Once again, the news has focused on power-hungry conservatives and Christians who make bad choices that will only benefit themselves or their agenda. The current GOP is hell-bent on getting what it wants regardless of who it hurts.
Although we live in a fallen world, we have a choice in how we live and what we pursue; there is no straddling the fence for conservatives. It is either one or the other.
This fight was remembered during the recent 9/11 anniversary. The irony of that tragic day is, that the terrorists believed what they were doing was good and pleasing to God.
In the 90s Osama bin Laden waged Islamic Jihad (holy war) against America and its beliefs. The fight was more than physical or personal. There was a spiritual fight going on beneath the surface and much more than just right and wrong.
Christianity teaches about the war between the flesh and the spirit (Matthew 26:41, Romans 8:6, Galatians 5:17). We don’t get to compromise or play with fire here; God’s people are called to make war against the flesh.
This is why Jesus commanded His followers to deny themselves daily(Matthew 16:24-26). This teaching is a very Jewish one and it is all about Yetzer, Yetzer means plan. There are two plans or forces at work in this world man’s and God’s.
In Judaism the evil inclination (Yetzer Ha-Ra comes first and it is at war with the good inclination (Yetzer Ha-Tov).
God commanded his people to obey His ways and not the ways of this world. This is why God gave His people the Mitzvah; the law is instructions for doing good.
Without God’s instructions, we won’t obey Him. The first 10 Commandments are basic rules for Yetzer-Ha-Tov.
- Thou shall have no other god before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.
- Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
- Honor thou father and mother.
- Thou shall not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Thou shall not covet.
Those are the deeds of the flesh (Yetzer Ha-Ra). When Jesus gave us the call to deny ourselves, He was referencing the battle between Yetzer-Ha-Ra and Yetzer Ha-Toz!
We do not get to entertain our fleshly hearts. Jesus constantly tested the Pharisees to show how evil their hearts were.
In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus illustrated that sometimes religious people do evil instead of good. Religion itself can have good intentions, but be evil.
We all want to believe we are doing the right thing. We want to believe we are good. However, the Bible says we are evil from birth (Psalm 51:5, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23).
In our minds, we are doing God’s will, but in our hearts, our plans are evil (Yetzer Ha-Ra). We have seen this play out in conservative politics for the past three years.
When insurrectionists attacked the capital to get what they wanted, they followed the ways of terrorists.
The old cliché is true, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Jesus was clear, those who live by the sword will die by it (Matthew 26:52).
The Apostle Paul reminded the church, those who live by the flesh cannot please God and will surely die (Romans 8:8-13). Instead, God’s people are called to live by the Spirit (Yetzer Ha-Tov) (Galatians 5:16)!