I watched a factory blow up when I was a teenager. I was standing on the balcony of our two-story house in El Salvador at night. Flames Shot above the other two-story houses in our neighborhood. One family’s house was built above a factory. The factory and house were bombed with 100 sticks of dynamite. Both were destroyed and most of the family were killed.
I’m very sensitive when it comes to the topic of war, particularly when using war as a metaphor to describe Christianity. This is a result of my childhood and seeing things get blown up. The Church has declared war and I’m sick of it. (See more about it here and here.)
I don’t like when Christians use this metaphor to define relationships. They are at war with the culture. At war with other religions. At war with outsiders. At war in politics. At war with the LGBTQ community. It’s very much a win-lose American mindset.
What I don’t like about war is that somebody always dies. My identity is not to fight in a war, to destroy and to kill. That sounds like the agenda of Satan. I am a life-giver, not a life-taker.
Christians are Life-Givers
The first characteristic of our identity is we are life-givers.
I had a dream I was in a house visiting with family and friends. I was in the kitchen doing dishes after our nice meal. Suddenly I heard a great crash. My friend, John, and I ran down the stairs to the front door just in time to see a delivery truck crash. It was on the sidewalk barreling through a line of parked cars and numerous people.
Just for a second it looked like the truck might come towards us and I didn’t want us to be hit. John was standing in front of me, I grabbed the back of his polo shirt and pulled him back inside.
I woke up thinking one thing: you grab people by their identity and pull them in.
In the Bible, the word robes often refers to a person’s identity. In that light, I grabbed John by his identity and pull him to safety.
In the last 100 or even 200 years, the Christian church has taken a wrong turn and we’ve lost our way. (For more, see this post.) We’ve painted ourselves into a strange corner where we support things we don’t believe in. How else do you explain the Evangelical Church in 2017 which looks like it’s more interested in political power than in spirituality or morality?
Just like in the movie Hook, when Wendy says to Peter, “Don’t you know who you are?” Remember who you are. Our identity as a Christian is bringing life, not destroying it. We are life-givers, and this gives us hope.
Christians are Powerful
The second characteristic of our identity is power.
2017 was a year of dismantling. The small man behind the curtain was exposed, as in the Wizard of Oz. The small man behind the curtain is not who we are.
Let’s remember who we are. In the 1800s, Christian Evangelicalism was a bird of a different color. Benjamin Corey, in his book Unafraid, describes them:
“They were Christians who believed their job was to make the world a better place, and they were driven by the deep-seated belief that nothing had the power to stop them.”
This is who we are! We are not like those who are driven by fear. We have hope for the future. We have power. We follow a mighty God who is not intimidated by current events or speculation of a dismal future.
God doesn’t operate in fear. We don’t have to grasp for power and betray our identity. For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)
It doesn’t matter if the odds are against us. Look at:
- Daniel in the Lion’s Den
- Esther approaching the King
- Deborah in a battle
- David facing a lion or a bear
- Jesus on the cross
We are powerful, right now. We are hopeful, right now. God with us and God is for us. God is not doing things in the timing we think he should, but God is up to something. We need to surrender to his agenda and get in line with his work, because that is where the power is.
I am a powerful life-giver. You are a powerful life-giver. We as a Christian Church are powerful life-givers.