When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”. And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” (Joshua 6:13-14, ESV).
The church in America is so entrenched in politics that it is often difficult to tell whether a sermon is an endorsement of a political party or the unfiltered word of God. We take sides and bludgeon others simply because of their political affiliation, regardless of God’s purpose in the way events unfold. We call the other party names and use language that Christians should not utter.
I do not believe that Christians should take sides but that we should simply vote based on our Christian beliefs, rooted in the word of God. I do not belief that we are to identify ourselves as Independents, Libertarians, Democrats, nor Republicans but that we should be, simply, Christians. When we choose a party, we essentially take sides; I acknowledge that this is not the case for everyone but that because of the way our law-makers have arranged the system, we must at times register as one or the other to be able to cast our votes. This law itself reveals the deception in politics and we should not have anything to do with deceitful behavior. Vote, yes, and challenge those who are in office and those who are running for office, but we must be mindful that what matters to us may differ from what matters to others. If we vote based on our Christian beliefs and values, rooted in the undefiled word of God, we should be free from the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Regardless of how we vote, we are called first to serve God and to love one another; to honor God with our whole being.
We are to honor God with our thoughts, words, and deeds. Some of the language I have heard among my brethren is indistinguishable from that of the uncircumcised world. Does this behavior honor God? The church has become just as partisan as the political hub of this nation. We are separated into small denominational groups by our political beliefs. Some churches have essentially closed the door to others in the way they exude their political beliefs. Some pastors cause members of their congregation to squirm in the seats as the spew their own political thoughts. This too is true for members who try to persuade pastors to deliver political messages to the congregation. I don’t recall reading of Jesus giving a political speech but I do remember him saying “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
When challenged with the question of whether to pay taxes to Caesar did Jesus give a lengthy speech about Caesar’s politics and the Jews beliefs? No, He didn’t, that was not His message, even if it was a ploy on the part of the Pharisees. So why do we fall for that trap today? Why do we bite into the temptation to spew political agendas and why are we so easily swayed by the media.
Where is love in today’s politics? It is difficult to see where actions are being taken out of love for others and where it is another selfish political move; I mean this for all sides of the political spectrum. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that He will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. There is so much evil in politics that I cannot but wonder if it is not one of the agents of the devil that will, and has acted against the church. Laws that are passed and even the abominable things that are celebrated in our politics run counter to what Christians believe.
So consider carefully what we are aligning ourselves to when we allow politics to influence our thoughts and actions. We are called to consecrate ourselves; reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. That is not possible if we hold fast to the things of this world. We are to be in the world but not of the world. Politics does not distinguish between believer and unbeliever except when chasing after votes. Why do we fall for the traps of the evil one who seeks to destroy the church by creating divisions among the members? Why do we buy into the politics of the day when it is filled with deception, guile, greed, and all manner of ungodly motives?
Beware of the leaven of politics!
Vote your conscience but look to God, not man, for deliverance. “By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Flee from those things that dishonor God and “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you you” (Philippians 4:8-9).