Let's start with what a lot of people think it is, but it's not.
Christianity is not a democracy. Christianity is not a constitutional republic. Christianity is not about the US Constitution or any other government institution. Christianity is not about gun control. Christianity is not about legitimizing what is morally wrong or any other liberal agenda. Christianity is not about supporting Israel or any other foreign government or lobby. Christianity is not about supporting Donald Trump or any other political leader. Christianity is not about "fire insurance" theology.
Christianity is about the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God coming about through the hearts and minds of humankind, one at a time, through the knowledge of God. Christianity is about individuals being transformed by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit, so as to be conformed to the likeness of the Son of God, not only in love but in righteousness. That's called "holiness", which means wholeness. This is the foremost component of what it means to be "saved", to be salvaged, to be made whole.
Where did we ever lose track of that message?
Why have the pulpits of preachers, pastors, priests, and popes been compromised by these other things having nothing to do with the Kingdom of God?
We must wake up and understand that this world will change when we are each changed from the inside out. Let's take back the Faith that has been hijacked and supplanted by the world system!
Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.
Signs? Wonders? Phenomena? Apparitions? Prophecies? False teachers? So called wisdom? Philosophy? Eastern mysticism and meditation? Prosperity and success gospel? Everything from dead works religion to extreme liberal antinomianism. (And more...)
What says the Word of God? There are plenty of warnings. The following are but a few. Pray for the Holy Spirit. Pray for discernment. Stay in God's Word. Embrace the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ alone! These are times of great apostasy, and there is "something for everyone" of it in every branch of Christendom. It is time to not fall asleep at the post, but to watch and pray always.
"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and annihilate by the majesty of His arrival. The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of POWER, SIGN, and FALSE WONDER, and with every wicked DECEPTION directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them." 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10.
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1
"Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:15
"Now there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them -bringing swift destruction on themselves." 2 Peter 2:1
"At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and PERFORM SIGNS AND WONDERS THAT WOULD DECEIVE EVEN THE ELECT, if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance." Mark 13:21-23.
"The prophets are prophesying lies in My name," the LORD replied. "I did not send them or appoint them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, a worthless divination, the futility and delusion of their own minds." Jeremiah 14:14.
THE ANSWER: THE SIGN OF THE CROSS!
"For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles." 1 Corinthians 1:21-23.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13,14.
For Consideration: Isaiah 43:18,19. 2 Corinthians 5:16.
“Do not [earnestly] remember the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it. and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” … “Consequently from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view - in terms of natural standards of value. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh].”
It’s imperative to comprehend our reality beneath the surface of what appears to our views largely informed by our finite perspectives, opinions, and the input of our physical senses, and the world - which is the usual modus operandi of comprehension. These are not the eyes of faith which we must have to see, perceive, and enter the kingdom of God (per Jesus in John 3:3-8). However, even when we are given these new eyes of faith by the Holy Spirit, we may for awhile be like the blind man who must receive more than one encounter with the living Christ, lest like him we perceive “people, but they look like trees walking.” Mark 8:22-26. (AVC)
To apprehend means, in this context, to actually lay hold of or grasp the reality of something. We can only apprehend as much as we comprehend. To comprehend means to see or perceive - to behold - as the Lord announces to us through Isaiah, to catch onto this new thing He is going to do - ultimately pointing to the new heart we will receive, and “new creatures” into which we are to be made in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Other synonyms for apprehending: catch onto, cognize, discern, intuit, know, perceive… As we can see, comprehending and apprehending spiritually seem to walk hand in hand.)
Spiritual comprehension comes in “light bulb moments”, epiphanies inwardly experienced in contact with the living Spirit of Christ. They are not necessarily instantaneous, but often like the rising of the sun on a cloudy day - until the clouds disappear and the sun is seen in its fullness, having been there all along.
When we “fathom” something, we plumb the depths of it, and may wind up asking, “Why did I not see this before?” It could be compared to when Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16)
It takes the word of the Lord, the touch of Jesus, a knowing given by God to awaken in us the faith that is interior “sight” - comprehension of a reality of which we were not previously aware. It goes beyond the mental assent or religious programming or training that is commonly called “faith”. These things are but pointers and part of this interior formation.
Faith is an interior comprehension whereby, specifically in the subject at hand, we “see” ourselves and others in Christ as whole and complete in His work, and therefore, relating to one another on this basis: loving as He loved us, forgiving as Christ has forgiven us, as “extensions” of Him in this life. (Related: Ephesians 2:4-10. Colossians 3:1-4. Romans 6:4,5. Colossians 2:12,13. Ephesians 1:3. John 17:21,22. Ephesians 1:17-23. Ephesians 3:14-21.
We cannot apprehend / grasp (let alone appropriate, assimilate, and disseminate) what we do not comprehend / “get” / understand. So of necessity - as St. Paul prayed in the last 2 reference passages - the comprehension or revelation or vision of what is in Christ must be wholeheartedly sought, and prayed for ceaselessly - for (and this is a combined paraphrase of several translations of Proverbs 29:18,19) “Where there is no vision / revelation / redemptive revelation of God, the people are unrestrained / cast off restraint / are unruly / perish; but happy is he who keeps the law. A servant will not be corrected by words alone; for though he understands, he will not answer [the master who mistreats him].”
Knowledge of this kind (redemptive revelation of God) is not based on our own designs or previous understandings. “As Jesus spoke these things, many believed in Him. So He said to the Jews who had believed in Him, If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:30-32.
By the end of that conversation, the same Jews who had “believed” in Him (according to their own comprehensions) picked up rocks with the intent to stone Him for blasphemy. They were ever so “religious,” and outwardly pious, but they had no comprehension / vision / or revelation of their Messiah as the I AM incarnate. This was not unlike the contrast between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Upon coming into the city, He was hailed with hosannas as the Son of David. In His ignominious departure from the city, bearing the cross outside its walls, He was led away to the cries of “Crucify Him!”
Clearly comprehension according to the flesh is a fickle and dangerous state of mind. Therefore, it behooves us to pray for ourselves and one another for the wisdom of God as St. Paul prayed for it.
“For this reason seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ, I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named [that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name]. May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [mere knowledge without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” Ephesians 3:14-19.
It is evident that this comprehension is a prerequisite for theosis, to comprehend ourselves in Christ, and to apprehend what we comprehend.
Is it safe to say that, if we cannot see it, we cannot be it?
Rejoice At All Times.
We need to get into this practice while the time upon us is not yet so severe.
"And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God works ALL THINGS TOGETHER for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:27-29.
All things, not just the things that make us feel good, or that we think are good. Our Lord's higher purpose is why He calls upon us to "Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:15-17. This has been forgotten in the current form of religion that deceitfully encourages "your best life now."
May God have mercy on us and open our eyes!
Yes, the walk is harder to bring into reality than the talk. "As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 2 Corinthians 6:10.
To rejoice in such times is to surrender to God's eternal highest and best for us with a sacrifice of praise.