Practical Christianity for TEOTWAWKI, by J.A.G.

I suspect many today might think that the words ‘practical’ and ‘Christianity’ don’t seem to fit in the same sentence. In many minds, practical is what one does Monday through Saturday to get ready for hard times on earth, having to do with nuts and bolts and clothes and food and fuel and power and…well…things. Christianity seems to be what one does on Sunday, in a church. That may be the version of spiritual life that has emerged in our nation’s culture over the years, but it is certainly not the version of life the founder of Christianity had in mind—it fails to acknowledge the sovereignty and rule of God over all things, and it will certainly do no one any good in the times to come. So…permit me to share some rules for practical Christianity—something so elemental to preparation for the times in which we live that I would go so far as to say that getting this right is the single most important thing you should undertake—the first thing, the most important thing, and the best thing you should do. Everything else you might do to prepare depends and builds upon these foundational principles. If you get this right, your odds of getting everything else right skyrocket; if you get this wrong, you could get everything else right and still end up in a very bad place.

These practical steps are ‘denominationally neutral’—there is no plug for one denomination or another. In the days to come, true Christians will probably drop their denominational differences (persecution tends to have that effect). If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, if you believe the Bible is His Word to us, and if you strive to obey Him daily, then we will all be agreeing on much, much more in the coming days—whether we expect to or not.

1. Get the Cross Right: Understand what the Cross means and pick it up—every day.  This term ‘Cross’ can be sort of ‘church-speak’, and while it is the essence of Christianity, it doesn’t make sense to many people—many Christians, actually. I say this because of the current state of Christianity in the world; if it did make sense to most Christians, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in at the moment. And  ‘getting the Cross right’ does not mean simply going to church; too many people equate ‘going to church’ with real Christianity. Church is important, but it isn’t a substitute for spiritual life. Actually understanding the Cross is pretty simple. You can understand it by just looking at the life of the Founder. He gave up everything He had so as to obey His Father; He sacrificed His life so others might live. He put away what He was entitled to so as to set an example for us. The Cross involves a breaking; it means we come to a point in our lives when we really, truly realize to the depth of our soul that we have failed as a human being and can in no way succeed; that we have failed in some way that reflects such horrendous discredit on ourselves that there is no hope that we can continue to live unless God gives us His nature and lives His life in us and through us. This typically results in a dark night of the soul, accompanied by a cry of agony and desperation that cries out in remorse, anguish, and despair. If you have uttered such a cry, you will know what I am talking about; if you haven’t, you won’t. If you are lucky, you will see yourself as God sees you (and be affected by that understanding for the rest of your life). How will this apply to your preparation activities? Practically speaking—stop seeking to have things your own way; stop seeking your own ‘rights’, and look to find instances where you might help secure the rights of others (I mean really, after seeing what we look like through God’s eyes, no one could be prideful again). Recognize that before you can truly live in this life, before you can truly be productive in the sense that you will produce good for others besides yourself, before you can take the right steps to prepare for the coming fight, and before you can really do anything that pleases God, you have to come to the realization that you are not in charge; that you are not even capable of being ‘in charge’—of your life, or anyone else’s life; and that our natures are, in fact, such that if left to ourselves, we would muddy the baths of angels. And why, lastly, is all this important? Why is this eminently practical? Because we are coming into a time when warriors are required. The coming fight, however, is not about freedom, or constitutional liberties, or the right to own guns. No, the ground on which we’re fighting and will fight is spiritual—the enemy of freedom and liberty is also, coincidentally, the enemy of your soul. Every one of you who reads this blog feels this, deep down. Every time you read of another encroachment on freedom, an intrusion into previously sacrosanct rights, or some new abuse or trampling of human dignity, something in you twists in anger; you cry out against it. Why? Because the fight we’re in is spiritual, because these things affront your spirit, and no amount of political or prepping efforts will avail you if you have not prepared first spiritually. Not recognizing this is a spiritual fight, and just stocking up and learning skills (all quite important, mind) without first understanding and applying the Cross is like stepping into a boxing ring against a powerful (only once-defeated) opponent—he’s got a baseball bat, and you’re wearing a blindfold…good luck.

2. Men—Cowboy Up. Men need to be the spiritual leaders in their family. A man who needs to be nagged by his wife to lead spiritually will let down his side in the bigger battles to come (because remember, the fight we’re in now is spiritual, and will only get more so). This is important because this is the way God structured our society: it doesn’t mean men are more or less important, it is just that leadership in the home is the role God has assigned to men, so as to maintain the symbology He has put in place so we could know Him. Men—you need to lead your families spiritually by reading them sections of the Bible each day. You need to speak to them about what you read (which means you need to be able to hear from God what He tells you to say). You need to be able to handle the Word of God like a master re-loader handles his re-loading equipment; like some master gardener handles their garden; like some master electrician can whip up a DIY alternate power source. And I mean every man, not just some minister or pastor. This means, practically, that every man needs to be able to answer the tough questions, and every man needs to be setting the example for their family with their own life. And this means every man needs to know the Bible better than anyone in their family…and it means then that you need to humble out, and it means that if you are doing things you ought not to be doing, knock it off, ask God’s forgiveness, stop doing those things (that’s what ‘repent’ means), and start learning the things He wants you to learn and doing the things He wants you to do. You won’t make one lick of progress toward understanding the Bible unless you are willing to line up and do what it says to do. No one said this would be easy, but any home with a man in it who isn’t leading spiritually isn’t firing on all cylinders. Any family that hopes to prepare, led by a man who thinks this ‘spiritual stuff’ is just a crutch, or something not manly enough to deal with, will get rolled over when the enemy’s big spiritual guns are rolled out (remember the baseball bat and the blindfold). And remember, gentlemen…you can’t be the spiritual leader in your homes unless you have first executed step one, above.

3. Obey the Word. This phrase, ‘the Word’, is what Christians mean when they are referring to either what they read in the Bible, or what God actually tells them to do (yes, Virginia, God still speaks to people today). Typically God speaks to people through His written word, which is why it is so important to correctly handle it. If you were zeroing your battle rifle for 100 yards and you didn’t know how to ‘correctly handle’ the settings on your sight, you really wouldn’t make any progress with the exercise now, would you? If you were building an alternative energy source and you didn’t ‘correctly handle’ the principles of electricity, you’d suffer the consequences. Well, the Word of God is a tool He’s given us to be able to (a) obey Him the right way, and (b) live our lives so that we can benefit others. But you can read the Bible and talk about it and spread it around, but if you don’t actually do what God tells you to do, you’re wasting your time. Obedience is that actual thing that helps us understand what God is telling us in the Word; this is why people who have absolutely no intention of actually obeying God read the Bible and can’t make head nor tail out of what it says. Warriors need to obey their commander, and in this upcoming spiritual fight, God is the commander, and if you want to fight in this upcoming fight, you had better learn how to obey Him. Obey in the small things first, and soon He will give you more critical tasks. Obedience is critical—and that means you need to humble out and get a right sight picture of where you stand relative to God—and that takes us back to step one, above.

4. God is God. It seems that somewhere, American Christians have gotten the idea that waving a flag is tantamount to worshipping God…and I think that is because most people who might call themselves Christians are actually worshipping America (this is because it is easier than executing step one, above). At the bottom of that slippery slope one sees that there is the tendency to simply worship any construct or political system that provides them a required lifestyle or level of convenience or freedom to engage in a preferred activity. America should not be God, the Constitution should not be God, and I would even go so far as to say that one’s efforts to prepare should not be your God (and by ‘God’ I simply mean ‘that which is most important to you’). In any fight, one needs to see clearly whom you are fighting. In a dogfight, typically the first one who sees the enemy has an immense advantage; in any sort of combat, seeing your opponent clearly is critical. Not having a clear picture of God will keep you from clearly seeing the real opponent in these days. Our opponents are not ‘the Progressives’ or the gun control fanatics, or ‘the evil left’. No…our opponent is the enemy of souls, the deceiver of nations, the hater of your heart. Adjust to that fact and stop swinging at illusions. Accurately place God in the scheme of things, and you will accurately comprehend your enemy. But if you continue to worry about the restoration of constitutional freedoms and rights and all the other things ‘guaranteed by the Founding Fathers’ without first executing step one, above, then you will be playing into the hands of the enemy, swinging at moonbeams, and sooner or later, you’ll get that baseball bat in the head when the enemy rolls out his big guns and everyone recognizes the fight as spiritual. You’ve heard it said, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” Well, focusing on surface political and national issues is bringing a knife to a gunfight. Don’t be caught without the appropriate spiritual weapons.

5. Life isn’t the sine qua non of existence. If you are continuing in a relationship of obedience with God, then you should not fear death. Rather, you should fear He Who consigns souls to hell (that would be God). Death isn’t the enemy; loss of freedom isn’t the main threat. Denying God is that which we should most fear. Practically speaking, how might one deny God? Let’s put it in terms we can understand. Let’s say you have a Dad who’s the greatest Dad in the world. He’s taken care of you, raised you to be an honest, hard-working, true man or woman who knows what love and truth and beauty and obedience means. So one day someone comes along and asks you to engage in an activity that you know would upset your Dad, something which would be against all the principles for which he stands. If you go ahead and engage in that activity, such would be tantamount to denying your Father. ‘Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s.’ No man can force you to deny God if you have already come to that place in your mind where you would rather die than do so.  One doesn’t get to that place easily. You can only get to that place by realizing that your life is less important than your faithfulness to your Father in heaven (presuming, of course, that you have executed step one, above). Now, I am not advocating that you run upon the nearest sword that happens to present itself so that you can become an instant martyr. No…I am telling you that the product of a solid relationship with God in which you are obeying Him on a daily basis (after you have accomplished step one, above) will be a firm, unshakable determination to die or suffer hardship rather than to disobey Him, or be forced to engage in an activity or adopt a philosophy or adhere to any policy or principal that requires you to disobey God’s rules, nature, or commandments. Another product of that close relationship will be God’s hand on your life, shepherding you through the days such that when the time comes for you to perhaps give up your life before denying Him, it will be an instance that He has arranged, and it will be for His glory, not yours. This re-adjusted mindset may result in some dramatically different approaches to your preparations. Consider—how would your preparation activities change if you were to ask yourself, “How will God be glorified by what I am doing?” (this term ‘glorified’ can be ‘church-speak’: it simply means, for example, “How will God get the credit; how will God’s excellence and wonderfulness be made evident to people; how will the people affected by this thing I’m doing realize that God is the one who made it all possible, and thank Him and not me?”). Everything you do to prepare—every gun you buy, every food item you store, every balaclava you procure—needs to be done with the objective in mind that somehow, someway, people will sooner or later, because of what you are doing, thank God (not you).

6. Dropkick the World. Once upon a time, a man had two dogs, a Red dog and White dog. He would tell everyone who came to visit that he loved that White dog and really hated the Red dog. Oh, and how those two dogs would fight each other. The man would tell his guests that he always wanted the White dog to win, and sometimes that White dog did (usually when guests were around), but most other times that mean ol’ Red dog would just get the upper hand. Now, twice a day that man fed the Red dog a huge porterhouse steak and once a day he fed that White dog just three small garbanzo beans and a Ritz cracker. Well, pretty soon, you can guess who was winning the fights—yup, that mean ol’ Red dog. So the point of the story here is that those two dogs are in each of us. The Red dog is that thing in us—our human nature—that wants to do the bad stuff; the White dog—God’s nature (presuming again you’ve executed step one)—is that which is trying to get us to do what’s right. When we put into our hearts the garbage that comes from the world—the philosophies, the entertainments, the ethics, the value systems, and the general mindset the world has (the ‘world’ being those things opposed to God), we’re feeding the Red dog and starving the White dog. Better we starve the Red dog and feed the White dog; read the Word every day; dwell on what God is doing through His body on earth; associate with others who are accomplished in performing step one, above; read solid books that accurately and in an honoring way depict the wonderful things God has done in human history; stay away from movies and books that dishonor Him (Hollywood being what it is, that narrows the field down a bit). Now, you won’t be able to come completely out of the world—I’m not advocating you join some sort of monastery (you can’t have an M1A in a monastery, I’ve heard—that would cut it for me). You will need to have some familiarity with what is happening around you to make some sense of the days in which we live—but don’t starve the White dog in doing so.

7. Love what God loves (hate what God hates). Imagine a little boy who looks up to his father and wants to be ‘just like his Dad’. Well, what do we see in little boys who have this desire? They do what their Daddies do; they love what their Dad loves, and if their Dad somehow expresses distaste for something, you can be sure that little boy will walk right up to it and give it a kick as well. What does God love? God loves truth, and justice, and righteousness (another ‘church-speak’ word that simply means doing what is right in God’s sight—which means that to do righteousness you need to know what God considers right, which means you need to understand His Word, which requires executing step one, above); He loves mercy, and a humble and contrite heart—this means a heart that knows where it stands in the great scheme of things, and owns up to and is deeply sorry for the rotten things it has done in its past. He loves compassion and He loves defending those who cannot defend themselves. He loves protecting the innocent and the weak. He stands against evil and does not give way before it. And God hates, too (oh yes He does, absolutely, positively, make no mistake—you can read it in Psalm 5 and elsewhere). He hates sin, and He hates those who sin; he hates injustice and tyranny and murder and rapine and all the evil things men do…and evil men. And He will one day come back and His robes will be dipped in blood from all the death and destruction He will deal out upon men and women who are opposed to His rule (my suggestion is to be on the right side of that coming fight). So in your daily life, begin to make a habit of doing what your Father in heaven does; uphold truth and justice and do righteousness and hate those who do iniquity. Keep yourselves from idols—that is, keep yourselves from anything that might get to be more important in your life than obeying God.

– – –

And so…

Do you want to be a warrior in this fight? Do you want to take up arms with your heavenly Father, to do what you can to fight on His side? Do you want to identify with others who have a devotion to a mission so intense that they would be willing to die for it? God is not so concerned about restoring the Constitution; He is not so concerned about restoring the principles of the Founding Fathers. He is concerned, though, about individual hearts being so tuned to Him that every person functions as if they were part of His own body here on earth. It may be that the outcome of this coming conflict results not in some rejuvenated American nation but in a completely new world, with God actually ruling and reigning on this earth (which might impact your food storage plans a bit). Prepare well—God says that those who see danger and prepare to avoid it are prudent. But remember the most important aspect of preparation. Warriors in this fight will know how to use these practical steps (for they are weapons); they will know how to take orders; they will know where and how they fit in the grand scheme of things (for such is the true definition of humility); they will know the voice of their Commanding Officer, and they will do what He says—regardless of cost.