Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Presidential election and Christianity? How do they fit?

Hello everyone.  As I watch the Presidential election coverage and all of it's ups and downs and watched as Facebook is inundated with opinions I have become keenly aware of something.  When it comes to politics in general, but especially the Presidential election, quite often you can't tell the difference between Christians and the rest of the world.  This is a problem.

We as Christians live in this world.  We function in this world.  But we are not supposed to think entirely as if we are of this world.  As Christians we are of the Kingdom of God. We are joint heirs with Christ in this Kingdom. We have a King who cares for the people of his kingdom as a Father cares for his children.  And yet we allow the political cares of this world to impact us in such a way that we live in fear rather than faith.
I heard Mrs. Romney say in an interview that many people she speaks with are frightened in our current economic state and are looking for certainty from the Presidential candidates.  With all due respect.  These candidates are not the answers we need.  Jesus is the answer we need.
We depend on our jobs, investments, insurance, retirement, government subsidies and the political leaders that appear to influence these things to the point that we forget who our source is.

Matthew 6:22-34 is a whole passage about worrying and why we shouldn't do it.  The crux of this whole passage that pretty much sums it up is Matthew 6:23-24 in which Jesus says, "But seek first the kingdom of  God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough  trouble of its' own".

This fear drives us to sin in multiple ways.  As I mentioned above, our mere lack of faith and belief that God is able to take care of us no matter what the world might say is sinful.  The idea that we are able to accomplish anything that will please God without including God in the equation is sinful.  It is sinful because to try to accomplish anything in this life while leaving God out of it defies his commands. Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord build the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guard stands watch in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay late, toiling for food to eat...for He grants sleep to those He loves". It is impossible to truly succeed in life without God as the author of your success.

This fear also drives us to react and speak before thinking.  It causes us to judge politicians for things that we ourselves are guilty of.  It causes us to speak slander, say ugly unproductive things, and sometimes even hate.     May I remind you that hate is the same as murder in the eyes of God(1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:21-22).  These are all sinful actions that do not glorify God.  Are our leaders held to a higher standard as public figures?  Certainly.  However, what we forget is that as "Christians" we are also.  Except the standard we are held to is not man's standard, IT IS GOD's.  Never should we be allowing others to cause us to forget who we serve and how he would have us treat others.(Mark 12:29-31)  How are others supposed to see Jesus in us if all we are showing them is the devil?

What does the bible say about how we should handle our leaders.  1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone....for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth".

We cannot be a light to the world if all we do is focus on and talk about the darkness.  We must proclaim the hope that can be found through Christ Jesus in every circumstance that his name may be glorified.  We need to be aware of this responsibility not only in the public arena, but also in our homes.  There we are most comfortable.  There we are most likely to say things that are not glorifying to God.  There we misrepresent the truth of the Gospel to our wives and children.  These are our most precious gift on this earth and our first ministry priority.  These are the ones whom we most directly effect.

Romans 13:1 says, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves".

This brings me to my next point.  GOD IS IN CONTROL!  Nothing has happened nor will ever happen that he has not been ordained by God.  He foreknew it all.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God was not surprised.  When Job lost everything it only happened because God allowed it.  Like Job, when Hitler instigated the Holocaust, it only happened because God allowed it.  God put Pontius Pilate in place knowing full well that he would assist in Jesus' crucifixion.  He put Nero in place knowing he would persecute and martyr many Christians.  It is one of the great curiosities of Christianity.  Man is responsible for their actions and still God is sovereign over it all.  He is always in Control.  As Romans 13 says, He put every authority in place.  He established it.  With that in mind, if we begin talking badly about people in politics, for better or for worse, we are in effect trashing the plan of God.  Remember, many bad things must take place before Jesus comes to reign on the earth and certain people must be in place in order for that to happen.

In Matthew 5:44-48, Jesus says, "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect,  therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect".

Jesus calls us to rise above fear, hatred, and shame and set an example.  He calls us to follow him.  He calls us to represent Him.   He calls us to trust Him. While we will never attain perfection until we get to heaven, Jesus commands that to be the aspiration of our hearts.. He has enabled us by his Spirit to pursue this and we must obey. He will hold us accountable.
 1 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity(fear,KJV), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline(sound mind, KJV)".
Philippians 2:12-13 says, "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose".
Colossians 1:28-29 says, "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all HIS energy which so powerfully works in me".
Philippians 1:27 says, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ".
2 Peter 1:3 stated, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness".

You might be thinking.  Gee whiz Josh.  Why so much scripture.  You could have made your point with a lot less.  I gave so much scripture because I want us to see that on this topic as with anything else in our Christian walk that WE ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE!

In third world countries where people must sacrifice everything to follow Christ, everything in those Christians' lives revolves around God, as it should.  He is central and they don't have time to sit around trashing their leaders because they are to busy prayerfully showing gratitude to God, studying the word so as to be equipped, and sharing the Gospel with everyone they come across.  Here in America, we try to make God revolve around everything else.  This has to stop.  God's desire has been and always will be, to be central.  He is the reason we draw breath and yet we give Him our sloppy seconds when it comes to how we live our lives.  This is unacceptable.

Why don't we try putting God first, trusting Him with EVERYTHING, making God our partner in every decision?  Then we would see how eternally inconsequential are all the things that we call important in this world.  We would find that we were loving everyone and praying for everyone, whether we agreed with them or not.  We would find that we are most interested in their salvation because we would have the heart of God.

That is how ALL politics, including this election, and Christianity fit together.  I pray the Holy Spirit moves in your heart in a new way, removing old things, and making all things new.  I pray that we as a worldwide church body will continue to glorify Christ, exalting Him above everything else in our lives.

In Jesus name.  Amen

Love in Christ,


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