This post series is based on Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals by Trevin Wax. I’m covering the seven modern-day “Caesars” that Wax identifies as allegiance thieves. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to get your bearings and learn about the first five Caesars, then come on back for discussion on the last two.
The Caesar of Power
Power used properly is a blessing from God—God ordains structures of authority in our world. But power used improperly is insidious—among other things, it takes advantage of the weak and ruins relationship. Wax offers these suggestions for subverting the Caesar of power:
Be quick to share power with others | Be ready to learn from the least among us | Exhibit openness in areas where power can corrupt | Choose to limit your own power for the good of others | Use power to love others through suffering, service, and sacrifice
The Caesar of Evangelism
In our attempts to proclaim the Gospel in a culturally relevant way, we have packaged it as a product with benefits: forgiveness, assurance of heaven, emotional health, community within the church, etc. We fail to tell people that Jesus said any who come after Him will need to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him. Wax suggests that a reorientation of belief based on biblical truth would alter how we tell others the Gospel. Here are some suggestions for subverting the Caesar of evangelism:
Proclaim Jesus as the one and only Lord and Savior | Call people to allegiance to Jesus in all of life (not just in spiritual matters) | Trump the weakness of tolerance with the power of love | Live within a vibrant community of faith that displays the lordship of Jesus
Reflection and Application
Here’s what I wrote in my journal about these two sections:
God instituted authority for His glory, it’s not to be twisted for my personal profit; I must gravitate to the lowly in this world . . . and look for ways to say no to self-importance.
Evangelism is meant to honor God; it is not a task by which to measure our personal success. We proclaim Him because He is true, not [because He is a product to own and use] . . . He is Lord over all of life.
Of all that I have learned from this book by Trevin Wax, the overarching theme is this: Jesus is Lord and He alone is worthy of my allegiance. Living in allegiance to Christ will alter every aspect of my life, pulling it in line with truth. That’s the only way to destroy these modern-day Caesars.
Finally, I want to stress the joy that comes when these substitute Caesars are cast aside. These false gods ensnare our hearts and minds, over-promising and under-delivering. God calls for our allegiance because in living for Him and in yielding to Him there is freedom from the base things of life. Yes, following hard after Jesus will be costly. But there is no other way so full of purpose and wonder and value than to live for magnifying His beauty and love and goodness found in knowing Christ Jesus our Lord.