Living as a Remnant
There have been many times in history when the tides of culture have swept headlong into secularism, leaving God's people either swept away in the current or paddling like crazy against it. This seems to be one of those times in US culture. The larger culture has gone, in fairly quick order, from being moored in Judea Christian truth, to seeing truth as relative to one's feelings, to actually becoming more and more antagonistic toward all things Christian.
How do we live and honor Jesus Christ in such a time as this?
First and foremost, I believe it is important to pay attention to the state of our own soul. In the face of the headlong pursuit of happiness and pleasure and material things, I believe Michael W Smith has it right (Breathe, 2001):
This is the air I breathe This is the air I breathe Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread This is my daily bread Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you And I, I'm lost without you
When my own soul is so connected to Jesus that I'm desperate for Him and lost without Him, it's the starting point for living in a secular world as a remnant.
After his contest with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Elijah ended up in a cave, feeling sorry for himself. God spoke to him in a still, small voice:
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:13b-14 NIV)
God's response to Elijah's complaint was to give him an assignment, and to make this astounding claim:
"Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18 NIV)
A remnant of 7,000 people remained faithful to the Lord when the whole nation was chasing after Baal. I believe it is time for those of us who are desperate for Jesus to live like that. It is time to put God's things first and let the world go. It is time to allow the heart of Jesus to so dominate our lives that we love like He loves and serve like He serves. I believe the world around us will still respond to the grace of Jesus Christ that is presented to them with skin on through the love and sacrifice of His people.
Jesus, break our hearts for what breaks yours. Fill our hearts with deep compassion for the broken and hurting in our world. Fill us so full of the Holy Spirit that holiness of heart and life become a reality in us. And make these lives of ours to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth!