What’s Your Cause?

It is normal for one to want a cause in life.  By “cause,” I mean: “a goal or principle served with dedication and zeal” (yourdictionary.com).  A person desires meaning and purpose in life.

A Christian has a cause.  Jesus taught, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).  Paul taught, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  Again, he instructed, “Do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  He said, “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).  Peter taught that Christians should conduct themselves in such a way that others are led to “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

However, others look elsewhere for a cause.  Here are some modern causes: politics, marxism, environmentalism, humane treatment of animals, civil rights, feminism, lgbtq activism, etc.  Some causes are compatible with Biblical teaching.  Others are not. 

Here are some things to consider: First, all should be tested by the word of God.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  “Test all things; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).  A Christian should not be supporting a cause which is opposed to God’s revealed will, as revealed in His word.

Second, one should carefully evaluate his priorities in light of the scripture.  Consider: (a) S.P.C.A. ads.  They are emotionally stirring ads.  Sarah McLachlan is the spokesperson, suffering animals are showed.  Music plays.  Some of the songs used in these ads are religious songs such as Silent Night and Amazing Grace.  These ads have effectively raised money.  I have no problem with this.  We should be good stewards of God’s creation (e.g. Genesis 1:27-30; 2:15).  We should be concerned about animal life (e.g. Proverbs 12:10; Deuteronomy 22:4; cf. Luke14:5).  However, I wonder how many who give to the S.P.C.A. are motivated to give and support the effort to save man.  Man is even greater than animal according to the Bible (cf. Matthew 6:26; 10:29-31; 12:11-12; 18:12-14; Luke 13:15-16; 14:1-5; 15:1-7).  Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  The commission was proclaimed “Go… make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).  The early church “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

(b) Angus Reed 2020 Poll.  The Angus Reed Institute, one of Canada’s leading poll companies, published on April 15, 2020 the results of a poll on modern morality.  The sample size was 1,528 Canadian adults.  When asked about the issue of abortion – 59% said it was always or usually morally acceptable; 15% said that it was not a moral issue; 26% said that it was always or usually morally wrong.  When asked about the issue of doctor-assisted suicide – 69% said that it was always or usually morally acceptable; 11% said that it was not a moral issue; 20% said that it was always or usually morally wrong.  When asked about using single-use plastic cutlery – 18% said that it was always or usually morally acceptable; 31% said that it was not a moral issue; 51% said that it was always or usually morally wrong.  When asked about buying a gas-guzzling SUV – 29% said that it was always or usually morally acceptable; 30% said that it was not a moral issue; 41% said that it was always or usually morally wrong (angusreed.org).  Really?  Plastic and fossil fuel use is seen by the respondents as more of a moral issue than the issue of taking life. 

Third, many things in life are a trade-off.  Are coal and oil evil products?  One writer suggests that they have been better than the alternatives.  Michael M. Rosen writes, “In the 1860’s wood accounted for 80 percent of American energy.  That proportion plummeted to 20 percent in 1900, and 7.5 percent in 1920.  Coal packs twice as much potential energy per kilogram as wood… ‘fossil fuels were thus key to saving forests in the United States and Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth century,’ (Michael) Shellenberger reckons… Similarly, the mid-19th century discovery of petroleum likely prevented the extinction of whales, whose oil produced 600,000 barrels per year at the peak of whaling in 1845” (Michael M. Rosen, Apocalypse Now?, the-american-interest.com).  Yet, coal and oil have their own problems.  The SUV may consume more fuel per mile.  However, it may be able to carry more passengers and/or cargo.  There are trade-offs in life.  Not everything is black or white. 

Fourth, human thought is fallible.  What is ‘woke’ today may not be tomorrow.  For example: In the 1990’s, the use of plastic bags was thought to be better for the environment than using paper bags.  It would save the forests.  Now the use of paper is thought by many to be better for the environment than the use of plastic.  The truth is it may be for more complicated to determine which is better for the environment than many realize (Plastic or Paper: Which Bag is Greener? By Tom Edington, bbc.com).  Moreover, when California banned plastic bags for carryout, the sale of garbage bags skyrocketed (Why Banning Plastic Grocery Bags Could Be A Bad Move, npr.org).  What about reusable bags?  This too is complicated (bbc.com).  “One study from the United Kingdom (UK) found that, regarding bag production, cotton bags have to be reused 131 times before they reduce their impact on climate change to the same extent as plastic bags.  To have a comparable environmental footprint (which encompasses climate change as well as other environmental effects) to plastic bags, a cotton bag potentially has to be used thousands of times” (Sustainable Shopping – Which Bag is Best? nationalgeographic.org).  Who knows if this assessment is accurate?  Yes, we are to be good stewards.  However, some things are complicated. 

This isn’t complicated.  Man needs the Gospel.  Become an activist for the cause of Christ.

Fifth, are you looking at yourself?  It is easy to look at issues outside oneself.  It is much harder to soberly look at self, and what needs to be changed there.  “Examine yourself as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Don’t let conquering cities be a distraction to conquering self (Proverbs 16:32; 1 Corinthians 9:27).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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