As I watched Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May give her press conference early Sunday morning following the horrific terror attacks in London Saturday evening, I was struck by her strong, definitive, and un-politically-correct language, the likes of which I haven’t seen or heard in politics in far too long. After the speech, I went on-line to find a transcript and quickly drew a connection from her words regarding a national response to terrorism to our personal response in dealing with the pervasive and encroaching evil (sin) in our own lives. Below, all quotes and/or italics denote May’s words from her speech.
“We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in four important ways. First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.”
To rid our lives of plaguing and parasitic sins, then, first, “we cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are.” Nothing changes if nothing changes. Lying to our own hearts, rationalization, and compromise must be exchanged with Truth. The attacks on our lives “are bound together by one single evil ideology of extremism”—to promote the questioning, doubt, and hatred of God, the division of relationships, and isolation from His Kingdom.
Step #1—Get Real With Yourself.
“Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed.”
So much of our on-going sin is because for too long we have given a particular ideology “the safe space it needs to breed.” So breed it does and breed it has. Being honest with ourselves and God and agreeing that it must be stopped, cleaned out, and that particular area of life redeemed will destroy the breeding ground for evil in our own hearts.
Step #2—Get Honest With God.
“Third, … there is—to be frank—far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.”
Over time with no change, we become completely tolerant of our own sin and often completely intolerant with others’ sin. Making the decision to clean our own house by “identifying it and stamping it out,” while no question the best thing in the long run, will likely “require some difficult, and often embarrassing conversations” to open the door to Truth. But always and ultimately worth the effort and risk.
Step #3—Open Up Your Heart.
“Fourth, we have a robust counter-terrorism strategy, that has proved successful over many years. But as the nature of the threat we face becomes more complex, more fragmented, more hidden, especially online, the strategy needs to keep up. But it is time to say `Enough is enough’. We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies.”
So, we know the sin that is constantly in our face, messing with us, hurting us, and all our relationships, and with God—the question is when will we finally “say enough is enough”? Jesus Christ’s saving work on the cross has given us “a robust counter-terrorism strategy that has proven successful over many years.” When we agree with God and choose obedience, we can then “come together” and “pull together,” so “united” with Him, He will “take on and defeat” any enemy we face.
Step #4—Give Up Your Life.
So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You sinners, clean sin out of your lives. You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure. Be sad, cry, and weep! Change your laughter into crying and your joy into sadness. Humble yourself in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you. —James 4:7-10 NCV