We live in a narcissistic society. We may not like to admit this, but our lives (Christian or not) are lived with mainly ourselves in mind. Usually, the me focus overtakes our God focus. This then causes those around us to miss God completely. I’m going to write about a topic I rarely write about due to it’s divisive manner: politics. I fear it is in the realm of “Christian politics” that we as American Christians have completely ruined the name of Christ. I fear we’ve missed Biblical mandates in how to “be political” and in doing so have besmirched the name and fame of Jesus. It is here in the realm of politics that we Christians have allowed our me focus to overtake our God focus the most.
I think two words sum up what we as American Christians miss the most when it comes to politics: submission and honor.
This is a bi-partisan problem. Both Christian Republicans and Democrats fail at these two things. In the Bible, we are called to these two things as it pertains to politics. In fact, politically speaking there is little else but submission and honor asked of us. We are not called to lambast, berate or otherwise subvert the authority of our political leaders. We are called to submission and honor.
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” (1 Peter 2:13-14)
Many cry against this Scripture and say: “Well, I will when the President is not going against God. When he does something sinful or condones sin, I will speak up and let him know he’s not following God’s law”. Nope. Wrong response. Even Biblically speaking.
Peter was writing to Christians here who were being killed by the ruling authorities. The Emperor was lighting these people up like torches, literally; yet he still urges them to be subject. He still urges them to submit. Clearly they needed to break the Emperors laws to still meet and be in fellowship. There were limits to their submission; as long as they were submitted further to the Chief Shepherd- Jesus over any human institution. Yet, no where does the Scripture tell us we are to fight for the issues of Jesus and what he stands for. We are called to live them.
Let us even look back to the story of Daniel. Daniel found himself in a completely pagan culture. He was told to eat the kings meat and drink his wine. Daniel did not rally votes of those in the Kings court to push down the oppression. NO. He and a few others simply asked if they could eat vegetables instead. They did meet opposition but they lovingly stated they couldn’t eat it. Then they proposed a test. We eat the vegetables and the others eat the meat and drink the wine, at the end of ten days you decide what’s better. Daniel knew living God’s way is superior. He had no fears at simply living God’s way. He knew that would be enough.
We, as American Christians don’t trust God like this. We simply don’t. If we did, we wouldn’t try and force God’s way. We’d simply live it and allow our lives to tell the story. We fight, claw, spit and scream for “religious reasons”. We demand our way (I mean God’s way) and when we don’t get it, we pay TV shows to air our frustrations. We name call. We speak ill of and slander those in authority. We don’t submit and we don’t honor.
Here’s where our narcissism exposed. We, being uncomfortable seek our comfort. We say our fighting for certain issues is for God, but in reality as Victoria Osteen suggests- we are really doing it for ourselves. We live out her wretched theology all the time. We truly believe that we should be happy as American Christians and that our happiness pleases God. We seek a world we can feel comfortable and safe in. We say to ourselves if we feel comfortable and safe we are living the right life. If our lives seem dangerous or uncomfortable we are not living the right way. We say: “If we live in a country that was ‘supposed to be founded on Biblical principles’ we need to fight for those principles!” Friend, if you truly still believe we were founded on Christian principles or have ever been a “Christian nation” you do not read history. We are fighting simply for our own comfort.
Jesus’ life was never safe or comfortable and nor should ours be.
When one reads the Bible, this idea of submission and living differently is laced throughout- it is enough. Right after Peter discusses submission, and doing good he stated:
“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2:15)
I want you to imagine a scenario with me to make my point clear about submission. I will further discuss honor in the next blog post.
Here’s the scenario. Imagine in America when the landscape shifted to a more “uncomfortable” place for Christians to live in; that instead of verbally fighting the government’s movements we were silent. Imagine too that when the government did something that was pleasing to God, we celebrated. Pretend those celebrations of the good were as loud as our microphone against the bad is today. Think of what silence and doing good could have accomplished. What if, we truly were known by our love? Maybe the name of Jesus would mean something more. Maybe we’d be living in a far more pagan culture, but when someone met Jesus and his people, they’d know they were different. We wouldn’t have a reputation for hate. We’d still have a reputation for believing what we believe and not backing down, because we’d remain silent with things we disagreed with; but we’d also have a reputation like Jesus’.
When Jesus walked the earth he didn’t go to courts and political meetings fighting for “God’s way”. He simply lived God’s way and drew people into the fold. He preached the truth and lived the truth. He was subject to the authorities above him, but still changed a nation and ultimately the world.
Purposefully living differently changed a nation for Daniel and changed the world for Jesus. Their Chief Shepherd was God and they followed his rule over mans, yes. This was what was most uncomfortable. They didn’t try and make others believe it or pass it into law. They lived their allegiance outwardly. When the punishment came for following God over the King of their nations, they paid the price and were not afraid to do so, nor did they complain to the king about it being unfair. They just lived differently.
Why do we not believe and trust God enough to think it is still the way?