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Posts Tagged ‘Christians and politics’

We’re in a period right now in our country where everybody is thinking about the government.

Last week, the Supreme Court made a momentous decision about health care … and this Wednesday is Independence Day for Americans … and we all know about the election in November.

While journalists write their editorials and radio talk-show hosts offer analysis, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in political coverage that we throw our Christian faith out the window.

Regardless of your political affiliation, if you’re a follower of Jesus, I’d like to encourage you to think about the following four questions:

First, who do you worship and serve: Jesus Christ or an earthly candidate?

Jesus once asked His hearers in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Once a person comes to Jesus for salvation, Jesus isn’t just their Savior from sin … He also becomes the Lord/Director of their life.

By definition, a Christian is a person who loves and follows Jesus.  Jesus is first in the lives of His followers.

We sing to Him … and pray in His name … and worship Him with His people … and tell unbelievers about Him.

But at election time, it’s easy for Christians to lose their heads politically and give their allegiance to candidates who are not in line with Jesus’ values.

I trust very few politicians.  If we really knew what happens behind closed doors, we might not trust any of them.

This is why I become alarmed when I see professing Christians express more excitement about a political candidate than about their Savior.

No politician will ever bring the kingdom of God to earth … whether it’s called Camelot or a Shining City on a Hill.

Only Jesus will do that … and He won’t need the help of any earthly politician to pull that off.

Think about it.

Second, do you follow candidates based on biblical principles or partisanship?

There are various ways to assess candidates before we vote for them … but the most common way is to vote for candidates who represent our political party.

Millions of Americans will vote this way in November.  They won’t even pay attention to any ads, debates, or positions.

Just look for the candidates from your party on the ballot and make your mark next to their name.

But this approach should bother all of us who believe we should use the brain that God gave us.

During the primary season … when there were 9 candidates running for the Republican nomination … I took a little test online.  The test asked for my opinion on a variety of issues … and at the end, it told me which candidate best represented my positions.

I was shocked.

Too many people support a candidate who seems likeable … or is good-looking … or can speak well … but do you ever ask yourself:

How consistent with Scripture are their positions on the issues?

I’d rather support an unbeliever who holds biblical values than a believer who doesn’t.

How about you?

Third, how important is telling the truth to you?

If you’ve read this far, some of you aren’t going to like what I’m about to say … but I’m going to say it anyway.

Most politicians are liars … because they would rather win an election and/or defeat their opponents than tell the truth.

Politics is all about winning.

When he was still alive, Jesse Helms – long-time Senator from North Carolina – found himself in a tough political fight.  He ran some despicable ads attacking his opponent … and barely won the election.

The Republicans cheered.  Their man had prevailed!

But truth was the biggest casualty.

I’ve already seen political ads with distortions and exaggerations this political season … and they don’t work on me.  (I refuse to pay attention to them because they are designed to be manipulative.)  I hit “mute” or change the channel much of the time.

Jesus always told the truth to His followers.  He never, ever lied … even if it made Him unpopular.

Listen to the wisdom of 1 Peter 2:21-23:

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

Politics is full of sin, deceit, insults, retaliation, and threats.

The way of Jesus is the exact opposite.  Jesus was righteous, honest, compassionate, forgiving, and loving.

Act that way and you’ll lose an election … but build a kingdom that will outlast them all.

Finally, which kingdom do you want to spread and grow?

Christians are citizens of two kingdoms: heaven and earth.  Jesus told the Pharisees to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

But if the two kingdoms clash … and this is increasingly happening in our country … Jesus’ followers have to support His kingdom … even if that means disobeying the government.

In Acts 5:29, after being ordered by the Jewish Supreme Court not to speak anymore in Jesus’ name, Peter answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Acts 5:33 says about the Sanhedrin, “When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.”

My friends, believers all over the world are standing up to the kingdoms of men … and being imprisoned … or losing their lives.  Just yesterday, believers in Kenya were gunned down while they were worshiping the Lord at their church.

That could never happen here, could it?

Our religious freedoms are gradually being eroded in this country … and we have to be vigilant and make sure we’re not indirectly harming our spiritual brothers and sisters by supporting candidates whose policies strip back those freedoms.

Many churches have two flags in their worship center: an American flag, and a Christian flag.

Christian theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer used to ask, “If you have two flags, which flag is higher than the other?”

If it’s the American flag … as much as it means to many of us … then it’s possible we’ve identified our country with the kingdom of God.

If they’re both on the same level … then we’re trying to serve two kingdoms simultaneously … which can make one schizophrenic.

But if the Christian flag is higher … it means we endeavor to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

This political season, I’ll read about the candidates … and watch them be interviewed on TV … and listen to the opinions of pundits about their campaigns … and then vote in November.

But I refuse to let my politics influence my faith.  Instead, I make sure that my faith informs my politics.

Because I do not serve or worship Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or Ronald Reagan or JFK.

I trust that you don’t either … if you’re a follower of Jesus.

We serve and worship our King, Jesus Christ, and pray that His kingdom spreads.

King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and He shall reign forever and ever.

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

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