As I have tried to make sense of the baffling movement in America to oppress one particular group of people based on their beliefs in order to advance another based on their agenda, the Lord has shown me we have a word problem. Not of the math, rhetoric, or freedom of expression variety, but of the biblical kind.
It goes back to the very beginning, when “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). When “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
When He created life…
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
When He created marriage between a man and a woman…
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him”…And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:18-24).
When He blessed procreation and gave man dominion over the earth and every living thing in it…
Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on earth (Genesis 1:28).
And Satan immediately sought to destroy what God created by attacking His word. Whether he was the serpent or simply used the serpent, “more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made,” the devil tempted Eve by creating doubt about what God said.
Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”? (Genesis 3:1).
And that’s all it took. Just a seed of doubt that the word of God is true. And that’s all it’s taking today. A seed of doubt that the word of God is true – to the word, to the letter – and our world, our culture, our nation, our churches, our families, are being altered.
Just consider the targets: the very things God established at the very beginning of time. His order. His divine ways. His perfection. Can you see it? He created woman for man and joined them together as one. The attack? Redefine marriage to include same sex unions. He told them to fill the earth with children. The attack? Abortion. He gave man dominion over earth and its creatures. The attack? Every form of elevating the earth’s needs above man’s needs.
If the devil can destroy God’s perfect design for family and sustenance, he can interfere with a powerful platform from which God Almighty displays His supernatural power to save, provide, and protect. He mutes a mouthpiece of His love, goodness, and faithfulness. He distorts the message of the gospel and quiets a life that might otherwise be preaching.
The crazy thing to me is that it seems as if freedom of religion and expression are under assault only for those who adhere to the full counsel of the word of God. The degree to which groups and laws are able to silence God’s people is yet to be seen. But really, they never truly can. We may lose certain freedoms. We may suffer consequences. But no one can take what we hide in our hearts. No one can take our voice. No one can silence God’s mighty works in and through us. No one can contain God or halt His plans.
Look at what happened in Acts 8:1-4. After Saul consented to Stephen’s death, “a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”
Man’s efforts to stop the gospel simply fueled its spread. Intolerance simply furthered the very message it sought to squelch.
We, His people, must not allow fear to shut the mouth He desires to use. He will still accomplish His end. Satan loses. Every knee will still bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. It’s a foregone conclusion. In the meantime, how are we making ourselves available to Him?
Lord, may Your Holy Spirit teach us in every hour what we should say (Luke 12:12). Give us utterance that we would boldly make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19), and let us love one another that others will know we are disciples of Jesus Christ (John 13:35) as we become more wholly Yours.