Red states. Blue states. Liberals. Conservatives. Socialists. Fascists.
All these names get thrown around this election year as the campaign season is upon us. Fresh off the impeachment trial of the president, it seems our politics just keep getting dirtier and dirtier, no matter what side you are on. There are family members who don’t speak to other members any longer because the current political climate has divided us so much.
I recently read an article that even asserted the evangelical community and evangelical leaders have traded the mandate of the gospel to seek and to save the lost for the gospel of “wealth, health and prosperity.” We have cast aside our spiritual fortunes for the sake of real fortunes.
After I had read the article, one minister friend had commented that ours is the heavenly kingdom, and we are not citizens only of this country or even this world.
James 1:20 says: “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’” When even his apostles wondered about a political revolt that would overthrow the Roman political system and establish the Jews back on the throne, Jesus said that was not the way of his kingdom.
This was a spiritual, not a physical kingdom. It is a dangerous notion that we should cast our fortunes with anyone who promises us peace and prosperity. That is not what the Christian is called to seek.
It is great if we live in a time of peace and prosperity, but that all comes from the hand of a gracious God, not because of who may or may not be in the White House. Changing hearts one person at a time is the way to change the direction of a city, a county or a country.
Peter in I Peter 2:11 says that we are to see ourselves as “strangers” and “aliens” while we live in this world. A stranger or an alien does not hinge all their hopes on a temporary world system.
Peter says, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”
We can and should be concerned about elections, and we can and should vote for the one who seems to have the things of God in their interests. But even after we have done that, there is no assurance they will rightly represent the Lord fully.
Our hope is to be built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and his righteousness. When we place that hope in a man, a party or a philosophy, we can make that an idol we place before God.
I find it alarming that people are so tribal and divided into these camps where they argue that one person is the way and that there is no other way to achieve good governing. This is the stuff from which cults spring up and that should never replace ones relationship with the living Lord.
Nor should such causes replace the great cause that our Lord has given us to seek and to save the lost. We don’t win souls by improving someone’s standard of living, but we do win them when we build relationships with them and do the hard, difficult work of evangelism that Jesus calls us to do.
The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that our fight is not against each other. He says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
When you and I fight and divide and create enemies over any issue, we are missing the mark. We are playing into the hand of the devil who seeks to kill, steal and destroy the witness of the Christian and the church any way he can.
And it seems like the devil is doing a good job for our fight. Paul says this fight is not against what is here and now but against the powers of darkness and the evil that is in men’s hearts naturally and the fire that stokes that nature.
Against that is the nature of the spirit, which is to live in every Christian. That nature is “...the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:22-26)
I see a lot of provoking going on from both sides of our political parties. That is not the righteousness that God intended for us to live by.
Ultimately the only election that counts for all eternity is your personal soul. 2 Peter 1:10 urges us, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.”
How do you make sure you are elected to eternal life? Repent of your sin, confess Christ before men, be immersed for the forgiveness of sins and live a life faithful to the Lord until death.
Our main purpose in life is not to make sure one person or the other rules in the White House but to make sure we are headed to our father’s house and take as many people with us as we can.
James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.