Trump or Hillary. It really does not matter because both are different sides to the same coin. Republican or democrat: both are human inventions, deeply flawed and known for the sin they contribute in. Liberal or Conservative: both are two extremes Jesus never completely fit into.
Because of this time of year the questions that usually comes is: “what happens when politics start to get scary for us? Will Christians die out? Does that mean the church lost? Should Christians care more or less about who’s in office? What should be the role of the church during this season?”
Questions like these are needed, so be encouraged because none of those questions are stupid and without reason. I get it. Politics are very scary if we are honest because that means people in high positions far from us and from our everyday realities are making decisions that affect us and our reality very deeply. It is like being shot by a sniper you did not know was there. It hurts, you did not see it coming but the questions still remain of what can I do? How can I care for the wounds from this shot? So what are we to do as Christians in the United States when it comes to this season of politics?
Remember Where Your Allegiance Truly lies
The United States is not our God and will never be able to save us no matter how hard it tries. As Christians our allegiance belongs solely and primarily to God. This means that no matter what, we must remain dedicated to our first love. Now do not get me wrong. Voter participation, running for local elections, and campaigning in our situation as a democracy are very powerful tools to spark change. The issue I have noticed most though is not that of sparking change but instead of putting your hope into organizations that you should not be putting your hope in. Christian your trust should not belong to any political party. Your life should not be a slave to any political organization. If they are, your gods will fail you miserably and leave you in an open field, wounded and ready for the next prey to attack.
So, Politics may get scary. In Georgia both sides of the coin are terrified. Both have the right to be. It seems as if both are detrimental to the other but I want to encourage Christians to do something besides/along with voting. I want to encourage Christians to remember their allegiance to Christ. Trust in Christ work. Jesus is in control whether democrat or republican are in office. It does not matter which one is worse. I have godly Christians on both sides of the isle bleeding and frankly I do not find it helpful for Christians to engage in political battles about which side is closer to the devil. The fact is both are deeply flawed, both hurt and as Christians we are not called to submit to some political party. This world needs to be changed yes. Abortion needs to be done away with but so does looking at our Iranian neighbors as terrorists. Both are evil. Yet both of those examples I just gave are two good things that exist separately in different political parties. We cannot yell at the left for not looking at un-born babies as image bearers of God when the right continually looks at many people(brothers and sisters in the faith) in Iraq, Mexico, Israel, China, North Korea as terrorists. People have souls and families. And we are Christians before we are Americans and somedays we can only really be dedicated to one of those two. Some days Christ is calling us to something that our nation is not for. Some days we will have to be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego and not bow down to the idols of our nation.
What can Christians do?
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus before he ascends into the heavens says a few last words to his followers as they sit on the hill side. What he says is something I think as Christians in our crazy political culture, we tend to forget. See we get scared of one or the other parties in office and the dangers they both bring to the church yet we need to start remembering Jesus’ words and not the words of the G.O.P.
Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus has all authorty in heaven and on earth. We do not have to fear anything. We will though. We are humans so I am not asking for Christians to not be afraid. That would be silly. Instead I am asking Christians to in the face of fear to have courage. Not courage in which ever politican you choose on voting for but in Christ and his never ending work. His reign goes farther than a 4 year term. He in the breadth of his lungs spoke the heavens into existence. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords and our hope is not in the kings of this age but in the King who reigns over all ages. The King who has truth spread in the democratic and republican parties. Who has Christians in both organizations working to build the Kingdom. Christ has his followers in the trenches and in No Man’s Land. The Kingdom of God is able to move wherever it needs to go. It is able to look at wrongdoing and stand up against it no matter who is charge. The Kingdom of God has been around longer than our country or any other, and in the end if God wants to do away with our nation as we know it as Christians we should stand strong because God always has better in the future for us. Our hope does not end wherever conservatism, liberalism, or America as a whole ends.
Our goal is not to vote change into happening but to get out and do the biggest, most impactful campaigning anyone can ever think of. We are to preach the gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation. We are to make disciples, training them into the way of the Lord. Not with rules of conservatism or liberalism but training them in the law of God. God’s way of creating change is better. It brings life to dead man casuing them to be able to walk, drink, sleep, be merry and just ultimately feel.
Now I know, many people reading this may think that I am saying abandon politics, do not vote, only preach the gospel. I want to be clear that those are not what I am saying. The main point I want to get across is that God is living and active in the States but also all around the world and as Christians we cannot keep acting as if our only hope is in American conservatism. It’s not. The Pharisees were the most conservative people in their day yet they had no love in their hearts. They were white wash tombs. Mark Driscoll in his book ‘Spirit Filled Jesus’ puts this issue of left or right wing this way: “As a general rule, if you are more conservative than God, you should scoot to the left. And if you are more liberal than God, you should scoot to the right.” Christians do not belong to this world or its systems. We cannot fit into any category truly because if we are following Jesus like we should then we will be like him, as he was an outsider to all. So if you are able to fit in nice and neatly to a certain political description then you should abandon it and aim to be more like Jesus. Jesus was able to navigate the liberalism of the Romans and the conservatism of the Jews yet he never was liked by either group. Jesus did not rest in either group liking him. Both were responsible for his death. As Christians we are not gonna fit into any party. We are not citizens primarily of this world. We are sons and daughters of the King of Glory and we must live the life he has called us to. We must spark change the way he called us to.
This happens first by following the greatest commandment:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.(Matthew 22:37)
And by also following the second greatest command:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.(Matthew 22:39)
Because of both of these commands, when we actively follow them we will be a light in the world as Matthew 5:14-16 says. We are to preach the good news of Jesus and make disciples who make disciples as Matthew 28:18-20 says. We are not like other groups in the world. We have a real hope. We have a God who really loves and cares for his people. We have a God who does not just talk about change but gave his life for the sake of change. Our King came down off the high seat for us.
As Paul says in Romans 8:31
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
So Christian, during this season, during the season to come, remember your real calling. Remember that voting is nice and dandy when you can do it, but that if you really want to see change happen in your community, state and country then go love people. Go show them the love of God through acts of service and the preaching of the Word. Invite sinners into your home not to change their political views but in hopes that the God who changed your heart, will also change theirs by given them a new life in Christ. This is our real work. This is the work that’ll make a difference in our kids lives, in our communities and in history. So go. Go do the work that really matters and really makes a difference.
By: Austin Neil Gregory
Helpful Resources for this Season: