People love exciting things. The chemical secretions in the brain can be enthralling—if you love roller coasters, you know what I’m talking about. In the same way, people can enjoy something terrifying as long as they’re personally safe: wildfires, pandemics, airplane crashes, you name it. The panic of a pandemic can give you a good little jolt—boy, this is bad!
I’m a Christian, so Christian concerns, cares, and worries are of great importance to me. Sometimes I see Christians spend tons of time worrying about evil governments and their conspiracies. Yes, we all have at least one friend who posts on Facebook all the time about X, Y, or Z conspiracy—maybe we even ARE that person sometimes! The amount of time spent reading about how Georgie B brought down the World Trade Centers, or how SARS-CoV-2 is a plot by [insert shadowy, powerful person here], or—well, you get the point. It’s a massive time sink!
And this doesn’t surprise me. Conspiracies, like roller coasters, are fun. They get us very pumped up and ready to fight—ready to fight even our own brothers and sisters in Christ. Satan has a tool to not only distract us, but downright ensnare us, and it can turn us against our own, spiritual kin. What in the world could be better for him? He can get a Christian sidetracked from changing spiritual lives; from making new Christians. Ultimately, nothing else matters. Nothing. So this is one heck of a tool for him to use.
Which makes me consider something. There are so many conspiracies that we might think about, from small to large, from complex to simple. Most of them we can never prove. But what about another conspiracy?
See, there was an actual conspiracy against Jesus, and it even killed Him. There were horrifically barbarous and evil governments full of plots, and terribly scheming folks, even among “God’s people.” And the record is that Satan and his angels are often behind world powers (see Daniel 10 and 11, Ezekiel 28, etc.), and they are supernaturally strong forces that resist even God’s angels.
The record is also that yes, Christians may be killed by governments or evil men for their beliefs. Revelation 12:11 and Romans 8 attest to this. God even says in Romans 8, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” but he follows that up with something we often leave off:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
Yes, causing all things to work together for good might not mean that we aren’t naked, starving, or killed as sheep to the slaughter, and in that, oddly enough, he says we overwhelmingly conquer.
But you know what Jesus Christ didn’t do on this Earth? He didn’t talk about who took down the World Trade Centers/was plotting for shekels of silver. He didn’t spend time on the conspiracies. That would have been a distraction. Christ realized that the real struggle isn’t against governments, because there are two classes of people: those in Christ, and those captive to do Satan’s will. (Galatians 3; 2 Timothy 2) Indeed, we should expect all sorts of evil; it should not overtake us with shock and awe.
You see, Christ’s example and God’s word are what we should follow, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6)
There is only one way to change the world eternally and spiritually, and that’s by making less people captive to Satan to do Satan’s will. Otherwise, no matter how it seems, it’s a passing, fleeting change, and it’s not going to be stored up in heaven. Don’t let Satan distract you. Follow Christ’s example, even if it initially upsets you to ignore Satan’s machinations playing out in the flesh and blood.
As a personal note, one’s belief on X, Y, or Z conspiracy may be valid. Sometimes, though, it’s best if it isn’t brought up, and it takes a backseat. Not because we’re wrong, but because it might lead other people to not want to hear what we have to say on far more important topics, like our Savior. In Romans 14, God even tells Christians talking to other Christians to keep some stuff to themselves, remarking, “keep this faith that you have between yourself and God.” Why? Because maybe we’re right, but it’s an ambiguous matter that can lead to dispute—and that’s Satan’s foothold to distraction and destruction.
I love you, and so does Jesus. Let me know if I can serve you!
Wise Follow-up Commentary from (nearly 4-decade) Missionary Jeff Hostetter
My friend, and spiritual mentor to many, had some additional, wise words to add to my post, so I wanted to share, as he explores an avenue of truth that I didn’t really touch on. Below are his words. Enjoy!
I will say that truth is important, and Christians often argue about very important issues sometimes—including (even) the Bible! Such “discussions” can help sharpen our critical analytical skills and lead to more discernment. It all comes down to motive and method…and the state of our hearts.
But on Facebook, there is a wide divergence of people. We must be aware of our audience, check our motives, and limit our freedom sometimes, to perhaps private conversations or to smaller groups that are actually mature enough to handle lively discussions of grownups.
Love and God’s Spirit are needed here.—Jeff Hostetter