Monday, July 19, 2010

The one about politics

OK, so this one is going to be a little about politics. You've been warned. If you don't want to read it I'll harbor no ill feelings; scroll down and find the Punky Brewster pic-you'll like that one, I'm sure. Last chance to go...still there? OK, I'm officially climbing on my soapbox now.

Psalm 20:7 says, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Great, great verse of scripture. It draws a beautiful comparison, doesn't it? "There are those", says the Psalmist, "who hold to temporal things. These temporal things have the appearance of power, and compared to you and I they are powerful indeed. But compared to the Lord our God they are weak and impotent. And so rather than trust in these things that have only the shadow of power, our trust is in the One who is eternally powerful, Who is eternally good and will eternally save us." You could preach for weeks on that, right? But what I've noticed is that many of us Christians say we believe that verse, but our hope is actually in something else-namely, politics; specifically, our government.

Now depending on which side of the political aisle you sit you probably think that either we've got the brightest, most intelligent, articulate President in recent memory (if not in history), or we're headed to Hell in a communist basket that's being carried by Nazis and Fascists. Unfortunately, neither are true. Our President can give the heck out of a speech-but that doesn't make him a genius. And I disagree with many of his policies-but that doesn't make him the next Hitler. "What does any of this have to do with Psalm 20:7", you might ask. Here's the answer; I'm afraid that our passion for politics betrays our misplaced trust. Many of us have placed our trust in our government, in the political system of our nation. Nothing gets our dander up quite like politics. And there's nothing wrong with that, per se. But if our trust is really in the Lord, why so much fear and anxiety? I'm not being flip, and I'm certainly not suggesting that we don't stay in contact with our representatives and Senators, or that we somehow remove ourselves from the public square. What I am suggesting is that none of that really matters so much.

Before you get all huffy, consider the words of Jesus. Matthew 6:25, " “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" Read that one more time, a little more slowly. I'll wait. Consider what Jesus is saying. We are told by Jesus, commanded by Jesus to not concern ourselves with food, drink, or clothing. But you want me to believe that I'm supposed to be worried about who sits in the Oval Office, or get all worked up over what laws Congress passes? Again, not saying we shouldn't vote our conscience, or that we shouldn't care about it-but we care as though we didn't care. Let me explain.

In I Cor. 7, Paul is encouraging the church to have an eternal, rather than a temporal focus. And he says that those who have wives should be as though they didn't have wives; those who weep as though they didn't weep, and those who rejoice as though they didn't rejoice. And his point is that our passion shouldn't be for the temporal-it should be for the eternal. An illustration might help-I love my wife. I'm nuts about her. Seriously, it's borderline disgusting how crazy I am about my wife. If my high school self could meet my present day self, high school Randy would mock old, married Randy (but old married Randy would go home to a lovely lady so who's laughing now, chief?). But as much as I love my wife, I love my Lord even more. And my greatest passion, my greatest satisfaction is not found in my wife; it's found in King Jesus. The gift of my wife doesn't remove my passion for my Lord; it reminds me of His goodness towards me, that He has given me such a priceless treasure. And so while I love her, and I'm crazy about her-my passion remains with King Jesus. In the very same way, I love my country. I'm so glad I'm an American, I'm so grateful for this land. But my highest passion isn't found in who sits in the Oval Office or what laws are passed. My highest passion is found in King Jesus; in knowing Him, serving Him, and fellowshipping with Him. And so while I'll make my voice heard, while I'll vote-I'll do so with my eyes on eternity, not on temporal things like governments and nations.

"Some trust in chariots and horses-we trust in the Lord", said the Psalmist. Is our trust in the Lord, or in our government? You might say, "Well I trust in the Lord, but I think we're supposed to stand up for what's right." I agree. But show me in the New Testament where the early church was commanded to act like the church in America does. Change is not supposed to come from the White House, it's supposed to come from the church house. Congress can't change unregenerate hearts. A government can't look at those who are spiritually dead and say, "Live!" Only Christ can do that. And for many of us, we have taken the mission of the church and given it to the government. And so we've transferred our trust from the One who is trustworthy to something that is temporal.

Now I'm sure that many will disagree with this, and that's OK. I don't mind you disagreeing with me if you don't mind being wrong :) But in my experience, this has been the case. If I make a post on Facebook about the Lord, or about the lost I'll get a few "likes", maybe a comment or two. But if I make a political comment, my page becomes a message board. Hasn't that been the case in your own life? Ask your fellow Christians about missions or the lost and you'll get a couple grunts. Ask them about politics and the fight is on. If we're so passionate about it, that must mean that we've transferred our trust to it. But our trust must be in the Lord.

Again, doesn't mean we remove ourselves from the political discussion. The Psalmist wasn't saying that he opposed the use of chariots or horses. His point was that his trust wasn't in these temporal things; apart from the Lord, it was useless. And so it is with us. Apart from a trust in the Lord Jesus, all our marching, and sign holding, and slogan chanting and all that is useless. Make your voice heard-but don't put your trust in temporal things. Let others trust in a government, or in an Office; we'll trust in the Lord.

Father, thank You for sovereignly ruling all things. Thank You for holding the hearts of leaders in Your hand, and for turning them wherever You please. Help us to put our trust in You, not in temporal things like governments and politicians. Help us to guard our passions, and to not care too deeply about politics. Help us to find our greatest passion, and our greatest satisfaction, in You and You alone. Amen.

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