(Continued from Part 1.This concludes the article.)
The third path: come out
What does it mean to “come out” of Babylon? To exit Babylon means to no longer seek the culture’s favor or approval, to no longer seek its desires, to no longer seek its wisdom or counsel, to no longer seek its good or advancement, and to put no more trust in it. It means to put as much emotional, mental, physical, and above all spiritual distance between your family and the culture. Like Gideon, we must depose the idols in our own houses (Judges 6:25-27). We must abandon the ‘truth’ that we have been fed by our schooling, the media, and perhaps by our churches in favor of Biblical truth. Our families should be conformed to the will of God, not to cultural norms or expectations. Beware of ties with anyone or anything that seeks to draw you back to the city of destruction. We are fleeing for our lives before the day of the Lord’s judgment. We must get off the sinking ship, lest we go down with it.
Some practical and necessary steps:
1. If the teaching and culture of your church does not conform to the full counsel of scripture, leave it. A bad church is not better than no church. I offer a potential litmus test:
a. Is your church warning the congregation of the impending judgment of God? (Ezekiel 33:1-6)
b. Is your church’s view of marriage covenantal or contractual? (Genesis 2:24)
c. Does the church support and encourage the patriarchal model for the family that is proscribed in scripture? (Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Timothy 2:11-14, Ephesians 6:24)
d. Is the congregation sober-minded, mature, and growing in the knowledge of the word of God? (I Corinthians 3:1,2)
e. Are unbelievers participating regularly in the life of the church, or is the congregation properly fenced? (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
f. Is there some understanding of the role of heavenly gifts and spiritual warfare? (1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 14:1)
g. Are fathers taking the responsibility for the spiritual instruction of their households? (1 Corinthians 14:34-36, Ephesians 6:24)
h. Do the men in the church gather regularly for prayer? (1 Timothy 2:8)
2. Take responsibility for and authority over the education of your children. Obviously, this means that your children can’t remain in Babylon’s schools. Bear in mind that the education you give your children need not conform to the standard curriculum of the world – you must decide what education your children will need for the world to come. But it also means that Dad must teach his children and his wife the scripture – this duty cannot be pawned off on the church.
3. Suspect, with extreme prejudice, all forms of media. Don’t let Satan’s sewer pipe in your house. Be very careful what movies, music, books, etc. you allow in your house. Abandon all social media accounts: not only are they costly distractions, but they actively encourage shallow, virtual relationships as well as voyeurism, slander, greed, jealousy, and a lack of accountability.
4. You choose your children’s friends. If you have raised up your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:24), they will trust you to guide them in their choice of friendships and to lead them through developing those relationships.
5. Fathers must provide for their families and not rely on their wives, the government, or the largesse of others (1 Timothy 5:8).
6. Plan to exist as much as possible without the government, economy, and law enforcement of this nation. Take advantage of the institutions while you can, but be prepared to do without if these pillars become corrupt, dysfunctional, unreliable, or cease to exist. It is foolish to entrust the survival of what God has entrusted to you to the organs of a nation that is under God’s judgment (see 1 Timothy 5:8 again).
7. Technology can be very useful, but lower tech solutions may be more sustainable (see point immediately above). Have a chainsaw and hydraulic splitter, but a crosscut saw and splitting axe or maul are good ideas as well.
8. Do not let any relations, friends, or family, supersede the unity that you have with your spouse. You must be one to be ready for the times ahead.
9. Keep your career in check. We all must provide for our families, but do you really expect your career to remain as it is, unchanged, through what is coming? Don’t invest too much in it.
10. Discipline your body. God is not honored if we are poor stewards of your health, and we will need all the strength and stamina we can get. Diet, exercise, and remove bad habits.
11. Read, memorize, and meditate upon the scriptures, for here lies truth. This is particularly important in these days (2 Timothy 4:3,4). Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
12. Maintain a humble attitude before God, be patient in trials and hardship, thank Him and praise Him for his manifold blessings.
If you think that this puts a lot of responsibility on us, and especially on men, you’re right – it does. If you also think that this will require a lot of heavenly assistance, you’re right again – it will.
I suspect the burning question in your mind may be: “Do I have to move to come out of Babylon? Can’t I create “spiritual distance” between my family and the world without relocating to the boonies?” My answer: was Lot able to do that in Sodom? Were the Israelites able to do that with the Canaanites dwelling in their midst? If you are surrounded on every side by moral contagion, decay, and godlessness, then how long can you remain spiritually healthy? Remember the words of 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”
Objections to relocation usually fall into one of three categories:
1. Comfort, familiarity, and a feeling of security in one’s current location.
2. Finances (typically a ‘good’ job).
3. Relationships (friends, family, church).
Let’s address all three:
When Lot first came to Sodom, he was already rich (Genesis 13:5,6), and he had no relationships there, having recently come from Ur of the Chaldees with his Uncle Abraham. In other words, he didn’t go there for the money or for family or friends. But he and his family quickly became quite comfortable there, even though he ‘felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds’ (1 Peter 2:7). His daughters were engaged to men of Sodom (Genesis 19:12-14). And even though the angels warned him that they would destroy the city, he whined about fleeing to the mountains (Genesis 19:17-20). He refused to leave until the angels literally took him by the hand and led him out of the city (Genesis 19:16). In the end, his was wife was lost when she turned back (Genesis 19:26), he and his daughters were debased (Genesis 19:30-38), and he was reduced to living in a cave (Genesis 19:30). The presumed comfort of Sodom was not worth the cost, and it had its consequences.
Consider the life of our Savior. He was born in a stable, laid in a manger (Luke 2:7). He fled for His life to a foreign country (Matthew 2:13,14). He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He was homeless throughout His ministry (Matthew 8:20). Having been rejected by those He came to save, He was mocked, stripped, beaten, scourged, and crucified. And we are called to follow in His footsteps, to ‘deny ourselves daily, take up our cross and follow [Him]’ (Luke 9:23); we are not called to be comfortable.
With regard to finances, our Lord has promised that He will provide for us if we seek His kingdom first (Matthew 6:25-34). I hasten to add that He has only promised to provide for our needs (1 Timothy 6:8), not our lusts, nor our ‘creature comforts.’ Your new home may be ugly and without climate control or reliable electricity. Your car may be rusty. You may no longer have the fashionable clothes, entertainment, or conveniences to which you are accustomed. Your own sweat and toil may have to take the place of hired labor. Frankly, a lot of ‘adjustments’ may be necessary. But ‘better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife’ (Proverbs 17:1).
The issue of relationships is for many the most difficult to tackle. There is a ‘friend that sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24), and the ‘threefold cord is not quickly broken’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12). And it cannot be denied that distance strains any relationship. However, I would like to offer the following considerations with regards to relocation and relationships.
First, many of us need to take a hard look at the degree of importance of the various relationships in our lives. Too many men prefer time with their buddies over time with their wives. There are wives who are more emotionally connected to the women in their Bible study than they are to their husbands. Do your children value their relationships with their peers over their relationships with their parents and siblings? Are you more concerned with what your parents think than you are concerned with the state of your marriage? To be frank, many of these unholy ties should be challenged, and relocation provides the opportunity to do so.
We must look to our own households first, above considerations of extended family, friends, and the members of our church. We are one flesh with our spouse and with no one else. And scripture clearly says that ‘if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for the members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever’ (1 Timothy 5:8).
We must look to the well-being of our own homes, even if that leads to distance, friction, or even severance of other relationships. Second, if your friends and relations do not heed the call to ‘come out of her, my people,’ are they not Babylonians at heart? Do you wish to be entangled with such company when the Lord visits His people and metes out his judgment? Jesus said ‘do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’ (Matthew 10:34-37). Whom do you love most?
You cannot save this nation. And you cannot safely remain enmeshed in its culture. Our nation has rejected Christ, and Christ has rejected it. When the pillars of society are moved, we have the chance to rely more fully on God, or to cry ‘…alas, Babylon’ (Revelation 18:10). Heed well the command of scripture: “come out of her, my people, lest you participate in her sins an receive of her plagues . . . for the Lord God who judges her is strong.”
I sense the time to do so is running short.