First, I believe that the Spirit of God intimately changes the hearts of men. The Spirit inspires men to act in certain fashions. For example, the Holy Spirit can move men's hearts to accomplish certain tasks.
As noted, I am still wrestling with all this, but I am coming to the conclusion that as Christians we MUST act if we have the resources to do so.
If I have a million dollars and see a financial need that I can meet, I am called to be generous and meet that need. Similarly, if I have some amount of liberty coupled with defensive resources and some financial capacity, I believe I am called upon to use my resources to repel evil and resist it's influence. In this manner, I am being “generous” with what God has entrusted me with by using it as a form of assistance to others by preserving liberty.
In Paul's day many (not all) of the Christians were very poor and had very little political power (under the thumb of Roman rule) and very, very little cultural influence at the time. Therefore, I believe Paul was telling them how to live with the resources that God had given to them at that time.
If we have a lot of resources (money, cultural influence, the ability to defend ourselves, etc.) then we have a general call to use all of our resources in a generous and sacrificial manner. So, for me, I don't think we are called to lay down in the street to be run over by a tyrannical government — especially if we have the means and resources to resist — as this represents a means of living generously and sacrificially for others.
We must always be kind and respectful, but evil is not from God. He may allow it via the free will of men, but it is not His desire and we CAN and MUST resist that evil. And evil includes those who would seek to enslave us by taking away our God-given liberties!
Thanks for a great post. I was blown away by its insightfulness.
Thank you both for your replies. It seems we all have much to think about these days. This is a time when we trust in the Lord, and keep our powder dry ... and that is not so much a contradiction as it may seem.