He set Olympic records in 1976.
They wouldn’t be broken for four years.
Hailed as “the world’s greatest athlete”, his triumphs inspired millions of young people. He was a sports icon and genuine national hero: handsome, strong and all-American.
She also set a new record.
The tweets began to pile up in seconds. In four hours and three minutes, she had attracted one million followers on Twitter.
Could this be the same person?
Bruce Jenner is gone forever. He hasn’t died. He’s been transformed. Capping an agonizing and lengthy tabloid-saturated saga, Jenner is now on the cover of Vanity Fair – as a beautiful woman.
Say goodbye to Bruce – say hello to “Caitlyn”.
The response on Twitter was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone loved Caitlyn. Nobody was more excited about this new and quite different icon that the advocates in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender community. Caitlyn will become a new symbol of the latest cause for those anxious to cast off moral restraint:
Transgenderism and gender identity.
That a sex change would lead the news and captivate so much of the nation speaks volumes about American culture – and how far we have come – and gone.
For Christians, Caitlyn is also a symbol – another illustration of the brave new world our children will inherit. The question for followers of Jesus Christ is not, “What can we do to change this?” but “How can we live in it and through it?”
These social trends will not be reversed politically – nor will public opinion.
How then shall you and I live?
This is not about ending the darkness. It’s about letting our light shine.
It’s not about condemning and attacking.
It’s about living – consistently, courageously and circumspectly – in a lost world.
Of course, we must speak out against sin in all its forms and do our best to resist its power, its subtlety and its destructive results. But our primary witness is not to pass judgment and tell the world what we are against. It is to live for Christ and tell the world what we are for.
Our task, as it has been throughout history, is to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3, KJV, emphasis added).
We must return and embrace First Things.
This is not easy – not ever and especially not today.
Jesus said it would come to this at the end.
He didn’t warn us about politics, law and the need to organize. Although it is both noble and necessary to speak and act for righteousness in the political arena, our Lord’s first concern was our own hearts. The Messiah who would not be a secular king, tells us that in the end times – if that is what these are – rampant sin would cause the love of many to grow cold (Matthew 24: 12).
Moral permissiveness is not our biggest threat. The far greater danger is what that permissiveness – the pervasive drumbeat of conformity to new norms – might do to our faith, our hope, our convictions and – most of all – our love for and devotion to Jesus.
In the midst of widespread wickedness, the first casualty is often conscience. Spiritual apathy and coldness of heart grow most insidiously in the soil of moral ambiguity.
Peter, living in a time of persecution and evil, tells us that we must be always prepared to defend our faith under every circumstance – without compromise, without wavering and without fear. He said we must “be ready always to give an answer.” The prerequisite to having that answer and the courage to speak it is that Christians “sanctify the Lord in your hearts” (I Peter 3: 15, KJV, emphasis added).
When that happens – when we fully internalize truth; when we know what we believe and why. When we know we can never surrender or abandon it no matter what the cost. When our hearts are aflame with love for our Lord – then we will have our reason and our hope – even in the face of the most vile ridicule and contempt.
If we suffer for our beliefs, we are to do so meekly and humbly. We must not render “evil for evil, or railing for railing” (I Peter 3:9, KJV). Jesus said we are “blessed” when people revile us and persecute us and lie about us. We suffer in our convictions for his sake.
Jesus reminds us that others, including the prophets, shared a similar fate. We should “rejoice, and be exceeding glad” because our reward awaits us in a better land where there will be no sin – no scoffing at virtue but praise and celebration for the holiness of God. (Matthew 5: 11-12).
We are, the psalmist instructs, to “be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7, NLT, emphasis added).
When we survey the current cultural scene we must remind ourselves that the heart of this problem is a problem of the heart.
May our own hearts be turned to God. In the midst of it all, may this be our first and chief concern.
Revival always starts here.
May God bless you and your family.