During this last election cycle, you’ve probably paid more attention to politics than you ever have before. For the first time, many Christians are finding themselves taking an active interest in what’s going on in our nation, politically. We read the papers with more interest; pay attention to the news with renewed zeal and pass on political emails to our entire list of contacts as soon as we can. We get into FaceBook arguments with friends and fellow Christians, and unfriend them if they don’t agree with us. A lot of Christians are more preoccupied with this world’s systems than they are in the Kingdom of God.
We all know we need to be salt and light in this world. We know that Christians should take advantage of our right to vote. But, on the other hand, if you’re like me, you might feel just a LITTLE uneasy with this new preoccupation with worldly politics that is gripping the churches.
You might not have realized it, but at the same time the Church is taking a new interest in politics, politicians are now taking a renewed interest in the church. The church and its leaders seem flattered and excited about it!
Then, there’s the whole issue of social issues and problems. Most of them involve PEOPLE. People whom Jesus gave His life for. What are we supposed to do? What has God called His people to do? Do we try to legislate people to the backside of the desert somewhere? (Where they’ll be lost) Or, do we reach them with the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we seek God for revival? Or, do we condemn entire groups of people? Do we seek the face of God for them?
That’s where the conflict comes in. The god of this world doesn’t want people to get saved. So, he gets God’s people preoccupied with straining at the gnats of legislation, voter organization, passing on emails filled with fake news, internet hoaxes and picketing and politicking, which are all ways to hinder us so that we won’t have time to seek God for these people’s souls!
The enemy of our souls (and theirs!) also knows that if we PRAY for these people and talk to them about their souls, they just might believe the Gospel and be saved. But, if we spend our time organizing political assaults against them, we can easily find ourselves mired in the politics of hate – while at the same time driving them farther and farther away from Jesus, who died to save them!
We are in midst of an incredible spiritual battle. The enemy doesn’t want us to love the lost, but instead, he wants us to hate them. He doesn’t want us to feel any responsibility for their salvation…he wants us to simply become preoccupied with our own way of life, so we can hate anyone who may threaten our comfortable lifestyles. That way, we’ll never minister to them.
One day, I was rebuked by a brother when I questioned his preoccupation with the politics of this world. He was so interested in shutting down other people. He said, (in the language of the spin master of the universe), “What’s the matter, Steve, are you afraid of appearing ‘politically incorrect?’
If there’s ONE thing I don’t care about is my own political correctness or lack of it. But it’s killing me, seeing my brothers and sisters being turned into political puppets by the god of this world.
When Jesus was asked about His disciples and their attitude towards the politics of this world, He answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, THEN would my servants fight…” Something stirs in my spirit every time I read these words. And, when I read my newsfeeds and watch the news, there is a part of me that just wants to “do something” about the world we live in. So, I pray. I pray for my leaders and those in authority.
I talk to men and women about their relationship with Jesus. Quite a few of them give their hearts and lives to Him. What I do doesn’t seem fast enough. Sure, I get impatient but I just wish I could do more and do it faster.
Early in Jesus’ ministry, satan had tried unsuccessfully to bring about Christ’s downfall by offering Him all the kingdoms of this world. Jesus spurned Satan’s offer flat out. Satan never again was foolish enough to try to get Jesus to use this world’s systems and methods to accomplish the Father’s work.
But, satan knows enough about the rest of the human race to know that WE have a built-in weakness for becoming more preoccupied with the kingdoms of this world than we are with the Kingdom of God. A weakness to want to wield power and influence in the halls of the politicians, even at the expense of personal prayer and our devotional lives before the throne of God.
Jesus didn’t spend even five minutes drafting legislation or organizing a protest. He simply spent Himself in showing them the circumstances of being lost and offering them eternal salvation. And, He DIED for them. He didn’t want their corrupt system at all…not even in a cleaned up, polished and polite form. He just wanted people to come to the Father and be saved.
Jesus saw that even at its best, this world and its systems are corrupt, condemned and decaying. And, somehow, each generation wants to turn from spiritual reform to legislative form. Jumping right in with this world’s brokers of power and influence, God’s spokesmen and women have clamored for positions of worldly recognition.
God tells His people to pray for their leaders and those in authority. We so readily criticize our leaders and those in authority. We forget that promotion cometh from the Lord and that the government is upon His shoulders. Elected officials do not direct the destiny of a nation. They never have. God Almighty in Heaven directs the affairs of the earth – He is sovereign.
Instead of using the God-given methods of prayer, intercession and evangelism, we’ve been suckered into trying to do God’s spiritual work by avoiding the spiritual and turning to carnal means. We’ve voted, picketed, chanted, sued and threatened. And still, revival hasn’t ONCE in history been brought about by such things. We’re guilty of going after Goliath with pea shooters. And we wonder why the God of Heaven hasn’t responded to our pressure groups and legislation.
And, like in every previous generation, the church is once again sidetracked and distracted from its primary job: prayer, evangelism, discipleship and worship. We focus on what the enemy is doing and minimize what God has done. We concentrate on the works of darkness and we are blinded to the Light. We try to control instead convert people to the Lord.
The world system that Jesus refused involvement in is now being hotly pursued by even His ministers and leaders, as though worldly power is a prize to be valued and admired. Even Pastors are charmed by every offer of worldly power, glory and influence. What Jesus coldly rejected without more than a sentence, multitudes of His ministers lust to get a chance to have an audience in.
We’d like to pretend that the founding Fathers of our country and the framers of the Constitution, were born again Bible loving Christians. We quote everyone from George Washington to Ben Franklin to Thomas Jefferson. We’ll exalt them as model Christians, the men and women from other generations whom we KNOW from history were not godly. It doesn’t seem to trouble us one bit to identify slave holders, adulterers and members of secret societies. We’ll call them born again servants of Jesus Christ. And then we challenge the world to follow our lead as we follow in the footsteps of these unregenerate politicians.
Who doesn’t remember from high school history class that Ben Franklin died of syphilis; or that Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder who fathered six illegitimate children by his black mistress – whom he possibly loved? Do we forget that Jefferson said that a Black American was only 3/5 of a person? Five Black votes under his system would equal three votes of white people. Do we think that the rest of the public forgets that the public school system was never intended for Black Americans? Do we know that it was a punishable crime to teach a Black American to read or write?
You might say, “But didn’t these men say some neat things about the Bible and God? Doesn’t that ‘prove’ they were born again Believers?” And I have an answer, “Yes they, or their speech writers DID say some things that sounded good…to the people whose VOTES they were after!” (Just like the current crop of politicians who are playing to an audience!)
Don’t many of us believe that it’s incompatible for a born again Believer to hold memberships in secret societies like the Masons? Yet a majority of the founding fathers were high ranking members of their Masonic temples. And we know it!! What could be wrong with us, that we openly hold up before the world’s people and say, “We want to have America return to the values that these men espoused?”
Yet, we unashamedly do this very thing. We don’t seem to let the whole truth trouble us, as long as there’s a chance that people will reward us with titles and recognition. The problem with dishonesty is that it’s contagious. It’s the reason we might present ourselves as being a bigger group than we really are. We’ll speak of our large constituency. Even though we KNOW we’re being less than honest.
We’re willing to fight a war to accomplish that which Jesus Christ Himself never felt was a pursuit worthy of His time or interest. It isn’t that what we’re fighting for doesn’t seem noble. At first glance, it DOES seem noble. And right. Plus, it IS challenging and offers more ego-gratification than does winning genuine victories by prayer and intercession. The sad thing is that we don’t see the hollowness of thinking that the world system can be made uncorrupted by legislative changes and restrictions on business.
We act as though Jesus needed someone in a high position to represent Him to the systems of the World – someone to whisper a reforming word into the ears of Pontius Pilate on Jesus’ behalf. We apparently doubt His ability to transform society by transforming individual lives; se we feel compelled to devote as much time as possible to learn the ins and outs of this world’s system, so we can sanctify what our Master expressed total disdain for.
The truth about our relationship to this world is this: we love it. So, we try to educate it, inject it with middle-class values and harness it for our own sense of power. We’re desperate for a sense of control and security in this world.
We want so badly to “Christianize” and make presentable the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. If we could just force hogs to live like sheep then we wouldn’t feel so much like they’re not sheep at all. We wouldn’t feel like our mandate from the Lord to go into all the world and preach the Gospel was being neglected. (And, we wouldn’t sense the need to represent ourselves as something other than what we really are: miserable, wretched, poor and blind.)
We pray for revival, and wonder why God doesn’t just pour it out on us. We’re forgetting that attempting to spiritualize something that is inherently opposed to spiritually, is an attempt that is doomed to fail. It’s repeatedly been attempted and has just as repeatedly failed demonstrably throughout the history of the church. Societal reform has never been a substitute for genuine Heaven-sent revival. God is still a jealous God. And it’s quite possible that He’s becoming more and more jealous as we grow more and more in touch with Washington’s way of doing things and more and more OUT of touch with Heaven’s ways.