North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

Every person will be called upon, at some point, to take a stand on an issue. A subject of recent concern has been the hassle over “prayer in the classroom”. Whatever stand you take on this issue there will always be someone on the other side with as much passion as you. This begs the question: How far are you willing to go to stand for your beliefs? Particularly, those that are religious in nature. Religious subjects have become hot-button topics in the modern-day “culture war”.
Our imagination stirs at the mention of the Crusades and their holy wars from the 11th – 13th centuries. The Crusaders were Christians who fought valiantly for their cause and sought to restore Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem. Even today, tourists who visit the old city of Jerusalem can purchase, as mementos of their visits, souvenirs bearing the Crusader Cross. Religious crusaders are not from by-gone centuries only. They’re with us today. One person carried their own unholy war to the highest court in the land. This resulted in the banning of prayer in the public schools.
By contrast, the Lord needs you! He’s looking for crusaders who will “contend (crusade) courageously for the faith.” It takes a special kind of person to be a crusader. Two things you must possess: 1) a deep devotion to Christ and, 2) a solid conviction that Christ is the answer to the world’s problems.
Religious zealots are some of the most determined people. But a certain amount of restraint is needed. Street preachers carry this burden, though they may not know it. I have mixed feelings concerning those who stand on street corners shouting Scripture and trying to preach above the sounds of motorcars, motorcycles, and our raised windows. I would never try to silence one who shares the Good News, but I’d never force religion on someone who didn’t want it. To stand on a corner or in a median with traffic flying by is courageous in itself, but those who condemn without authority are walking on a slippery slope. It’s one thing to stand quietly and hold a sign that says, “Jesus Saves” or to stand and hold a Bible up in the air without saying a Word. It’s quite another to stoke emotions of someone in an offensive way. There’s nothing Scriptural about dissention.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). And in Matt. 5:5 it says, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” The Word of God is strong and must be spoken with authority and conviction. Yet, the Bible describes the voice of God in a unique way. We don’t have to make noise for the Holy Spirit to reign down and gain people’s attention. 1 Kings 19:11-13 says, “The Lord said, go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountain apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind…there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake…then came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, a still small voice…” God’s gentle whisper is enough to get even the vilest sinner’s attention. Your reactions, your words, your response, the way you treat others speaks volumes and affects others many times greater than a preacher’s sermon.
You must live out your convictions in order to have a fulfilled life and to be at peace with self and God. As a believer, you must stand up for your beliefs in the face of persecution when your motivations are positively true and noble. In the New Testament book of Jude it says, “People are denying the Lord Jesus Christ”; like prayer being taken out of schools. And Jude also says, “I must write to you and tell you to fight hard for the faith which was once and for all given to the holy people of God” (Jude 3).
We are called to be modern Crusaders for Christ. No Knight in shining armor had more to contend for—and against—than we do. You need not cross continents to be a crusader. The people you meet every day are the ones to enlist in God’s family. And ask the Lord to enlist you in His Crusade for Christ and against Satan. And as you fight your spiritual battles, remember, you don’t have to be contentious in order to contend for the faith. All that’s required is that you trust and obey.
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Aug 11 2013. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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