The US Supreme Court returned to in-person oral arguments yesterday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. ABC News is calling this year’s term a “blockbuster docket.”
Here’s why: By the end of next June, the court could hand down major decisions on:
The death penalty
Using taxpayer funds for religious schools
Redrawing of congressional districts
Challenges to the Biden administration’s nationwide vaccine mandate
Continuation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for young immigrants
Harvard’s use of racial affirmative action
One reason the Founders created a judiciary in which federal judges have life tenure was to insulate them from political vagaries. Nonetheless, if public response to recent rulings is any indication, we should expect enormous divisiveness and rancor in response to the court’s rulings, whatever they might be. For example, the court’s recent refusal to overturn a Texas “heartbeat” abortion law sparked massive demonstrations including a nationwide march for abortion rights last Saturday.
Imagine the anger if the court essentially overturns Roe v. Wade—or, if it does not.
“We need a spiritual solution”
Yesterday we discussed the political chaos in Washington as reflective of our political system: local communities elect leaders to represent them in cooperation, competition, and even conflict with leaders representing other communities. The result, while far from perfect, is intended to be consensual progress toward a shared common good.
However, such consensual progress requires consensual morality: a shared set of values, definitions, and goals. If you want unrestricted access to abortion at any time for any reason and I believe a child should be as fully protected before birth as after, it’s hard to find a consensual basis for community or progress.
An unelected judiciary was the Founders’ solution to such quandaries—as the final word in interpreting and applying the law, the courts would theoretically transcend politics to provide the wisdom and guidance we need. But approval of the current Supreme Court is at a record low in large part because it is viewed through the same partisan lens as Congress and the White House.
What is the way forward?
Pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie is right: “God wants to send a spiritual awakening to America. And we know we’re really needing one right now. I think it’s pretty clear at this point that this is not something that will be solved with a political solution, or a technological solution, or a mere moral solution. We need a spiritual solution, and only God can bring that about.”
“The DJ of your own thoughts”
As the only salt and light in a world dying for both, you and I are the custodians and stewards of the answers our culture desperately needs. Here’s the good news: a resource exists that can keep us from sin (Psalm 119:11), guide us into God’s best for our lives and nation (Joshua 1:8), make us “complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17), empower and direct our prayers (John 15:17), and work to revive our souls, make wise the simple, rejoice the heart, and enlighten the eyes (Psalm 19:7–8).
This resource, of course, is the revealed word of God.
However, before we can share the biblical wisdom our society needs—much less persuade secular people to adopt its truths—these truths must first be transformational in our lives. We must be the change we wish to see.
To this end, let’s return to Louie Giglio’s excellent new book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table: It’s Time to Win the Battle of Your Mind. Louie writes: “Scripture needs to be wrapped throughout your life. It needs to be before your eyes and in your ears and all through your mind. It needs to be in your home and in your locker and on your computer and on your mirror and at your desk. It needs to be talked about and sung about and permeating the music you listen to.”
Here’s why: “When you fill your mind with Scripture, you get to control the playlist of your mind. You become the DJ of your own thoughts.”
Four steps to thinking biblically
How do we do this? How do we “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16)?
One: Make time to meet God in his word every morning.
You will feed your mind something tomorrow morning—news, social media, email, television, videos, music, etc. Try beginning the day by feeding your mind Scripture. Marcus Aurelius observed, “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” Start with the word of God.
Two: Develop a system for reading God’s word.
This can be ten verses a day, a chapter, a “read through the Bible in a year” method, or some other strategy. If you’re not already reading regularly from Scripture, I recommend the Gospel of John as a good place to begin. (Part 3 of my book on prayer, Every Hour I Need Thee, includes a year-long Bible-reading plan.)
Three: Memorize Scripture.
The psalmist testified, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Pick a theme verse for your week such as Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Or find a promise or truth you need for a circumstance you are facing. I have found the Open Bible web resource to be very helpful in this regard.
Four: Ask the Spirit to bring the word of God to mind throughout your day.
Jesus assured us that the Holy Spirit would “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). Commenting on this promise, Pastor Rick Warren noted: “God speaks through the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit is your teacher and counselor. Some people spend thousands of dollars on a life coach. You’ve already got one!”
He added: “The Holy Spirit brings God’s truth to mind, but he relies on you to put God’s word in your mind. That’s why you need to get into the Bible. When you read, study, and fill your mind with God’s word, you are storing up truth inside of you—truth the Holy Spirit will bring to mind at just the right time.”
J. I. Packer called the Bible “God preaching.” Are you listening?
Image credit: ©Unsplash / Harold Mendoza
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