Sunday, May 02, 2010

I'm just asking...

So I've been pondering something for a while now... trying to figure out how to say what I want to say, knowing I will probably offend someone (or multiple someones)... but wanting to provoke discussion or reflection, without giving the impression of an attack. This morning I was debating whether to write this post or not- stalling on facebook as I often do- when I read the following as my brother-in-law's status: "Sadly, Christians tend to care more about political liberty than their spiritual freedom in Christ."

So here we go...

Where is your heart, your focus, your security? Is it your job? Your family? Your home? Your President? Your political party? Your country? Over the past decade it seems as though Christians are becoming increasingly political. I'm not against being involved in politics, active in voting, etc. I am, however, increasingly concerned by the degree to which Christians promote certain viewpoints or agendas as "right" or "Godly." I'm bothered by the fact that we are becoming known in our culture more for all the things we're AGAINST, instead of for all the things that Christ was FOR. I am beyond annoyed by the amount of "Christian" propaganda that gains momentum and manipulates people based on fear. If we tell you all the "evil" things that are in the works, or hype slippery slopes, etc. then people are suddenly up in arms ready for action.

Here's what I know:
We will NEVER be satisfied with our government, our leaders, etc. We won't. Doesn't matter who is in power... we won't. They are human, humans are flawed... we won't.

In addition...

2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control." --- and yet I hear people all the time getting worked up over political fears. I heard Christians bash Bush because of military decisions, the economy, and seeming incompetence. I hear other Christians bash Obama because of health care reform, bowing to leaders from other countries, and supposed pursuit of socialism. But I'm told that God does NOT give us a spirit of fear. That's a manipulation by people with an agenda, and when we get sucked into it, we risk our focus becoming something other than God. Our pursuit becomes FOR a certain political agenda and making our voice be heard, instead of a pursuit OF God and desire to hear HIS voice. We do this because we are scared. We do this because we have not yet put all our hope and security in God... we do not yet trust that "He's got our back" so to speak.

Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it." --- and yet I feel such a sense of entitlement coming from people I talk to. The way we view illegal aliens... taking "our" jobs and stressing out "our" systems. The way we treat the poor... using "our" tax dollars for their benefit when they haven't done anything to "deserve" it. Companies that send "our" jobs to other countries to save money. The idea that if I've worked hard enough for long enough, I am owed a retirement like I've envisioned and a successful career or business. I'm not saying there aren't issues in these areas that might benefit from some re-evaluation, but that's not my point. God never guarantees any of the above. The Bible does say, "my God will supply all of my needs" but I'm just not convinced that our idea of "needs" are the same as God's. We're not owed ANYTHING. We don't "deserve" any of what we earn any more than the people who are "lazy and manipulate the system." None of it is "ours." It never was. It never will be. The earth is the Lord's and ALL that is in it. Notice it also says, "those who live in it" are too. That includes the poor, illegal aliens, me and you (thank goodness!), AND politicians... just sayin'...

on that note:

Romans 13:1 "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."

Colossians 1:16 "For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him."

John 19:11 (speaking to Pilate) Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above..."

Daniel 4:17 "'The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.'"

Daniel 5:21 "He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone He wishes. "

So whether you hate how the latest election went down, or if you love it, know this... as a Christian, you must acknowledge the fact that the LORD is sovereign over the kingdoms of man (this includes the good ole' US of A) and HE gives them to whomever HE wishes. He has a plan for this season (whether you're excited by it or hate it) and He will do with it what He wishes.

And so I refer back to Josh's facebook status: "Sadly, Christians tend to care more about political liberty than their spiritual freedom in Christ." What are we more aggressively pursuing? Political liberties, or freedom in Christ? Our agenda for the US, or God's agenda for our individual lives? Making sure WE are taken care of (in regards to our businesses, finances, health, etc.) or taking care of the poor (an idea discussed more in the Bible than almost anything else). What do we talk about more- the stuff going on in Washington, or the stuff God is doing in our hearts? Are we operating from a place of fear about the future, or from a place of certainty- knowing Who it is who holds our future? And is that enough for us?

I'm just asking...


Jaime Mills said...

So timely, Amanda. We are going through Andy Stanley's "Twisted" in Sunday School & this Sunday's dvd hit on these things. Interesting to note that when Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome in Romans 13 that they were under a severely demented & vicious ruler...none other than Emperor Nero himself. That gives that verse fresh perspective for me. And to think that we, little meaningless we, think God can't handle the political state we have in the USA at any given time-He is in control & His plans and ways are so much higher than ours. The point Stanley was making is that we are so focused on the "what" of authority rather than the "Who". We get stuck on the rules & regulations & what we like and don't like about them and how we can tweak the system to get around the rules we don't want to follow without giving any thought whatsoever to WHO put the authority in place. It is a spiritual issue. Where is your heart focused? On the what, or the Who? So challenging. Thanks for taking the time to share your heart. -Jaime

Dawn said...