset; to think like the world, to react like the world, to respond like the world, to sound just like the world because I am so entangled with the world.
Paul warned the Corinthian church to “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,” (2 Corinthians 6:17). We should not disengage from the world. We cannot hide in a spiritual cocoon, cutting ourselves off in a position of self-protection so as not to get any dirt on us. There is a spiritual warfare in which we must engage because eternity for so many lives are in the balance.
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) This is the great calling of the church, commissioned to us by the Lord of the Church. However, we must continually remind ourselves that in HIs High Priestly prayer of John 17 Jesus declared that we were “in the world but not of the world.”
I realize that this post and my previous post I AM AT WAR - WITH ME might suggest that I am engaged in some deep personal conflict. It's true. I am deeply conflicted and profoundly convicted regarding these matters. I am equally sure that there are others similarly conflicted which is why I have chosen after several weeks of silence, to expose myself so publicly. I have realized, much to my personal disappointment, that I find myself locked in the embrace of a drowning man (our culture) that threatens to destroy us both. If I am going to have any impact on broken and drowning men I must get free.