Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. Hebrews 10:35
Two out of every three Americans believe our nation is on the wrong track. And it is.
Tragically only a few seem to understand why.
Some point to our economic malaise. Others argue that the political system, or more specifically the politicians in that system, should shoulder the blame. There are those who believe that it is the fault of the media and the press. A few critics accuse our faltering schools. And a growing number of observers see the breakdown of the family as our greatest challenge.
Yet it is our conviction that all of these are only evidences, or symptoms that our nation is heading the wrong way. The cause is deeper.
We have thrown trillions of dollars at our problems. We have expended thousands of hours in speech-making and politicking. We have tried to legislate and educate to liberate ourselves out of this morass. And yet we are still heading the wrong direction. Things are not getting better.
Even more serious than our economic deficit is our nation’s moral deficit.
Precise definition is critical at this juncture. It is private morality, or more actually immorality, that is at the heart of our problem.
It is easy to demagogue the decline of morality by citing corporate fraud, governmental misappropriation, or societal injustice. Everyone agrees that these instances of public immorality are wrong.
But it is hard to judge ourselves.
If we judge ourselves according to the lives of those around us, we succumb to what former U. S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called, “defining deviancy down.” Our over-exposure to the evil in those around us has numbed our moral sense. We rationalize, “I may be bad, but I’m not that bad."
On the other hand, if we judge truthfully so many of us fall short of the mark that we find ourselves unwilling to point an accusing finger at others, for fear that our own sin might be found out. We’re afraid that we will be judged by the same standard. We know that we will be found wanting. We even have an out of context Bible verse to justify our amoral stance, “Judge not that ye be not judged!”
Yet until the Americans in America get themselves on the right track, the nation will continue what Robert Bork calls, “Slouching Towards Gomorrah.”
The only way that America has prospered to this hour is by expending the moral capital garnered by past generations. We have enjoyed the blessings of Providence showered upon those people who in times past feared, and honored, and loved the Lord God. We have spent what they earned, but we have failed to add to that moral capital by virtuous living and the pursuit of personal holiness. Today we are morally bankrupt.
It is the demoralization of our civilization that has brought us to these desperate times. Decades ago the Soviet KGB agent, Yuri Bezmenov defected to the West. He warned that our enemy’s strategy was to first demoralize, then to destabilize, and finally to destroy us. Fortunately for us, the immorality within the Evil Empire brought them down first.
But America is not far behind. At the heart of our national moral crisis is our loss of confidence in God. We say, “In God we Trust,” but never have we trusted Him less than we do today.
If our nation can be demoralized, destabilized, and ultimately destroyed by a loss of confidence in the Author of Liberty and His Law, so our churches can also be demoralized, destabilized, and ultimately destroyed when they lose confidence in the God of Scripture, and when they jettison their commitment to the Scriptures of God!
And if nations and churches can be demoralized, destabilized, and ultimately destroyed, so also can Christians! It is the heart-break of every Pastor to see the numbers of those who once traveled on the highway of holiness now trudging that hard road to destruction.
If your confidence is in the Creator who made all that is, and your confidence is decidedly not in the creation, yourself included…
If your confidence is in the Savior, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, buried, and rose again from the dead, and your confidence is decidedly not in your own self-righteousness…
If your confidence is in the Spirit of Holiness that raised up Jesus from the dead, who convicts, who sanctifies, who satisfies, who guides, who gifts, who bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, who intercedes for us, who is our Comforter, the Paraclete, the Holy One, the Spirit of the Living God, and you confidence is decidedly not in the spirit of this age or the spirit of unrighteousness…
If your confidence is in the inspired, inerrant Word of the Living God, the 66 books of the Old and New Testament, written by men who were moved by the Holy Ghost, and perfectly revealing God’s will for us, and your confidence is decidedly not in your pathetic, paltry, vain philosophy…
If your confidence is in the way of Holiness and true Righteousness, and it is decidedly not in the subjective, self-determined, do-what-you-want-to-do way that leads to destruction...
…THEN DON’T CAST AWAY YOUR CONFIDENCE!
Don’t cast away your confidence when you’re feeling bad.
Don’t cast away your confidence when you’re feeling great.
Don’t cast away your confidence when things are going wrong.
Don’t cast away your confidence when things are going wonderfully.
Don’t cast away your confidence when you’re tempted.
Don’t cast away your confidence when you’re discouraged.
Don’t cast away your confidence when your friends are casting theirs away.
(Even those that you thought would never turn away).
Don’t cast away your confidence when the Holy Spirit is convicting you or when the Lord Himself is chastening you. “Whom the Lord loves He chastens.”
Don’t cast away your confidence as a child.
Don’t cast away your confidence as a teen.
Don’t cast away your confidence as a young adult.
Don’t cast away your confidence as a senior saint.
Don’t cast away your confidence when you have failed.
(This is not a plea for unscriptural eternal security. This is to say that if the enemy has exploited your weakness, and you have fallen into sin, you have disobeyed God, then don’t give up. Get up! Never lose confidence in the Gospel of Christ who came to seek and to save that which is lost.)
Don’t cast away your confidence though all the news around you is bleak.
Don’t cast away your confidence when the two-bit rulers of this world are thumbing their noses at the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Don’t cast away your confidence though Israel is assaulted and Jerusalem is completely surrounded.
Don’t cast away your confidence when the Church of Jesus Christ faces the fires of persecution. “Lift up your eyes, your redemption draweth nigh!”
There are many who are heading the wrong direction, but for the blood-bought, redeemed, sanctified, Spirit-filled, people of the Living God, we’ve come too far to turn back! “Cast not away your confidence.”
(I am grateful to Brother James Plank, from God's Missionary Church, Beavertown, PA for inspiring some of these thoughts).