I wouldn't consider myself incredibly politically active.
I was a part of the Young Patriots Club of America in high school mainly so I could take a field trip to the capitol in Tallahassee each Spring. I've voted in elections in Florida, Virginia, and now Pennsylvania. I pray (though not as consistently as I ought) for our country's leaders and for God's protection and grace for this country I love.
This is about the extent of my involvement in civics, however. I've never found myself in a heated argument over candidates or policy and I don't usually lose sleep over those in leadership.
That has changed in 2016 though. I have stayed up late glued to ridiculously heated debates and refreshing the election results page on CNN. Suddenly, I have become very interested in this ongoing drama called an election.
With this added interest also comes added worry. Our country seems to be in a state of disarray. Are we losing our God-centered heritage? Are we as Christians losing our freedoms? Should we move to Canada?
In spite of my concerns, I keep returning to three main thoughts that bring comfort in the political chaos.
- As the Church, we are exiles.
An exile is a person who has been removed from their homeland. He has been transplanted to a new land or country either by an authoritative decree or a voluntary move. He is a refugee with no place to call home. He is different from the culture in which he finds himself. Until we find ourselves at home in the presence of Jesus, we are refugees in the this world.
We will never feel completely "at home" here.
A few days ago, I turned on the morning news to find coverage of a controversial teaching from a well-known Christian speaker. He was promoting ideas which required women to submit to their husbands. The news reporters were incredulous. Who could actually follow this crazy logic?
At first, I became defensive. It frustrated me that they were being so liberal minded. They were twisting scripture for their own purposes. Then I suddenly realized that this reaction from media should be no surprise. Of course, they don't understand. The things of Christ are insanity to them.
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. I Corinthians 2:14
Because we are exiles, it is natural to feel uncomfortable with the decisions made by our government or uneasy at the direction of our country. We will be disappointed at the outpouring of support for ungodly leaders. We must remember that this is not our home and we shouldn't fit in with the culture surrounding us.
- As the Church, we should support a Savior not a candidate.
It always makes me chuckle when I see a bumper sticker still proudly supporting a candidate that lost the race long ago. The owner of that car was so sure of their future president that they wanted to declare their support permanently. Even in defeat, they can't deny their backing of that individual.
I have no issue with supporting the campaign of a particular candidate especially if he or she plans to use the presidential influence to enforce religious liberties and defend our land. However, many Christians are known more for their favorite office-seeker than for their relationship with Christ.
As believers, our King is eternal. His term is not limited to four or eight years. He has already run the race and defeated the evil opponent. May our energy be spent promoting the good news of our rescue from our own destruction. May we spend our time proclaiming His beauty and wisdom.
- As the Church, our hope rests in our eternal citizenship.
With the impending outcome of the national conventions, many conservative Christians are alarmed. A quick scroll through my social media feed shows fear, discouragement, and anger. We can't seem to wrap our minds around the possibility of an anti-Christian nation.
I wonder, however, if this upheaval is actually a good thing for the body of Christ.
Could it be that in the loss of some of our political freedoms, we will cherish even more our freedom in Christ?
Could the discomfort of our exile drive us to find our comfort in our Savior?
Could the dismal outlook for our nation cause us to cling to the true hope we have in our eternal destiny?
Peter wrote similar encouragement to the the believers undergoing persecution for their new faith.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Friends, the best is yet to come for the Church.
Though persecution and hardship may soon come from our government, our hope is still full and alive in the finished work of Jesus. May the outcome of this year's election purify Christ's bride that we may be ready for the revelation of our eternal inheritance.