May we not be known for the political party we vote for, but for the God we serve.
I’ve sat through my fair share of sermons about God and politics, and in the past, they tend to sound similar, and I expected the sermon to follow the same script. I was wrong, and I am happy to say that. I even made sure to tell Pastor Eli that after service. I had been praying before church, aware of my bias and assumptions, for me to hear the message, listen to it with open ears, and to not shut down if I hear something I don’t like or don’t agree with but be receptive. I can’t expect people to listen to me if I refuse to listen to them. For this message, I listened and was genuinely surprised.
"As a church, we do not stand for political parties. We stand for Biblical truths." ~ Pastor Eli Nelson
As Pastor Eli spoke the Lord reminded me of some key passages, specifically about His stance on government. In 1 Samuel chapter 8, God responds to Israel after they asked for a King, like the other nations had, and foreshadowed all the problems that come about looking to man to lead instead of God. Although we make idols of politicians and political parties, God is very clear in Isaiah 44:9-20 on how foolish it is to expect anyone or anything to save us or provide for us that isn’t God. And in every chapter of the Gospels, Jesus first listened, but also responded from a Kingdom perspective. People came to Him with clear ideas of how to “catch Him” because they thought the answers to their questions had only one answer, the answer from humanity’s perspective. We need to look at politics, and for that matter everything, from a Kingdom perspective, and it will change how we see everything.
At one point in the sermon, Pastor Eli mentioned how wrong it is to say, “If you’re a Christian, you have to vote for this. If you don’t vote for it, you’re not a Christian.” And I think that’s very important. Paul was clear - we are Christians through salvation in Christ and nothing can take that away. Paul goes on to write that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:37-39), not even how we vote, or who we vote for. What matters is the Bible leading us and the morality it forms in us.
Morality is defined by Scripture, therefore Scripture teaches us how to be political.
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Focusing on God’s heart for government has nothing to do with any political party, and the Church must stand for Biblical truths above everything else. Because if our hope is in politics, we will always be left disappointed. We must rejoice for who is on the throne, not who is in the White House. Taking our lead from Jesus, it is about being interested in Who is King, not who is president.
That’s not to say voting isn’t important. Go vote! Do your research on the candidates. Be guided by the moral values and Biblical beliefs and vote. But don’t let an election steal your peace by being over-invested in these systems.
In listening to the podcast, apply the following four “I will statements”:
- I will not get offended. – When we are offended, we block ourselves off from receiving from God.
- I will not exalt my political affiliations over my beliefs and Jesus. – Our hope must be in the Bible, not the ballot box.
- I will receive this message in the heart and spirit it is given.
- I will redirect all emails and phone calls to the church up the street. - A joke of course!
When it comes to voting, we must lay down all our flags to follow Christ, and allow that to impact how each one of us votes.
As a society, we tend to believe two major lies:
- “Faith doesn’t belong in the public square.” Our faith should not be limited to 90 minutes on a Sunday, but instead it must be a part of every aspect of our lives. Am I following religious duty, or do I have belief?
- “Only Christians are trying to impose our morality on the public.” No one is morally neutral. Everyone is led by their morality, and everyone wants that to be the deciding rule.
The truth is we cannot obtain utopia here on Earth, and we can’t solve anything without God. Believing so is an anti-Christ spirit.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Government needs to follow the same morality as the church, and that means voting for people who are true to who they say they are. Separation of Church and State is about keeping government out of church, but not keeping church out of government. Therefore, it matters how we vote. We are called to vote for what the Bible says, not who the person is. But that’s not a specific party. There is an issue with how the Church has bought into political parties and their politics. It causes us to play by the devil’s rules and we will always lose when that is the case. So many things have been made into political issues when they’re not, but that’s how the devil would make it.
We can get so grossly off track to the point of creating idols of our political parties. No leader is our god. I am not a political party that I may be affiliated with. I am a follower of Christ.
"Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Joshua 5:13-14a
God is for justice and morality - not any political party. And if I marry an idol of this age, I will be widowed in the next. Instead, I am called to take a side according to Kingdom principles. I can trust that God will be my provider when I stand for Him.
"He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." Daniel 2:21
It’s about trusting God and not letting the news control my thinking. I need my thinking to be focused on God, trusting Him, and praying for those He has placed in roles of leadership. We are so quick to criticize those in politics, but are we praying for them? We can’t criticize anyone we are not already praying for.
And although it’s tempting to criticize, no politician is going to solve all the problems. No matter what law they pass, or try to pass. Every law is great in theory, but people are fallible, which means no matter how perfect the idea is, it will never be everything it was meant to be. We need to check our hearts that they are affiliated with God and not a political party.
Who do I trust? The one thing that won’t fail us is God.
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