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The next few weeks and months are going to be full of provocations for born-again believers.
When these occur, we need to follow the example set by Jesus, not the example set by the world or the worldly church.
There are three paths we can choose from here on in – one of them follows the world, the second follows the worldly church, and the third follows Jesus.
Following the world looks like this: Complying with mandates and/or protesting the mandates.
Following the worldly church looks like this: Complying with mandates and/or protesting the mandates.
Following Jesus looks like this: Removing yourself from or avoiding areas that have mandates; finding work-arounds for the mandates; doing whatever it takes not to be caught in the web of the mandates; suffering whatever it takes not to be caught in the web of the mandates; submitting to the mandates only when it’s your time; and never protesting the mandates.
What we’re going through now is similar to what Jesus went through during his ministry years. At first, he was free to roam wherever he wanted, to live wherever he wanted, and to say whatever he wanted. There were no restrictions on his movements or his speech. But then, as he got more and more in the faces and up the noses of the religious ptb, his movements started to be restricted. He could no longer preach or teach in certain areas, though everywhere else he was still free to live, roam, and speak his mind.
As his ministry progressed and the religious ptb became ever more determined to get rid of him, Jesus started taking the back roads and sleeping rough. His days of renting houses or hosting large events were over. He kept a low profile. Instead of going openly to religious festivals accompanied by his disciples, he went secretly and alone. When he ran out of food, he took whatever was to hand. He operated on a day-to-day survival mode basis, but he kept on teaching and preaching.
When the decree finally went out for his arrest, with execution as a likely outcome, Jesus set his sights firmly on Jerusalem. He entered the city not through the back roads, but on the main highway, and not alone or in secret, but with full fanfare and riding on a colt, as prophesied of the King of the Jews. From that point onward, he again openly taught and healed in the temple and synagogues. When he was arrested, he didn’t run from those who came for him and he didn’t fight them: he let them do their job. At no time did he curse them or struggle against them. He didn’t even speak up in his own defense at his trial. He fully submitted to what he knew was the will of God for him at that time.
In terms of what Jesus went through during his ministry years, we are now somewhere between having our movements and speech restricted and a decree going out for our arrest. Just like in Russia during the early days of the Soviet revolution and in China during the Cultural Revolution, born-again Christians are not welcome in the new political and cultural order being set up. We will eventually be rounded up along with all the other non-compliants and sent to internment camps for “re-education”. If we refuse to be re-educated, we will either be outright killed or kept in such poor conditions that we’ll die in a short time. Jesus tells us that when we get jailed, we need to “endure to the end” to be saved.
I’m not being overly dramatic here. I’m just laying it on the line and explaining the way forward if you want to follow the example set by Jesus. The world’s way and the worldly church’s way are dead ends. You don’t want to follow those ways. And if you’ve taken a few hesitant steps down one of those two paths regarding the mandates because you felt you had no other option at the time, it’s not too late to change course. It’s not too late today, but it may be too late tomorrow.
Don’t ask “what WOULD Jesus do” but “what DID Jesus do”, because everything we need to know about how to survive the current provocations and the provocations to come, Jesus modeled for us.
So what did Jesus do?
He didn’t comply with the ptb’s mandates until it was his time, and he never protested.
That’s your path. That’s your way forward.
God will fill you in on the details as you need them.