Ephesians 6.10-20: Where Idealism Comes To Die2
“This is where idealism comes to die.” She said it so matter-of-factly. DC’s an interesting place. We love Silver Spring, and are beginning to figure out life here. We’re finding real relationships, city rhythms, celebrations and needs, loving this place and people. And yes, idealism dies here; I’d say Lindsey is right. Maybe it’s the red tape that tangles up our dreams of social impact. Maybe it’s the power ladder with no rungs. Maybe it’s the insatiable pit in our stomachs that can’t be filled with enough bread to feed the homeless or an ever increased funding for our causes.
Something bigger is going on here, and everywhere, behind this change-the-world curtain. There’s an enemy out there, keeping our eyes inward, our self-effort upward and our humanist conquests meward. He prowls around like a lion, looking to swallow us up and let us stew in our self-indulgent digestive juices. Here, like most places, only more poignantly, we learn that our most outward, selfless, endeavors are simply all about me. Problem is, I am too small to satisfy me. When we’re delayed, our power is stunted, or cause vaporizes in the cloud of causes, it’s then that we realize the smallness of our myopic epics. Our enemy, the devil, he just has to tantalize what’s already in you and I, you and I. Our enemy, the devil, wants us dead in our small self-devoted worlds.
So strap it on. Not bigger effort or bigger dreams. Don’t pull yourself up by your own bootstraps to chase your idealism more heartily. Instead, get ready, get after it, getting on the shoes of the gospel. Strap on the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit. Know and do what is right, guided and guarded by the gospel of truth. Here’s the truth: You can’t do it. He did it. You can’t redeem the world, He can, is and will. This isn’t your fight. This isn’t your world. This isn’t your plan, your idea, your dream, this isn’t about you you you you at all. This fight is about Jesus, making Himself known and seeing His work done to restore His world.
Jesus brings people, causes, death, to life. “Whoever hears His word and believes God who sent Him, has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life (Jn5:24).” This is the good news that has the power to change, conquer Satan, guide and guard you and I all the way to the day when Jesus completes what He said He would. The day when the hungry are fed, social causes vanish in fulfillment, and the powerful One reigns over His restored creation. The day when there are no more tears, and no more problems to solve. So join His fight. Strap it on, knowing you are not the victor, He is. Enjoy fighting with Him for His cause, standing firm in the good news that you have been forgiven, restored, raised to be His soldier in His army, fighting the idealistic lie that this is all about you; fighting with His strength to share the good news and bring the tangible results of redemption to His broken world; fighting pride and the devil’s schemes with His gospel. Come to life, trusting Jesus to invert your purposes as a part of His idealistic story.