At Morning Prayer today, we read:
“In everything you do, act without grumbling or arguing; prove yourselves innocent and straightforward, children of God beyond reproach in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation—among whom you shine like the stars in the sky.”Philippians 2:14-15
It is common today to hear Christians complaining about “the world”. In fact they complain with words like those of St. Paul, calling their society a “twisted and depraved generation”.
Yet, at the beginning of the quote above, St. Paul says “act without grumbling or arguing”, and we find Christians constantly grumbling and arguing. Thus, it is clear that the religion of the political Christians, though it distinguish them from their political opponents, is not true Christianity.
True Christians live lives that are “innocent and straightforward”. True Christians “shine like the stars in the sky”.
Modern “Christians” are not so. They are seeking the same things that “the world” is seeking. They imagine that Christians should be in possession of all things and that fighting for Christian control of them is the mission of Christianity.
True Christians are not wrestling with unbelievers for control of material things. They are seeking eternal things. They are not cursing and lying and stealing. They are not calling their enemies vulgar names. They are detached from the things their enemies seek. They are innocent and straightforward, and they consequently shine as the stars in the sky.
The difference between true Christians and fake Christians can be seen in what they talk about, how they sound their time and money, what work they actually do in the world.
Unbelievers can give no explanation for why they do what they do other than their desire for temporal things. They want food, clothing, shelter, safety, health, control, honor, money, etc. They will take any job, do any work, so long as it produces these things. There’s no explanation beyond this for what they’re doing. They will make use of any program that helps them materially. Their idea of the Christian life forms their idea of what’s necessary for that life. When they see their material enemies denying them access to all material resources available, they pretend that is “persecution” and imagine that fighting against them for control of temporal things is the Christian cause, which end justifies any means taken.
Rather than leading their neighbors from material things to spiritual things, they produce even more anxiety for temporal things and lead other to see “Christianity” as a greedy and immoral challenge to the “common good”.
Jesus said that His followers will be identified by their fruits, that is, the works that they do. These are not normal works to produce material income, but “charitable” works, or the “works of mercy”. These are the fruits by which Christ’s true followers are known.
For the fake Christians, however, they believe that these works are the responsibility of “the government”. So, rather than working that they may share, they fight against those who control temporal goods and imagine that they are doing so as charitable workers.