by Alan Allegra

At times, deciding on a topic isn’t easy. I expend much perspiration praying for inspiration, and it seems to come slowly. As a Christian, I am obliged and honored to write about Jesus Christthat’s a given. It’s the particular theme that can be eerily elusive.

As the deadline loomed, so did the theme. While tearing down the Christmas decorations, I thought about how the very foundation of Christmas is being torn down.

Many holidays are named after people. On Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, we honor MLK. On Columbus Day, we consider the discoverer of America. On Washington’s Birthday, the Father of Our Country. On CHRISTmas, we celebrate . . . Santa Claus. Or Old Man Winter. Or Sam Walton. Or “X.”

For many, Christmas is THE holiday of the year, as long as we Leave Jesus Out Of It. Recent news items indicate that public prayer is fine, as long as you Leave Jesus Out Of It. Politicking is acceptable, as long as YLJOOI. Even religious discussion is tolerable, as long as YLJOOI. Counseling may be effective as long as YLJOOI.

Jesus warned his followers, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). The reason is “. . . it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).

Christians expect that we won’t be wildly popular if we live according to the teachings of Scripture. We expect to be persecuted in ways ranging from ridicule and marginalization to crucifixion and decapitation. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:1012).

However, it is another matter when our own turn tail and hide in the “Forest of Go-Along-To-Get-Along.”

We are all aware of the social squabbles swirling around us. Christians are supposed to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:1316). Sadly, some of our Christian leaders prefer to be bland and dim so as to not offend anyone.

As an example, the pastor of the country’s second largest church said to USA Today, regarding a particularly hot social issue: “But leave Jesus out of it.” It is distressing to think one of Christ’s under shepherds, tasked by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word (Acts 20:28), would hop on the YLJOOI bandwagon. Such inharmonious advice yields bland, dim, camouflage Christians who have little to offer society, not to mention little credence in the gospel.

“[B]ut as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:1516). This command has been the standard for mankind from the beginning of creation. Christians must be wholly holy or their credibility will be wholly holey.

Alan is a freelance devotional writer for Lifestyles Over 50 and the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also the Peer-less Reviewer (General Editor) for Bridgeway Homeschool Academy in Catasauqua, PA, a Christian homeschool academy. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology.

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