Why is it that people who lead fights for “the rights of Christians in this country” wind up with multimillion dollar homes and other trappings of conspicuous consumption? I am convinced it is because of selfish greed on their part, and because of pride and stupidity on the part of those who support them.
Christianity did not spread soon after the resurrection of Jesus Christ because his followers whined about their rights- nor does it spread now when proud Christians discuss how to get more respect and how to manipulate society so we gain more status and approval. I must repent when I find myself hoping for more approval or status, in order to walk with God, and so must anyone else! “He must increase, I must decrease,” said John the Baptist in the Bible. Instead of galloping on his horse farm (as Pat Robertson does), or managing his $300,000 a year salary (as Bible answer man Hank Hanegraff does), or wondering which of his 7 multimillion dollar homes to lounge around in(as TV “Christian ” mogul Paul Crouch does), John the Baptist wore rags and ate locusts and wild honey (with no universal health care either).
Far from identifying with Jesus and John the Baptist, many churchgoers throughout history cultivated the rich and the powerful. So when the French and Russian revolutions came, the worldly churches in those countries were mostly destroyed (along with the Godly ones also). My wife is from the third largest city in Russia, and in that city of over 3 million people, only one church building stood at the end of the communist rule.
But instead of our rights, I hope we cultivate our duties and responsibilities as Christians. No amount of mocking or removing us from positions of leadership, or even prison or other persecution, can keep Christians from acting justly, loving mercy,and walking humbly with God. God requires this (Micah 6.8). God does not require that we pray at sports events, or walk besides government leaders (as photos show clergy walking alongside Hitler, and other corrupt unethical heroes). If we can have influence on those who are admired by society, great. But when we quench the Holy Spirit in order to gain power, we will lose Godly influence.
A good friend said one summer he had to share a dorm with football players at a large university. One player was an especially vicious thug, and he was surprised when he went to church and this guy was at the pulpit giving a talk (it was a pretty good speech, as he recalled). But we are not called to cuddle up to the thugs in society so we can have more status and an easier life. We may gain that, but as the Old Testament relates, God gave them what they wanted, but he “sent them leanness of soul.” In other words he allowed them to get ease and comfort and praise from thugs, but their own soul was made poor.
So if we hope to influence individuals and society, great, as long as we use God’s attitudes and words and methods. Otherwise, we will be serving the devil and only using Christian terms. So what if we get all the football players and the entire community saying, “Yea Jesus,” when they do not do what he commands us to do? I am thankful for the rights we have as Christians (and non Christians also) to worship in safety and peace, to get education (higher education was denied Christians in communist Russia), and jobs. But these rights are not nearly as important as our duty to walk humbly with the risen Jesus Christ. This can be done in any circumstance!