Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Tragedy of Defeatism

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." ~1Corinthians 15:57,58

Defeat is such an easy thing to give in to, but such an ugly word.  If every Christian gave up in defeat, where would the world be?  In an even bigger mess than we are today! (which is hard to imagine.)

What would have happened if our Pilgrim forefathers gave up in defeat?  They would have remained in religious shackles in England.  If they would have given up, our freedoms which we enjoy so leisurely today would not exist.  Their children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would have suffered in chains their whole lives.

Let's go back even further.  Imagine yourself as Christopher Columbus.  31 days on the open sea, with no sight of land whatsoever.  The men are tired and restless, uneasy with fear.  They want to return to Spain, to give up the whole voyage altogether.  Columbus had doubts himself.  Was this really God's will for him?  His undaunted and intrepid courage he once had left him now feeling empty and forlorn.  He decided three more days they would press on, and if land was not sighted, they...would...turn...back...

How tears of defeat must have smarted his eyes!  His glorious vision of finding new lands for the furtherance of the gospel had come to a bitter end!  What went wrong?  Columbus felt sure it had been a dream sent directly from God.  Oh the shame and defeat of lost hopes!

But, behold!  On the early dawn of the third day, a cry of  "Land!"  rang forth.  Every foot must have raced to the deck, every eye eagerly peering into the horizon.  It was land!

Columbus' heart must have swelled with joy and praise!  Upon reaching shore, he knelt in humbleness and offered a prayer of thanksgiving to the God "which giveth us the victory."  

What would have happened if Columbus had given up totally before the three days were up?  Our flourishing land of America would have been left undiscovered.  Columbus would have returned to Spain in defeat, his chance lost forever.

Take a look at the American Revolution.  The small army of the colonies was very meager, and supplies were scarce.  Men shivered in the cold of winter, their bare feet leaving bloody tracks in the snow.  Yet they marched on, fearlessly into battle.  They grew thin and weak from lack of food, but their bravery overcame their gnawing stomachs.  They marched boldly behind their intrepid leader, the great General George Washington.  What would have happened if they had given up in defeat and surrendered to England, the mightiest nation of that day?  England's army was well-trained and well-fed.  They had more muskets and gunpowder than did the colonists.  They were proud--no one could defeat them!  However, something turned the tide for the American soldiers, a tide the British did not expect.

The American colonists placed their wholehearted devotion and faith in Jesus Christ.  They knew it was only He who could give them the victory.  Though their army was small, though they were weak, in God they were strong.  George Washington is a prime example.  For his faith, trust, and courage, God protected him, and gave the colonists victory over England.

But if defeat had conquered, if fear had overtaken every heart, England would have been victorious...and we would still be in bondage today. (from England, not our federal government.  Yeah, I know, now we have a similar problem today, only from our own leaders!)

Every Christian in history has to be future-oriented.  Our forefathers knew this.  They were willing to sacrifice their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, for liberty and the pursuit of happiness for generations to come.  They placed their complete faith in Jesus Christ.  They knew He was the supreme Ruler of all.  No country or nation can survive without God's law.  "As is the religion, so is the nation."  ~Charles Galloway.

Our forefathers, from Christopher Columbus, the Pilgrim settlers, the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Huss, William Tyndale, John Knox (all the Reformation leaders), the Southern army of the Confederate States of America, every soldier of America who has suffered and labored tirelessly for freedom, including countless others, all could have given up in hopelessness.  But the only important factor is this: they didn't.

Once America was great.  Our Founding Fathers created this nation to be for the people, under God.  Christianity was the supreme law of the land.  Alexis de Tocqueville said this about Christianity in America:

"There is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and freest nation of the earth...Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must, nevertheless, be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country, for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions.  I am certain that the Americans hold religion to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions.  This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society."

Professor James Bryce of England shows agreement:

"It was religious zeal and religious conscience which led to the founding of the New England colonies two centuries and a half ago--those colonies whose spirit has in such large measure passed into the whole nation.  Religion and conscience have been a constantly active force in the American commonwealth ever since."

In 1787, the Continental Congress said that "Religion, morality, and knowledge are necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind."   When America was founded, no one could deny the major influence of Christianity in our nation.  Today, everything is different.

America has endured a long road, one of bumps and hills, ruts and ditches, obstacles and failures.  Our great nation has crumbled into a tiny portion of what it once was.  Socialism has entered past our guard.  Wickedness and vile roam the streets.  Infidelity and lust play games in front of our children.  Evolution and murder are common.  Have we given up in defeat?  Where is America?  Most importantly, where are the Christians?

The land we see today is no longer the nation of old.  Our forefathers would be horrified if they could see the country today.  Even the secularism of old cannot be compared with what it is today.

America has progressed like Israel of old.  Once they were the glory and splendor of the entire world as they followed God's laws.  But false gods wormed their way into the lives of God's people.  Idolatry and infidelity reeked the land.  Because His people turned away from Him countless times, and though He gave them numerous chances, God eventually unleashed His curses upon them.  Every curse listed in Deuteronomy 28 will fall upon the heads of those who seek any god other than the Most High.  Yet, if God's people will turn from their wicked ways, God will heal the land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Today, most Christians have given up in defeat.  Bold, courageous hearts have given in to fear and doubt.  Not many are future-oriented. (However, there are those out there who are. Thank God for those who are making a difference!)  The children growing up today will live in a land flowing with dirt and slime, all because their parents have no thought to the truth.  Many Christians of today have mellowed out.  In fact, many even eagerly participate in the world's wickedness!  What about the verse which says,  "Love not the world, neither the things which are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." ~1 John 2:15

Defeat should not be an option for God's people.  Christ will one day overcome death.  Will we who live now forget His promises, and continue to follow the pattern of the world?  What will we say when we meet Jesus face-to-face?  "Sorry Lord, but I thought Satan was too powerful.  He, he tricked me!  Yes, that's it! He tricked me!"

"Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  ~James 4:7

As America becomes deeper and deeper into socialism and sin, will we Christians continue to tolerate such?  But we have Christ on our side! And one day He will make His enemies His footstool. (Hebrews 10:13) 
In the end, Christians will be victorious.  But before the end, it is our choice: do we give in to defeat, or will we keep fighting for Christ?  

Never let defeat conquer!

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."  ~Colossians 2:8

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  ~Galatians 6:9

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