The biggest challenge is who is going to be on the throne. It plagues us as Christians. Because of the fall and because the whole world was turned upside down from the created order, the created order became the distorted order. In result, we have this propensity to love the dominant position and to pursue the dominant position. It’s not the power position of the Bible necessarily.
There is a power –Vassilev Harvel wrote extensively about this– there’s a power to powerlessness that’s expressed through the cross, that’s expressed through the life of Christ and through the life of the early church. We’re kind of always, even as Christians, jockeying for that dominant position, whether we express it through culture, politics, or ethnicity. We always want to find that place that says, “I’m approved by God not just because of what he’s done, but because of this other thing that we’re going to tack on.”Because of the fall we have this propensity to love and to pursue the dominant position.
When I read 1 John 5, it resonates so much with where we are today in terms of distinguishing who’s who. This is how you know somebody who’s really after the things of God; this is how you know somebody who’s really had an experience that has helped them know who God is and who they are in relation to him.
Then he goes through all these things, and then out of nowhere comes this: “Little children, keep yourself from idols”. You look at it, and you wonder where that came from, but that is the thing that keeps us from understanding that all cultures, all ethnicities, all socioeconomic classes, all men, and all women are equal at the foot of the cross.
When we go back to that temptation in the garden where somebody had to say, “Maybe God isn’t the arbiter of good and evil. Maybe it should be me. Maybe I should be the determiner of who’s in and who’s out.” That’s when things get distorted. I feel like 1 John 5 is a beautiful book that illustrates that.
From my money, the biggest challenge is the same as it ever was. As we used to say in the club in the 80s, “same as it ever was.” Little children, keep yourselves from idols.