Which Kingdom, Again?
Because the issues surrounding it have created such a wide divide, I wasn’t sure if I was going to blog on this topic at all. I wasn’t sure what to say. I have been watching the back and forth amongst my fellow believers in Christ and my heart is heavy.
Trump voters accusing Biden voters of not being true followers of Christ. “They are ignorant socialists without any biblical compass.”
Biden voters accusing Trump voters of being racists or sellouts. “They are ignorant hypocrites, loving their pockets more than people.”
Christian Trump voters asserting God hates abortion and He does. Christian Biden voters asserting God loves justice and it is the moral standard by which He judges a nation and it is. Both camps loudly, even viciously, claiming exclusive correctness when it comes to their position. People claiming the name of Jesus showing up at polls armed with guns, plotting the kidnapping of government officials, unfriending people, haughtily declaring “God is with us, not you!” There is great celebrating in the enemy’s camp!
With the election one day away, I felt compelled to speak. However, I did not want to use my own words to appeal to Christians. Instead, I’d like to share Papa’s words. Straight from the Bible. His word is more than black ink on a page. It is alive, powerful, and active. His word is sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit. His word alone rightly judges the thoughts, attitudes, and motivations of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
No matter who you are supporting in the upcoming election, I invite you to consider a few thoughts from the perspective of the Word of God:
Worldly Customs or God’s Word?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2
Here we have both an active and passive position. The Lord instructs us to actively reject the behavior and customs of this world. When we surrendered the lordship of our lives to Jesus Christ, we did more than receive a “get out of hell, free” pass. We made a commitment to adopt His ways for our own. His thoughts for our own. We actively reject the world then God does the work of renewing our minds. Only then, AFTER rejecting the world’s pattern of behavior, and God renewing our minds by His word, are we able to test and approve God’s will. The world fights. The world berates and judges. The world holds onto offense and acts on grudges. If we’re using worldly methods to prove a supposed Godly position, who’s really at work in our lives?
Your Court or Heaven’s?
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind… You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up
your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. – Romans 14:5, 10-13, 22
Believe it or not, a person’s political preference is between them and the Lord. We have no court in which a person must stand and give an account of their lives. Only God is the true and righteous judge. Only He sees the heart. Our heavenly mandate to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ is not policing. Let’s stop making public polemic out of private political preference.
Right or Effective?
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. ~ Romans 15:1-2
If you truly believe your brother’s or sister’s salvation is in jeopardy because of the way they vote, is it reflecting God's love to pridefully call their salvation into question? Are you being Christ-like in your reaction to his or her different perspective? Are you being an effective witness for Christ or are you just right? If you view yourself as the strong one in this circumstance, the Bible instructs you to be patient with the failings and weaknesses of your Christian family. The responsibility of the stronger brother or sister in Christ is to build up not tear down.
Accept or Discard?
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. ~ Romans 15:5-7
There are a few things in this section of scripture I’d like to highlight. First, is the use of the word ‘One’. This is not the word ‘Same.’ One here is used to signify unity, not sameness. The Body of Christ is a diverse family with varying traditions, ethnicities, abilities, and more, united around our common worship of the One True God. Our unity does not nullify our diversity. I don’t stop being an African-American woman because I am a follower of Christ. But my being a follower of Christ informs how I live as an African-American woman. Second, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul prays that we have the same attitude of the heart Christ Jesus had; an attitude of humility, obedience, and service. (Philippians 2:5-11) This is a consistent theme in scripture; that we take on the same mindset of Christ with God and each other. Third, Paul reminds the Romans, and us, that God accepted us when we were ungodly enemies of His, weak in our sins. Christ did not accept our sin, He accepted us while we were sinners. He cleansed us from and broke the power of sin in our lives. But, we didn’t come to Him already in right-standing with Him. The Bible tells us to accept one another in the same fashion.
Ambassador or Citizen?
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, ~ Colossians 1:13
The Bible calls us ‘Ambassadors for Christ’. We are emissaries sent from a foreign Kingdom to make an appeal to the world on behalf of the King. (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are on temporary assignment, and very soon will be called Home. Politics has caused us to fight over a “kingdom” in which we are no longer citizens. Presumably, a change of citizenry means a change of allegiance. We have no devotion to any other system equal to or higher than our devotion to the Kingdom of God. Our new citizenship and allegiance are based on nothing other than Jesus’ finished work on the cross and our faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, and hope in the resurrection. When we elevate political party affiliation to the same status as faith in Christ, we have made the word of God of none effect through our tradition (Mark 7:13).
Known By This or That?
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. ~ John 13:35
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. ~ Romans 12:9-10
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[a] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?~ 1 John 4:20
There is only one characteristic which affirms our status as followers of Christ and it’s not
political party affiliation. It’s love. Agape. Biblical love is not feelings of affection. It’s choosing, often accompanied by emotion, but still a choice. Choosing to seek the good of others by being patient, kind, unenvious, humble, thoughtful, honoring, giving, forgiving, temperate, protecting, trusting, hopeful, enduring. Can we say, in this election season, the bickering and vitriol amongst believers has demonstrated God’s love? By our actions, have we armed the world with (false) accusation against our King?
When the dust has settled, and the new president elected, what do you want to be said of your behavior during this season? What do you want recorded on your behalf in the annals of Heaven? That in a time of great darkness you were a light shining like a city set on a hill? Or, that you acted like one who did not know God, nor the things of God?
My prayer is that we will remember Whose we are, and we live like one who knows this world is not our home as we confidently look forward to the city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Your comments and prayers are greatly appreciated.