“I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are One. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.” – John 17:22-23 (NLT)
Once upon a time, in the crumbling Empire of Rome, there lived a young philosopher whose name was Augustine. Augustine would grow up to become one of the Churches earliest theologians, but he didn’t start his life in a very Christ-like manner. Apparently, it is his mother who was the Christian in the family as his father would claim the Name above all names on his deathbed. Augustine wouldn’t make his conversion until he was 31. He would hear a childlike voice that would tell him to “take up and read” and when he did, he would land in the Book of Roman, chapter 13, verses 13-14…
“Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
He would then go on to write about his transformation in a book titled “Confessions” which would go on to become a classic in Christian theology, but that is not where this is going today.
In Augustine’s time, a branch of Germanic people known as the Visigoths began an all out assault against the Roman Empire. In 410 A.D, the Visigoths plunged into the very heart of the Empire and left Rome in ruins. Romans were left in a deep state of shock and many of them saw this as punishment for abandoning “The Gods” for Jesus Christ. Augustine, however, saw this an opportunity to be able to separate church from state. I feel his point was quite simple…keep your focus heavenward, never mind Christianity beginning the official religion of the Roman Empire and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Back then, many critics came forward and pointed to Christian bigotry (sound familiar?) as being “the crack” in The Empire. It undermined people’s freedom to practice whatever they wanted to practice in order to worship whatever they wanted to worship because Christianity had become the official state religion and that displeased “The Gods.” But in all honesty, with hindsight being 20/20, it was really immorality and corruption, not Christianity, that led to Rome’s collapse. Like it does with all empires…there are no expectations. If we look at the way the tapestry of America is beginning to fray, I think you’ll agree that we are in very dangerous waters ourselves. Yes?
Augustine wrote a book titled “The City of God” and in it, he discusses there being two cities we deal with. One of course is the city of God, where people focus on a pursuit of knowing God and living in His ways. Then there is the city of Man, where “itself is ruled by its lust to rule.” The people in the city of God willingly bow their knees to Jesus while the people in the city of Man are forced to theirs. My question for you today is, how do you see it happening around you and which city do you see yourself being a citizen of?
So as I close for today, I leave you with two parting thought’s. The first is from Augustine himself, “These two cities were made by two loves: the earthly city by the love of self unto the contempt of God, and the heavenly city by the love of God unto the contempt of self.” And now from me, “keep your focus heavenward, never mind Christianity beginning the ‘official religion’ of America and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “The city of God, a city on its knees, is a diverse city, stronger for the differences of its individual inhabitants, but united in its pursuit to establish God’s goodness upon the earth for all of humanity.” —- Toby Mac
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“But to You I have cried out, O Lord, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.” Psalm 88:13