Having just experienced a bitter political election that laid bare the division in America, the call to choose whom we will follow may be the last topic we want to discuss—which is all the more reason we should.
Now more than ever, Christians must choose whom we will follow and worship. The right choice brings the power to stand for truth in the face of opposition and to believe God will break through despite the odds.
The decision of whom we follow as Sovereign over every aspect of our lives is far more important in determining our nation’s future than whom we follow politically.
In 1 Kings 18:20-40, we read how the prophets of Baal were getting worried as they gathered on Mount Carmel, about 10 miles from today’s city of Haifa, Israel. Four hundred and fifty of these pagan priests were wailing, raving and even cutting themselves with swords and lances, pleading with their gods to burn their sacrificial bull on a wooden altar.
But their god was silent. Hour after hour, they carried on, bleeding and desperate, hoping against hope that there would be fire from Heaven.
Against them was one man, the Old Testament Prophet Elijah. Unlike the hundreds of men yelling loudly around him, he knew he didn’t need to make a spectacle of himself for his God to respond. He even drenched the altar he had prepared with water—no less than three times—so that when the Most High consumed it with fire, there would be no mistake that the God of Israel was the true and living God.
Around the mountain were many thousands of Israelites, watching this contest between light and darkness. No doubt, they felt great anxiety, even terror. Would the pagan god and his hysterical priests succeed? Would the God of Israel act?
Then Elijah prayed, a simple, eloquent, personal petition that ended with, “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back” (1 Kings 18:37).
With that, Elijah’s altar burst into flames, and not only was the sacrifice consumed by the fire, but so were the wood, stones, dust and water.
In recent days, many of us have felt anxiety similar to that of the people surrounding Mount Carmel. What just happened in the presidential election? What will happen to many of the causes Christians support, from defending unborn life to upholding religious liberty?
And how do we know what to believe, anyway? What, or whom, can we trust?
Americans have made their choice in the election, an important choice, but more important, as those who name the Name of Christ, we must choose whom we will follow and devote ourselves to in worship. How long will we limp between two diametrically opposed choices? Today, too many Christians are bouncing back and forth between the world’s opinion and the Word of God.
Increasingly, what God’s Word says and what the world says are diametrically opposed. For example, Jesus said in Matthew 19:4: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” But the world now says you choose your own gender. The Word of God says that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, the Supreme Court declared it’s whomever you love. God says human beings are created in His image, and therefore they have value and significance. But we are told it’s not a child; it’s a choice. That’s diametrically opposed to God. How long will we vacillate between God’s truth and human opinion?
So, where should Christians look for truth and guidance?
If we are genuinely following the Lord, we should start with His Word. History makes clear that the Word of God may not always be popular, but time has shown it to be true.
While some claim that there is great moral ambiguity and uncertainty today for the follower of Jesus Christ, the truth is that if we are operating from a Biblical worldview, we have great moral clarity amid uncertainty. In this age, when everyone has an opinion and shares it, the reality is that my opinion, your opinion, our opinion doesn’t matter in deciding what is right and what is wrong. It is the Word of God that matters. It’s His truth that should rule. We can look to publications that offer Biblical insight into all that’s going on around us. Commentary and opinions pointing back to Scripture are helpful as we seek to navigate the world in which we live. But ultimately, our only secure foundation is the Word of God.
With that understanding of the centrality of God’s Word to those who follow Him, the recent report of George Barna identifying that only 6% of Americans have a Biblical worldview is alarming.
If we are to succeed in increasing the number of believers who vote Biblical values, take a stand for Biblical truth and shine light in an increasingly dark culture, we need to help them develop a Biblical worldview.
Standing on God’s Word will bring opposition. Standing for truth will bring conflict. But, when you have decided to follow the one true God, you will have the power to stand.
Israel’s ungodly king, Ahab, hated Elijah. Elijah was lied about and under constant threat, alienated from the culture around him. But he refused to tell Ahab anything but the truth—that Ahab was leading the nation away from the Word of God and into idolatry.
Like the “cancel culture” that Christians face today, Jesus had those who maligned Him. After He healed a demonized man, the Pharisees accused the Son of God of being in league with Beelzebub, the demons’ ruler, the very opposite of the truth.
Elijah wasn’t the “troubler of Israel” as Ahab called him. Elijah spoke for God, the hope for Israel. And today, Christ is the hope for America and the world.
If we are truly following Christ as He instructed in Luke 9:23, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Him. That means the cancel culture can’t touch us! You can’t cancel what has been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20).
Here is the question before each believer in Christ: Whom am I going to follow? Will I stand for His truth, whether it is in season or out of season?
Elijah stood physically alone on Mount Carmel. Yet he was not alone. His God, the Eternal and Almighty One, was with him. This knowledge empowered the prophet not only to remain faithful but to take the spiritual battle to God’s enemies. He mocked the pagan god, even asking the prophets if Baal had gone to relieve himself!
But Elijah’s bravery wasn’t just bluster. It was grounded in his unwavering faith that the true God had power far beyond anything the kings and false prophets of the earth could muster. He both stood and acted, fixed on the truth and motivated by obedience.
The result? A demonstration of God’s power that put people on their faces declaring, “… The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God” (1 Kings 18:39).
We need to be like that bold man of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, Who promised He would be with us always (Matthew 28:20), is as close to us as He was to Elijah on the mountain nearly 3,000 years ago. Fear and fright need not enter our minds and hearts. Whatever befalls, we have been hemmed in “behind and before” by a compassionate Savior (Psalm 139:5).
We must remain faithful to the Word of God and committed to its truths that speak so clearly to the questions and issues of today. The Word of God speaks with clarity to the sanctity of human life and the centrality of the family as designed by God.
How can we stand with courage, confident in the outcome? Not through our power or ability, but through standing in the power and authority of God’s Word—that is when we will see God demonstrate His great power. ©2020 Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council, an ordained minister and host of the daily radio program “Washington Watch With Tony Perkins.”
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.
Photo: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin