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Turning the Tide
The Tide-Turning Power of Speaking the Truth Boldly
Stanley opens chapter 11 of “Turning the Tide” by writing, “We have a right and responsibility to stand for God”. As we grow in Christ and begin living for the Father, we should then begin voicing the necessary changes that our country is in need of. It is through Christ that we have knowledge of the truth. Now that we have knowledge of this truth it is important that we speak the truth and, as Stanley writes “act on it with confidence”. There must be a high display of this principle, we must hold the type of confidence that Paul displayed when God told him to go to Jerusalem and then to Rome after (Acts 19:21). Paul was begged not to go, he went anyway saying “And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me” (as read in Acts 20:18-24). Apostle Paul was willing to put his life on the line for Christ knowing the rewards of serving the Lord. This is the same mindset we must carry as Christians, as Stanley writes, “the time is now”.
The psalmist Asaph writes, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). Psalm 73 describes the turmoil we face as children of God, Christians endure many trials that leave us discouraged but we must continue to carry on in faith. Stanley writes how God and “His presence energizes and equips us for everything He desires for us to do”. This is how we begin to become recognized as God’s children and, as Stanley writes, “influence as salt and light”. Individually we must decide if we are going to “impress people” or “impact their lives”, as Stanley explains. There’s a vast majority of individuals who live for recognition, doing whatever they can to impress others. Impacting the lives of others is based on “what you say, how you live, and your very presence cause them to rethink their lives, prompting them to change”, as the author states. This is how one becomes both the salt and light of the earth.
In becoming the salt of the earth, we must understand salt and its “valuable commodity” it holds. By understanding the value in salt, we can apply to ourselves as believers. For instance, during ancient times salt was used in order to prevent meat from spoiling. As Christians, we too preserve people in two ways. Firstly, God may use our testimonies in order to encourage others to accept Jesus Christ- “preserving them for eternity”. Secondly, as we teach others to live a godly life, we are also helping them from the road of destruction. In both ways, we are preserving and protecting, like salt does. Another example, is understanding that salt is a seasoning and can be used in order to change the taste of food. Similarly, as believers we can change our own situations by having the Holy Spirit in us. In Matthew 5:1-11, it tells us that we must be “humble, thoughtful, gentle, righteous, merciful, pure, peace-making, firm in our faith, and focused on the higher purpose of God’s kingdom”. Surely, displaying these attributes will change our surroundings and circumstances. The people around us, will also recognize how different we are because of the attributes we demonstrate. The last example, is that it doesn’t take a lot of salt before a dish is “fully affected by its flavor”. Likewise, our godly life should show the same, “people cannot help but want to emulate it and have it for themselves”. When one experiences what it’s like to have Jesus and His love, we influence others to want to have what we have.
In becoming the light of the world, we must understand what Jesus meant when he said “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). We have to know that “light illuminates the way”. For those that are still in the spiritual darkness, we as the light must help those so that we can “illuminate the way to Him”. Additionally, we have to know that “light reveals the truth”. In the dark, it is easy to hide what we don’t want other people to see. Our sins, are all hidden and concealed in this darkness. However, the Holy Spirit works through even our most buried secrets and thus make us change our ways and have wholehearted confidence in God. In doing so, this may influence others to come to Christ by seeing the peace and tranquility we have through Him.
Now that we’ve learned what it means to be the salt and light of the world, what do you think will happen when it collides with the world? The fact that we are trying to impact those that are still in the spiritual darkness, our efforts will collide. Many will not like our presence as the salt and light of the world, and will despise us. That is why in 2Peter 3:15-17 reminds us to be “ready to make defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”. As the salt and light of the world, we must be people of “principle, patience, faith, courage, and humility”. We must make sure that the responses we give in our life it filled with the Holy Spirit, and never be a reason why one doesn’t accept Jesus Christ. However, there will be times where we must speak up. We must be courageous and speak up in order to motivate others to salvation and influencing the trajectory of our country. We must be strong leaders and show what it is to be a “good citizen, living debt-free, modeling honesty, moral lives”.
In order to influence others and our country, we have many power tools at our disposal. Here, I will list the tools Stanley gives:
• The love, wisdom, and strength of the Lord.
• The word of God.
• The power of prayer.
• Our example as we live in obedience to the Father.
• Our influence with others.
• The privilege of voting our values.
• Our civic right to run for office and shape the political discourse.
The tools listed are extremely important for us to partake in. We must learn how to use them because many Christians do not fully utilize this. For instance, Stanley shares that many Christians are not currently registered to vote. This is shocking, as choosing our leaders is one of the “most important battleground states in our nation”. The reason for this is because many Christians give up and forfeit their rights, thinking that it wouldn’t influence anything. Yet, Stanley reminds us that the “ungodly forces never give up an opportunity to take control”. Using these tools, are vital to our being, the people around us and our country.
While we cannot explicitly say to people, which party to choose in political matters or nominees in public office; we can encourage them to pay attention to the character of the nominees running. Do they have integrity? We should always look to verifying what these candidates exhibits by asking ourselves several guiding questions. Below I will list 6 out of the 19 questions Stanley poses:
• Is the individual reliable, faithful, and trustworthy, doing as he says he will- including honoring his marital and family commitments?
• Does the individual exhibit sound, ethical reasoning- including protecting the sanctity of life and the traditional definition of marriage?
• Does the individual encourage and inspire other to become better people?
• Is the person a peacemaker- seeking to resolve arguments and find quality solutions?
• Does the person work well with others and exhibit good judgment- making decisions that demonstrate wisdom and fairness?
• Is the individual prepared to stand up for the truth, no matter what it costs?
These questions, will not only help us weed through what we look for in our leaders, but also help us to see if his/hers behavior accommodates their words. We must use these types of questions, to lead us into picking sound leaders.
In the beginning of this chapter, we discussed that courage Apostle Paul had in which he was willing to die for the sake of the gospel. However, this characteristic wasn’t only displayed in Apostle Paul, but many of the disciples showed this same commitment. They didn’t worry about being thrown into jail or being despised by others. We learn of this in Acts 5:27-32. As faithful believers, there is nothing that stopped them from speaking about Christ. Peter and his apostles responded saying “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Likewise, we should be able to speak up the same way these apostles have. In order to fight the unrighteousness, is by speaking out for righteousness with Jesus Christ. We should apply this courage into our own lives and understand the severity that lies in our society today. We no longer have the time or luxury to impress people, instead we must be bold and declare the truth. In doing so, we will be turning the tide of the power to speak the truth boldly.
1) What does it mean to be the salt of this world? What does it mean to be the light of this world?
2) What kind of tools did Stanley state in order for us influence others and the country? How can you use it?
3) What are some questions that we can use in order to effectively choose our leaders?