It is often the case that what we believe in our heads goes untested in our lives.
For example, I've heard that when running from an alligator you should do a lot of zigging and zagging because alligators aren't agile enough to turn quickly. I have no reason to disbelieve this, but thankfully, I haven't had to try it out. I hope I never do.
Here's something else I believe: Marriage is, by definition, a union between one man and one woman. My whole life, I've taken this conviction for granted. With Christians around the world, I believe that marriage was instituted by God as a reflection of the relationship between Christ and his Church, and that we have the sacred task of pointing to him through it. But, personally, I have yet to come face-to-face with an alligator challenging this belief.
It may not be long before I do.
If so-called same-sex marriage used to be a theory we once rejected, it is now becoming a practice we must confront, or maybe better put, a practice confronting us. Even now, many believers are being forced to make tough decisions. Here's an appeal for prayer from a county probate judge in Alabama. Starting Monday, by virtue of a federal court order, signing gay marriage certificates will be part of his official duties as judge:
To my dear precious family: It is not my intention to burden you with my problems but the fact is…. I am in need of your prayers, your reasoning and judgment, your professional skills and again, your prayers. In the years of serving as probate judge I have never been as troubled as I now am. I, thank God, have been a believer and Christian much longer than I have served as a judge. I am ashamed that I haven't done more to serve God and I pray for His forgiveness. As a believer I have come to understand that our God is holy and His Word is supreme. I believe the Bible and have deeply held Christian convictions that I have tried to live up to and to teach to you. Now, not by choice, I find that my life long convictions are about to be trampled and cast aside in favor of an ungodly and worldly concept of marriage. It seems that I am being asked to choose whether to cling to what I know to be God's truth or to ignore my convictions. I am not able to resolve this conflict. Who's law, who's word, who's edicts do I obey, God or man? The issue of same sex marriage is not coming. It is here now. Come Monday morning I will be expected to become an active participant in what I know is wrong. I am expected to lay aside my personal spiritual beliefs. Seems to me that if I do this, I am casting aside my convictions. I am not sure that I am willing to do this. This is my dilemma, stay true to my beliefs, or cast aside my beliefs. In my way of thinking I have a choice…please God or please man. Please pray that God will guide me. I NEED YOU TO PRAY.
If, like me, you aren't yet being put to the test, now is not the time to coast. Now is the time to know what you believe and learn how to articulate it. Now is the time to make decisions and resolve to stand firm. Now is the time to determine just how far you'll be willing to go to follow Christ in a hostile culture.
And now is the time to pray. For this county probate judge and others like him, for public officials feeling pressure and unsure of what to do, for Christians everywhere with gay friends who want to marry their partner, for our leaders, for the lost, for the church, and for ourselves.
May God grant us wisdom, grace, boldness, courage, and compassion as we seek to be faithful and live counterculturally.
David Platt speaks to same-sex marriage, religious liberty, and other current issues in his new book, Counter Culture. For more information, go to CounterCultureBook.com.