Many of the Psalms were written by David. It’s less clear who wrote Psalm 119, but much of it describes the importance of following God’s commands, especially when life is hard. Our culture continues to be turned upside down with months of upheaval. In the rodeo community, as much as anywhere, there is a desire for life to be normal.
But as Christians, truly saved by seeking redemption and forgiveness through their saving faith in Jesus, it’s important to remember when compared to the culture around us, we’re anything but ‘normal.’
We’re still going to make mistakes, but a life in Christ becomes a changed life. We begin to respond differently to the world around us, no matter how much upheaval occurs or how much our culture or the rules we live by are changed. Doing what we know is right, even if it goes against how we feel or how everyone around us is acting, doesn’t earn us anymore from God.
Through repenting of sin and seeking forgiveness from Jesus, knowing he took the punishment meant for us, we’ve already been given everything — a promised eternity and perfect life in Heaven. Free from all the struggles and chaos we’re seeing around us now. But with a life in Christ, we look to respond to what is going on around us the way Jesus would, not the way our friends or even how our political leaders would.
So how do we know how we’re supposed to respond?
We obey God’s word and we let it guide our steps and light our way. That means taking time to learn what’s in the Bible and stopping before we act to ask ourselves, is this social media post, conversation, action I’m about to take in line with scripture and what Jesus has commanded me to do?
Even without having read or studied the whole Bible, it’s often easy to know the answer when most of us already know the basics. We are to point others to Jesus and love one another, even the ones who hate us.
That’s where it gets really hard. It’s easier to try to share from the Bible or talk about Jesus with people who are at least similar to us in culture and values. It gets harder to be heard among people who have strong values that conflict with ours. It gets harder still when those people actively work against our Christian values. But it can be hardest of all when, sometimes without even realizing it, we don’t like those people because of how they treat us or our beliefs.
We need God to shed light on our own sin so we can step past that obstacle and follow His light along a path that leads us to where we can share the Gospel with others, including those we find ourselves struggling to love.
Scott Hilgendorff is the pastor for Cowboys of the Cross, a rodeo/bullriding ministry that leads cowboy church services and maintains an online presence at cowboysofthecross.com that makes disciples of the ranch and rodeo community.