100% American and 100% Christian: Can it be done?

I am finding myself in an increasingly difficult position. I have discovered that I am incredibly passionate about politics. If I were this passionate for what Christ has called me to, what would happen? So I face this question: do I continue in the path of political activism or do I focus my passions towards the church? I, of course, cannot do both. Of course the ‘Sunday School’ answer would be to focus my energies on the church. But to me it is not that easy. I constantly find myself faced with this question: Can I be both 100% devoted to America and 100% devoted to Christ? Are these two even compatible?

I love the country that I was born in. I fully realize that I have freedoms that others will never have. I am incredibly thankful for the sacrifice others have made that have allowed me to keep this freedom. However, I am saddened by the state the my Government is in. I am fearful of the path that the government seems to be heading. I feel that as an American citizen I have an obligation to keep my government in check, since this is the freedom afforded me. So political activism seems a natural option to me. And for many months, this is exactly what I have done.

Yet, tonight I was struck with an interesting thought. For starters, I know what the Bible promises: God will take care of us, God is with us, etc. This I am sure of. Yet, when the government takes the course it seems bent on taking, I grow fearful and feel as if the circumstance is indeed beyond God’s control, but at the same time I know it isn’t. (Trust me, this is as difficult to process for me as it probably is for you to understand)

At the same time, I feel a deep obligation to focus my energies on the church. The church, in my eyes, is way off course and does not adequately serve as the church was designed to. I feel a great burden when I hear/watch/see teachers who consistently misuse scripture or promote a false Gospel. This to me is my calling: to expel these false teachings from the church and help bring the church back to her true calling.

 As I sat in Bible study, I began thinking of this subject again. (Trust me, it has been on my mind increasingly in recent days) I thought of the example of Paul and Peter and how we never see them in the public square opposing the government over them. Even when this government was responsible for killing hundreds of their brothers and sisters in Christ. And if you look, God used the platform of Government persecution to increase the effectiveness of the Gospel.(1 Peter 3:17; Matthew 10:19) Is there a better place to stand for Christ and spread the word than the courtroom where all ears will be yours? As Jesus said: Render to Ceasar what is his, and to God what is Gods (Matt. 22:21). Christians are not called to revolt against their government.

As I have thought about this and really tried to search out the Lord’s will, this is the conclusion I have now come to. It is not possible to be both 100% devoted to America and 100% devoted to Christ. The government is run by fallen men, and we cannot stop the innevitable decline of man and the return of Christ. For me, this means that a political route is in a way, a dead end. There will only be so far you can go because in the big scheme of things, governments will not last. However, I do not think it wrong for an individual to engage in politics for the sake of being a strong Christian leader. And I think this is a noble thing to persue since Christian leaders are exactly what this country needs.

Let me explain. The ultimate goal and call of the church is to bring people to Christ by being a light to the world. We are “Fishers of Men” afterall, and this means that in whatever we do, this must be our goal. Whether it is through theatre, music, movies, writing, teaching, preaching, or even politics. This means that wherever we are, the light of Christ must shine. So if the way for an individual to be the most effective for Christ is to be in the political arena, more power to them. But their alignment must first be to Christ. For me, politics is not my calling. For me, I must revert back to the example in Paul and Peter. Even when the government they were under sought to kill them, they did their civic duty and focused on the work they were called to. This meant that when push came to shove, Christ was above their civic obligation. (For me civic duties = voting and paying taxes)

For me, I can no longer waste my energies on politics. My energies must be focused where I have been called: the church. Despite what this government may due, I must press forward in being the citizen I should be, but ultimately aligning myself with Christ, even if it means what it meant for Paul, Peter, and countless others. In this, I will both honor and bring glory to God (1 Peter 3:13-17).

As I see it, I have wasted too much time worrying about what the government is doing, debating those of opposite views, and in a way rebelling aginst those God has placed in authority above me. What do I have to fear of the government anyway? (Matthew 10:28) Sure times may get tough, living may be hard, but when I look at those who have gone on before me and see their example of trusting God with everything, including their lives, what do I have to worry about?

Through all of this I have determined that I have wasted too much precious time on things that ultimately do not matter. All at the cost of not doing what I have been called to do. It is time for me to refocus and get to working. If the world kills me simply because I am doing what Christ has called me to do, well, that just places me at Jesus’ feet one day sooner.

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Brief Thoughts on Christian Ethics

Could it be that we, as Christians, are focusing in the wrong place? It seems we are constantly trying to prevent something or move the Congress to do something or even take part in great humanitarian efforts (NOT THAT THAT IS WRONG, THAT IS OUR DUTY AS CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY). Often times, though, these are done without the Gospel. Great if you want to help change the mind of a pregnant teen from abortion to adoption. But where is the Gospel?

Great if you want to help feed the hungry in Africa, but where is the Gospel?I have heard too many so called Christian organizations that give their mission and at the same time inform you that the Gospel is not part of their program.Isn’t that the Great Commission though? To carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are not commanded to make this world fit to God’s standards, but only to reach the lost and live the life we are commanded to live. We fight a futile fight if we try to convince the world of the Christian Standard and Morals. They will never except it because they are inherently against God in al their ways. They consider the things of God foolishness.

So could it be that we have this Ethic/Morals thing backwards? Could it be that once we start to take our faith seriously and start to fulfill the Great Commission that some of these issues will begin to be resolved? There are far too many Christians who speak out against a great moral situation but in their own personal lives they are no different than the world. Do they think the world does not see it? Believe me, they do and when they do, they will automatically discount you and your message.

Dear friend, do not let this be said of you. We should focus on our personal life and our walk with the Lord BEFORE we worry about what we can change in the world. When we transition our beliefs into convictions and start to live the life that we profess, the world will soon follow because we will be so different that we cannot be ignored. So lets fix our own lives before we try to fix lives of others. We can only lead as far as we have been.

Attitude Check

Ecclesiastes 5:1
“Guard your step when you go the house of God. Better to draw near in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they are ignorant and do wrong.”

One problem I see in today’s church is the attitude. We have this attitude of a Museum instead of a Hospital. We come to church and put on a show to make people believe that we are really ok. Why? Why do we think that we have to come and hold a perfect image for people? Why are we afraid of what people think? Shouldn’t our want and need to be healed overpower those thoughts? Unfortunately, most of the time it doesn’t. We put up walls around our weakness afraid that if anybody finds out, they will change their opinion of us and that we will not longer have a good standing within the church. This kind of thinking is dangerous and wrong.

Here we are told to guard our steps as we go to the house of our God. It is better to draw near in obedience than to offer a sacrifice as fools. God sent His Son to die for you so that you could come to Him and be forgiven, washed clean and renewed. We are not made to hold all of our hurt and stress in. Our body was not made for that. Gee, I wonder why? We are to take our cares to Christ because He cares for us. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So why would we not jump at the chance to have our burdens lifted?

Could this kind of thinking be one of the reasons we have overly bitter and hateful Christians within the church? Could it be that we are not being obedient to His word? I can only imagine that He is sitting in heaven with a broken heart because the very beings that he created to have fellowship have now turned their backs on Him, because they think that a) they can handle it and b) they are ashamed of what God thinks. God loves you! He doesn’t want you to feel ashamed! That is why He provided Christ and forgiveness, so that we didn’t have to be ashamed. Just look at his response to two people: John 4:1-26 (especially vs. 15-26) and John 8:2-12 (especially vs. 10-12).

Another aspect of this is that we have nobody to help us through our stresses and difficulties. Look at the Apostle Paul. He had immense amounts of stress! He had churches that were straying from the Gospel, people who were now spreading false doctrine, the threat of imprisonment, threat of torture, and always trying to set a good example for other believers. Yet, he always remained optimistic and diligent to the task. Why? Because he was a super Christian and he could just do it? NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! He had people around him to encourage him and to share his burdens! God provides those people in our lives for that purpose! Look at Christ! HE HAD 12! Yes they were people who he mentored and taught but they were his closest friends and he even called them brothers! They were close and they shared one another’s burdens!

It is amazing when you have a true friend. When you confess to them what is going on, their opinion of you does not change. When they truly love and care for you, they are burdened for you and want to help you. They don’t stand there and condemn you because they have come to a point of realization that they are NO better than anyone else.

So when will you get over your ‘attitude’ or facade and start experiencing the freedom that God provides. Only when the Church begins to help one another can we really begin to care for the rest of the world.