Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Responsibility and the Election

First, I love America! I think America is the greatest country on earth and I am so thankful to have been born here. Also, I respect President Obama. The Bible tells me to (1 Tim. 2:1-2; Rom. 13:1-2). I don't think he's an idiot or a moron or intentionally trying to destroy our country. I do not agree with his values and policies but he is probably sincere in what he is doing.  I hate to hear people say horrible things about our leader. The angels won't even speak badly of Satan (Jude 8-9). And our President is not Satan. 

So what am I as a Christian to do when I do not support the values of our government? (And I do not agree with the values of our policymakers!) The same thing I am called to do when I do support the values of our government. Give my life to serve God. Politically and socially I have done all I can. I voted. But that is not all I can do for our country. That is not even the most important thing I can do for my country. 

A righteous government is no guarantee that God's people will serve Him. The right government cannot make people serve God. And there is no guarantee that a government will always lead correctly.  God's chosen people rebelled against Him over and over in a theocracy! Read the book of Judges. They were directly ruled by God and still chose to sin. The moral decline of their nation was just as bad as, if not worse than, ours. They went on to be ruled by a king who at one time was the wisest man on earth. And under his rule they built places to worship a god that demanded the sacrifice of infants (1 Kings 11:7, Lev. 18:21). On the other hand, God's people have served Him effectively under some hostile governments. Paul served under the Roman emperors. They persecuted Christians. They came to watch animals tear them to pieces for sport; Nero used them as torches in his gardens.  Christians evangelized most, if not all, of the known world of that time. Daniel had an amazing testimony under the rule of heathen kings. He was in a foreign land serving as a slave (because God was judging his nation for their sin) and he rose to a position of power by living by God's rules. (Daniel 1:9, 17-20; 6:3) When he was told he couldn't pray, he didn't go picket. He quietly continued doing what he had been doing for years: serving God. And the king recognized Daniel's God as the true God after Daniel survived the lion's den (Daniel 6:25-28). Esther made an amazing difference for her people also in a foreign land under a heathen king. Joseph was used greatly by God under a  heathen government because he lived by Biblical principles (Gen.39:3-4, 23; Gen. 41:38-41). 

I am not advocating using our beliefs as an opportunity to be jerks. That doesn't work. (Our pastor has preached several sermons regarding this. See here and here). We should be well liked, not because of our beliefs, but because of who we are. We love. We help others. We care. We're kind, courteous, helpful, forgiving, caring. Loving others is intricately linked to loving God and obeying God. (1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:2-3)

I do not blame President Obama for where our country is today. I don't blame President Bush or President Clinton or President Reagan or any other President we've had. I blame every Christian who got up one morning and chose not to serve God that day. Who chose not to go to church. Who chose not to tell others about Jesus. Who chose not to train their children in the Bible. Who chose not to protect life. Who chose to walk away from God's will because they wanted to impress someone or do something more "exciting." Who chose to stand in condemnation of sin and not love the sinner also (John 8:1-11). I blame me. I blame me for the opportunities I've had to tell others about Jesus  and didn't. I blame me for caring more about what people think than what Jesus thinks. I blame me for not doing good when I saw the chance to do it (James 4:17). I blame me for not putting feet to my faith and helping others (James 2: 14-17).  Let's put the responsibility where it belongs. 

God's people are entirely too comfortably to step out and serve Him. We are to comfortable sitting on our rears in a pew to get up and serve at church.  We are too comfortable on our couches to go tell people about Jesus or disciple others so that the Bible can transform their lives. We are too comfortable in bed to get up to pray and read the Bible. We are too comfortable fitting in to live differently. It's uncomfortable to be different. To dress different. To have different values. To talk different. To have different marriage and child-rearing concepts. It's uncomfortable to tell others about Jesus. Maybe if we were used to being uncomfortable we would be more willing to do those things. God never promised comfort. He never promised us the chance to live in a nation that served Him. He did promise to go with us (Heb. 13:5). He did call us to follow Him (Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23). Jesus called us to leave all (Luke 14:26). He called us to be peculiar (1 Pet. 2:9).

So what am I going to do for my beloved country? I am going to redouble my efforts to serve God. I am going to grow in my own relationship with Him. I am going to teach my children the Bible and how to work. I am going to tell more people about Jesus. I am going to help send the Gospel around the world. I am going to reach out to those that I can personally help. 

The greatest hindrance to our nation is not our President. It is not the values that our country holds. It is easy to blame things we can't change. But the problem is us. It's the Christians. The Christians who claim Christ and live just like the world. The Christians who are hateful and standing on platforms besides Jesus. The Christians who are too comfortable in their own lives to serve God practically. 

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