I hold an opinion that makes a lot of Christians, a lot of Christian leaders, very, very nervous: I believe that God gives new revelation in some seasons, which previous centuries of Christians may not have had, or may have once had and have forgotten.
One of the topics that it seems that God’s talking about – and it’s terribly uncomfortable to the traditions I was raised in – is the topic of angels. I believe that God is speaking to his children about angels, who are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation.”
There are some reasons that this topic has scared people in the church: some leaders have feared that people would be more enamored with the angels than with the God who created them. And some believers have become so angel-centric that they can’t even spend time with their Heavenly Father without invoking angels.
Sure, there are legitimate concerns to avoid. (There are always legitimate concerns to avoid.) We’ll avoid the dangers, but avoiding the dangers isn’t our goal. Our goal is receiving what Father gives us, because if the Creator of the Universe thinks we need it, then who are we to argue? We need it.
I have a couple of these fellows who live at my home. They guard the peace and the people of my home. They’re also eager to do stuff, so they roam my neighborhood, terrorizing any demons they find. And frankly, they provoke me to press into Father, to dig into the Word, to learn more about how to live with angels.
They didn’t teach me this stuff in Sunday School.
Some years ago, a friend of mine died.
She was a baby Christian, very young in her faith, and frankly, pretty immature, but she was growing.
She was 94, a 94-year-old baby Christian.
So she had a most unusual combination of character traits: some aspects of the wisdom that comes from nearly a century’s experience with life; some aspects that were wet-behind-the-ears fresh and immature. What an interesting person!
Donald Trump reminds me of her. He’s by no means a young or immature man. But he displays signs of what appears to be both sincere faith, and immature faith. I won’t get into what signs I see; you can see them for yourself if you look for them.
If it’s true that Mr Trump is an immature believer (keep in mind that maturity is a condition of the heart, not of the calendar), then we should expect to see some signs of immature faith moving forward.
We should expect to see a whole lot of zeal for the work he’s been given, with maybe a little more optimism than the real world allows for.
We should expect him to see inconsistency in the maturity of his moral and ethical choices. Note that he may or may not be immature of faith but he certainly is immature in politics, and he is not at all immature in business.
We might expect to see mistakes that he needs help cleaning up.
But it would be completely foolish to expect to see him follow the model laid down by your pastor, or by a famous religious leader. He ain’t never been a religious leader, and doesn’t aspire to be.
I confess that I’m haunted by Psalm 122. You know, the one that begins with,
“I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go into the house of the LORD.’“
I get it when the Psalmist gets excited about going to hang out with God! What a delight! But a couple of verses later, in the middle of his rejoicing, he explains,
“For thrones are set there for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.”
One of the reasons he’s excited about going to hang out with God is because he looks forward to the judgment there.
That tells me that among other things, I don’t have a good handle on what judgment is supposed to be. I can tell when it is used wrong, and that appears to be a lot, but we already knew that. Let’s be honest: Christians have earned the judgmental, condemning reputation we’ve picked up. (Sure, hell has reinforced the reputation, but as a community, we earned it.)
Today, I’m struck by this: if judgment is part of the work of the saints, then it’s subject to the same restrictions as the rest of the work of the saints. Judgment is to be an act of love. It’s to be for people, not against them. It’s to be something that builds people up, not tears them down, something that draws them in, not what pushes them away.
I don’t see much of that sort of judgment yet. Not among saints, not anywhere.
But it’s coming.