Forget alligators!

alligatorsIt’s hard, when you are up to your armpits in alligators, to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.

— sanitized ver. att. to Ronald Reagan

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one that betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

Jesus said to him, “if I will that he wait till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

— John 21:20-22

In my earliest days as a Christian, I believed that it was incumbent on me to show how much disdain I had for certain things that are clearly forbidden in the Bible. I’ll spare you the laundry list, but it took some time for me to realize that that’s not what the walk with Christ is about. Jesus has a very clear and simple assignment for us.

Love one another and spread the Gospel.

That’s it. And being one of His followers is not demonstrated by declaring what you dislike.

In a way, I guess that’s to be expected of a newly-saved person: repudiating his or her past life and in so doing, trashing both their own previous actions and anyone else who thinks or acts that way. But as one matures, one realizes that being a Christian is about demonstrating and proclaiming a way to live — not discrediting the many ways not to live.

And in this world, you know you can find plenty of ways not to live; things that offend God because they’re forbidden in the Bible; things that are based in greed and the love of money or the desire to hate others. It becomes like that slot-machine game called “Whack-a-Gator” (“Whack-a-Mole”, only with alligators, not moles.): you put a quarter in the slot and take a mallet; one alligator sticks its nose out of a hole and you whack it; then another appears, and you whack that; then a third comes out, and you belt it; then the first one comes back, and on and on.

Presently, the time runs out, the alligators never did stop appearing, you’re worn out from swinging that mallet and you’re also out a quarter.

So it is, with “sin-focused” Christianity. There is a never-ending stream of sins and other offences appearing; we whack one and another appears, and on and on. Whereas, in reality, our job — our swamp-draining assignment — is to spread the Gospel. We actually can’t afford to be distracted by alligators nipping at our hindquarters. We have to look forward and upward — not downward and behind ourselves at the alligators.

We concentrate on draining the swamp, and Jesus promises He’ll take care of the alligators. And what happens when we drain the swamp? The alligators die of exposure!

Nothing to be ashamed of

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ….

— Romans 1:8 (KJV)

What a tremendous task we’ve been given! At The People’s Church in Toronto this past Sunday, Marcio Garcia, founder of the Evangelical Mission of Assistance to Fishermen (EMAF) in Brazil, pointed out a recurring theme in Jesus’ words to His disciples during the 40 days between His Resurrection and His Ascension.

Preach the Gospel.

Through His ministry on earth, Jesus had been sending people out to spread the Word; then, having gotten their attention by rising from the dead, He repeated it several times to hammer the message home.

And what is this Gospel we’re supposed to preach? Is it simply that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? That He loves us so much, He paid the ultimate price for our ultimate debt? Or is there something more?

I think there is, and the clue is in Paul’s sentence. “The Gospel of Christ.” As I read it, “Christ” is not a substitute name for Jesus, but refers to the anointing poured out on us when we receive the Holy Spirit — “the power of God unto salvation”. It’s the power to heal the sick and cleanse lepers; to overcome the things the enemy puts in our way and lead others to overcome theirs; the power to effect positive change all around us — truly, it’s the power to be “God’s hands and feet”.

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

— Acts 1:8

Be His witnesses. Preach the Gospel. Don’t get hung up on other people’s sins or get into an argument over whether Jesus is the Son of God or even whether God exists. Jesus told us we’d be given the words we need when we need them — also via the Holy Spirit — so we’re not even to fret about what to say, if we’re supposed to say anything. Don’t get involved in telling people why your interpretation of the Bible is right and everyone else’s sucks.

Preach the Gospel. Spread the Word. Demonstrate the power of the Gospel of Christ. It’s a little bit scary, but then, what move of God isn’t? What if our friends reject us (because they think we’ve rejected them)? What if we lay hands on a sick person and they don’t get up and walk out of hospital? What if people laugh at us? What if we run into an atheist or humanist who’s in the mood for a little “Christian-baiting”?

Well, Jesus warned us that would happen, but He also said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)

I’d say that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

At the intersection of Obedience and ….

When I visit Toronto – which I have been for the past couple of days – I go to Second Cup first thing in the morning. It’s on a corner, which is actually one of those five-cornered intersections: Church Street runs north-south, Front Street runs east-west, with Wellington splitting off from Front westbound … oh, heck: here’s a map …

toronto-5-cornersIt’s a very complicated intersection. Crossing Front, for example, involves crossing the eastbound lane to get to a median, then waiting for the next “walk” signal before crossing the westbound lane. Thankfully, there are “walk” signals, which means that, if you obey the walk signals, you get across the street safely.

 

toronto-obedience-intersection

My vantage point at Second Cup, looking west along Front Street.

But if you don’t obey the walk signals, there are all sorts of ways you can get run over by a car. You can get hit by someone turning right off Front eastbound; turning left off Front westbound; coming straight through along Church; and because the traffic signals are set up so that you can only see the walk signal that pertains to you, if you step off the curb when it still says “don’t walk”, you really don’t know where the traffic that actually has the right-of-way is coming from.

And because people in big cities tend to take matters into their own hands and cross streets when they doggone-well feel like it, I have seen a number of people come very close to getting schmucked by a car at the intersection of Fort/Wellington and Church. It’s not as if these people appear to be in a hurry — not all of them, anyway: they want to cross that street and just because there’s a “don’t walk” sign, they’re going to doggone-well cross it.

I’ve started calling it “Obedience Crossing”, because it’s an excellent example of how remaining obedient is the only way to ensure your safety. God has given us commandments, although Randy Rohrick and Josh Bisnett at Westshore Alliance refer to them as “blessings”, because they’re actually a sign of God’s love for us. We usually can’t see the ultimate consequences of disobedience, but He can.

He gives us the one “walk” signal, for the route in which we’re supposed to travel. He’s also given us crosswalks – corridors where we are safe. If we walk only in the crosswalk and only when the “walk” signal is showing, we remain safe, healthy and alive. If we think we know better and walk when and where we doggone-well feel like it, we run the risk of getting run over — even when we can’t see what could possibly threaten us.

And then there’s the matter of the drivers who hit the brakes to avoid hitting us — people who might be traumatized or for whom those couple of seconds of aggravation and even inconvenience throw them off-schedule. Think, in particular, of the number of times you’ve seen a full bus trying to make a turn, and held up because some people just have to get across the street even though the “walk” signal had ended before they even stepped into the crosswalk. Our actions of disobedience don’t just put us needlessly in harm’s way — they can affect people we don’t know and can’t see.

Of course, we have a choice as to whether to stay in the crosswalk and walk on the signal; often, we make it across in one piece and go on our way thinking we’re “lucky”, “smart”, “quick” — and definitely too “special” to need directions from God or anyone else.

God rewards obedience — even when (or especially when) it’s not convenient. And we have to take it on faith that that reward will come, in God’s time — and on time.

A request from a conflicted Christian

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

The other day, a friend of mine sent me an email, telling me about a “Christian mystic” she’s come across and suggesting I give his preachings a look-see. Apparently, he refers to certain “gospels” — Mary Magdalene, Thomas and Andrew — that were rejected by the Council of Nicaea in the 4th Century AD.

I’m conflicted as to whether I should check it out (she sent me YouTube links), for a main reason: certain books may have been left out of the Bible by the Christian leaders 1600 years ago because the leaders did not believe that they were inspired by God. Further (and I have to confess to a woeful lack of knowledge of church history), I believe that they sensed that the Bible they did approve was a complete, God-inspired, unerring word of the Lord.

I remember someone who adhered to a certain religious sect, telling me that his sect studied “The Inspired Bible”, which “put back things that had been left out” in the Bible we generally accept today.

So in both cases, I ask: “what’s missing from the Bible that needs to be added?”

Am I being closed-minded? Doesn’t it take a fairly open mind to say that the definitive word has been said? I probably will go ahead and watch these videos (and I’ll pass along the links, if appropriate), but I’m going to take John’s advice and “test the spirits” behind it. I believe that’s how the Council of Nicaea made its decisions, and why those other “gospels” were left out.

Besides, John also gives us a pretty clear directive as to how to discern the sort of spirits — in any situation — are at work.

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

— 1 John :2-3

I had a similar experience a couple of years ago, when I started reading some of the books in the Apocrypha. I realized that I wasn’t picking up the anointing that I get from the Bible. It wasn’t a sense of evil, so much the feeling you get when you eat spicy food but still need to add salt.

So I’m reaching out you: what’s your take? Am I treading on dangerous ground or should I simply arm myself and wade in?

Wait — didn’t You say …?

How often have you heard this:

“The Bible is full of contradictions!”

I often hear that from people, explaining why they won’t even crack open the Bible or give it any thought. But I’ve had some of the neatest experiences with God that have begun with wondering what exactly He meant by something.

One of the miracles and mysteries about the Bible is that, if you don’t understand something, unlike the case with Shakespeare, Chaucer, Hemingway or even CS Lewis, you can ask the Author what He meant.

Simply put, if you run into a difficult passage (and as a friend of mine pointed out, if the Bible were simple, it couldn’t have been written by God): pause; contemplate; even ask verbally, “what are You talking about?”; and then wait. You will find answers start to come, and faster than you would ever have thought. In fact, the answers make so much “sense”, you feel like you’ve just stepped out of the “duh” class.

Let me share an example with you.

Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat. For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’

— Jeremiah 7:21-23

Wait a minute! What did You mean, You didn’t command burnt offerings? Didn’t You say:

Then the priest shall bring [all of the sacrifice] and burn it on the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

— Leviticus 1:13

question-mark-512This is when you Go Quiet and listen. And here’s what I heard:

  • the sacrifice was to atone for sin, but not a substitute for obedience
  • when an animal is sacrificed, the instruction is to place a hand on its head: this is to ensure that you look into the eyes of the animal and contemplate the fact that in a moment, it is going to pay the price for your disobedience
  • in sacrificing the animal, it is assuming the sin(s) you have committed
  • all of the evidence of that sin is to be destroyed, and there is no more thorough way of destroying evidence than by burning
  • the “sweet aroma to the Lord” is the aroma of sin being destroyed

So, no: there was no commandment to make sacrifices as if they, in themselves, were what the Lord wanted. And if you want Scriptural support to this, look at the other 41 references to a “sweet aroma to the Lord” throughout the Old Testament: they all line up.

It’s also what Paul meant when he wrote that

… we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life ….

— 2 Cor. 15-16

As we come to Christ, our past sins are destroyed beyond repair — burned to ashes — and that is the sweet aroma that comes to the Lord.

All this came from getting hung up on a particular passage and going before the Lord to ask what He meant. It’s not an indication of any kind of holiness on my part: pick up a Bible for yourself, plunge in and start asking questions. You’ll be very surprised at what you experience.

Indeed, these “difficult” passages, which can arise anytime, anywhere, in the Bible, are there not to hang us up or confuse us or drive us away, but to keep the conversation going.

Another indication of how much God loves us: He wants us to ask; He wants our conversation; and He wants to show us the Truth.

 

Why God?

No, there isn’t supposed to be a comma there.

One of the ways the Lord got through to me so I could turn to Him and learn His truth was through British intellectuals. My mother was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and my dad was born in Chilliwack, so it would only make sense that I would be influenced throughout my life by the British.

Shakespeare, Wilde, Shaw, Lord Sir Kenneth Clark, Bertrand Russell, numerous unnamed writers in The New Statesman: all were studied and cited freely around the Snider household. Occasionally, the little black book with the satin ribbon would be pulled off the shelf to find a literary quote, but the whole idea was that the Great Thinkers were more important.

cs-lewis-1

CS Lewis in Sept. 1947

But the upshot of it was, I was naturally pre-disposed to CS Lewis. I had already been reading the Bible and was eager to spread the good word; and here was a British Intellectual who was also a Believer, and I was looking for a way to respond to the likes of one woman I knew who said, “but you’re such an intelligent person!”

 

Well, Lewis could hardly be accused of not being intelligent, and his writing was compelling for the way it used logic to prove something that I had long since given up using logic to prove, ifyouknowwhatimean.

I bring him up now, because a remark he makes in his book, Mere Christianity, has been ringing around my head for some time. It raises the question of why people need God beyond the usual answers that we humans created God to explain things that we can’t explain or that we want some kind of emotional crutch.

Consider this:

Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever … immortality makes this other difference which, by the by, has a connection with the difference between totalitarianism and democracy. If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment.

— Mere Christianity, Bk. 3, Ch. 1; (c) 1952, 1980 CS Lewis Pte. Ltd.

This is the root reason why Christianity has been suppressed in places like China, Cuba and (in another time, at least) the former Soviet Union; it harkens back to the real basis for Karl Marx’s observation that “religion is the opiate of the masses”.

But it’s not just totalitarian regimes in the traditional sense that we need to be concerned with. What’s the real motivation driving the people who try to deny the existence of God? Why are some people positively hostile towards those who believe? Why do people who claim to be advocates for peace and environmental protection dismiss any notion that the answers can be found in the Bible? (And they do, or else they’d be all over it.)

Coming up with answers to this is like shooting fish in a barrel. There are plenty of reasons why people want to suppress the truth, even though suppressing the truth also means denying the Way — the Way to deal with the truth, not to mention the Life. But it boils down to this:

We receive Christ – we are immortal.

We are immortal – no one can overpower us.

Coals of fire — a burning question

isaiah-coalYesterday, we talked about forgiveness, and the fact that God calls us not to demand apologies or maintain a constant moral high ground over the person who has wronged us, but to release him or her — and ourselves — by forgiving them and getting on with life.

(My country — Canada — has seen a seemingly endless stream of apologies over the past 30-some years to various groups for various things that have been done to them. But there is still racial discrimination, native Indians still live in appallingly squalid conditions both on- and off-reserve. I wonder what would happen if there were to be a statement of collective forgiveness?)

But we wrapped up with the Proverb that states that “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head and the Lord will bless you.”

When I first read that many years ago, my thought was, “aha! The coals of fire will be the searing, gut-wrenching guilt that stupid sod will feel because he’s done this terrible thing to me and I’ll rise above it by forgiving him — bwah-ha-ha-hahhh!”

Well … no.

If that Proverb had referred to fire and brimstone raining down from Heaven, that interpretation might have held water, but there’s something different about the image of “coals of fire”.

Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.

And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips and your iniquity has been taken away and your sin purged.”

Isaiah 6:5-7

Sure — there are other references to coals of fire as being God’s fierce wrath, but are not these particular coals of fire the kind that cleanse and purge one of one’s sin?

John the Baptist refers to the Messiah baptizing with fire; the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is likened to tongues of fire.

When we forgive; when we return good for evil; we are calling on the Holy Spirit to take over the situation.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says the Lord.

— Romans 12:19

Or, as Jerry Savelle once said, “‘Vengeance is Mine,’ says the Lord, because He can do a much better job of it than us rank amateurs!”

Because when we go after vengeance, all we do is punish the person who did us wrong. And the wrong-doer is rarely convicted of his own wrong-doing by revenge: so he now sets out to get his revenge on us, and the vicious cycle starts up again.

But when we let God do His thing, He doesn’t stop at recompense: given that His perfect will is for us all to be brought to repentance, the person who wronged us winds up coming to Him, as well. It may take a while, but if we leave it to God, it will happen. When we let Him do it, He restores what was lost many times over, and brings another soul into the Kingdom. But until we forgive, God stands on the sidelines, hoping we’ll pick Him for the team.

So by forgiving someone, we are, in fact, blessing them — which is exactly what Jesus tells us to do — heaping coals of fire — cleansing, redeeming, purging coals of fire — on their head. And — in the bargain — getting blessed, ourselves.

Letting a hurt linger just festers in our own souls and keeps the wrong-doer in an evil light.

When we forgive, everybody wins.

Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

— Romans 12:20

The hardest word?

Always seems to me / “Sorry” seems to be the hardest word.

— Elton John / Bernie Taupin

Actually, no. Anyone who has had someone bump into them while passing in a Canadian shopping mall will tell you that “sorry” can drip from one’s lips like “Merry Christmas” in Macy’s in December. One reporter, visiting Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics, noted that even the buses apologize.

bus-sorry

So there is a “harder” word.

Forgive.

And yet, when we are wronged, Jesus tells us that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do. Nowhere do I see Jesus telling us, “if you have anything against your brother, demand an apology.” No – He tells us to make things right with that brother before offering anything to the Lord.

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.

— Mark 11:25-26

See, when we are wronged, the world would say that we get to claim a moral higher ground. We become the victim, entitled to sympathy and a comforting pat on the shoulder; the other person has done a wrong thing to us and is therefore inferior, and we now have a moral club we can hit them with whenever we want.

And that’s exactly the way the devil wants it: keep us at one another’s throats, and don’t let anything break this vicious cycle of resentment and loathing.

Forgiveness breaks us out of that vortex. When you forgive — whole-heartedly and without reservation — you allow God’s will to come over the situation. It’s His commandment to us, for one thing, so that obedience bars the devil before he gets anywhere near the door. Forgiveness releases the person who wronged you from the burden of carrying that wrong, and it releases you from the burden of hating someone.

Forgiveness is an act of humility on our part. We willingly give up that moral higher ground for the sake of the Lord and allowing God’s will to take over. We take that “club” we feel entitled to hold and throw it into the fire, so it’s never to be used or even considered in the future.

In fact, let’s jam on “humility” for a moment. When you forgive someone, that’s between you and God, unless the other person comes to you and asks you to forgive him (or her). If you tell someone that you forgive them, you’re now stepping into the realm of self-righteousness, pointing out how they’ve failed (in your eyes) but that you’re big enough to forgive them and get past it. Forgiving comes under the heading of “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Forgiveness removes the “personal” element from the “wrong” action. After all, “right” and “wrong” are simply matters of perspective: they’re right or wrong to us at the time. We need to remember that if Jesus was able to go through the torture, mocking and desertion that came with His trial and crucifixion and then, with His dying breath say (in essence) “Hey – nothing personal”, then we can do the same with whatever picayune little offence is committed against us.

Consider this:

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

— Proverbs 25:21-22 (and cited in Romans 12:20)

One more thing: when we forgive, we stop fussing and fuming about how awful this other person is and we go quiet before the Lord; and so, we move forward in His peace.

What is this Eden?

Part of the First Great Assignment I mentioned yesterday is

And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

— Gen. 2:15

The primary intention of creating man was to propagate Eden and spread it as far and wide as possible. That’s all very well for the time of Genesis, but how does that apply today?

As I read it, Eden is a state of being, where people are totally dependent on and in total communion with God. Everything was provided for us; there was no rain — the Bible says a mist came up every night to water the garden — and God Himself walked and talked with us and answered our questions and gave us direction; and all we had to do was tend the garden and obey Him.

Yes, we dropped the ball on that, but as I said yesterday, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross gives us the means to repent for that failure and get back on track. But didn’t we lose “Eden” in the mean time?

Not necessarily. Eden is still achievable today: it’s called “being in Christ”. We accept Jesus as our Saviour, repent of our sins, receive His blood and return to this state where, once again, we rely on God to provide what we need and have a true relationship with Him.

But we don’t stop at a “personal Eden”. We’re then called to take it a step further and invite others to share that state of being and find their own personal Eden. That’s the Great Commission, in which, as Paul tells King Agrippa, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether as I am — except for these chains.” (Acts 26:29)

Be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it.

=

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.        

The Eden that we achieve in Christ is meant to be propagated, shared, expanded as far as we can take it. By living in a way that demonstrates Paul’s Big Three — Faith, Hope and Unconditional Love — we can draw more people into Eden and push us closer to peace and a healthy earth than any number of treaties, apologies and self-help courses can ever hope.

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden.

— “Woodstock”, by Joni Mitchell (1969)

Green … or God?

So on Friday, I noted that the principal reason for our existence is to be caretakers of God’s Creation. He gave us that assignment when He first put us on earth and backed that up with blessing and special authority — dominion — over everything on this earth.

That means we have a responsibility to the Big Sir to make sure Creation flourishes. The King James Version puts the First Great Assignment as “be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it.” Over the millennia since then, we’ve got the “fruitful and multiply” part down pretty well, along with “subdue it”, but we haven’t been that good at replenishing.

That basically means that we’re to enjoy what God’s given us, but not beyond our ability to replenish it.

And you can see how well we’ve done that job. Praise God, our failure to follow that First Great Assignment is redeemable at the Cross — just as with any other failure of ours.

But once we do repent for that failure and move forward, we should be careful not to assume that all prescriptions from the “green” movement are necessarily the will of God. See, we also have The Great Commission to fulfill: go into the world and make disciples of all nations. That may well involve transportation, whether it’s taking an airplane and jeep into some remote location in Africa, using a 4×4 to get to an out-of-the-way First Nation, or just driving a group of seniors to an excursion or a shopping trip in a minivan. All of that involves burning fossil fuels, which have been declared “evil” by the environmental movement.

Hmm …

So the Lord alone led [Jacob], and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock and oil from the flinty rock. Curd from the cattle, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs ….

— Deuteronomy 32:12-14

Wait a minute (sound of screeching brakes)!

“Oil from the flinty rock”? Isn’t that “fossil fuel”, mentioned in the same breath as symbols of abundant life such as curd from cattle, fat of lambs, and so forth?

Maybe fossil fuel isn’t that evil: maybe we’re supposed to have and use it. As with anything else, it’s over-use that becomes evil.

The “green” approach focuses on the creation rather than the Creator; God promises that if we focus on Him …

If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.

— 2 Chronicles 7:14

… He’ll take care of things like the environmental impact of what we do in His name. Simply put, not all environmentalist actions are Godly — but obedience to God is, by definition, environmentally friendly.