WARNING: The following post is about politics. Well, kind of. Okay, mostly about the Church/the Body. If you don’t want to hear anything about politics in America—which I highly suggest you at least pay a wee-bit of attention to now more than ever—steer your mouses (mice?) away from today’s post. Love you, but you’ve been warned.
My fellow Americans, I’m one of you too. I’m also a, GASP, Democrat. And I’m also, DOUBLE GASP, a Christian man. That’s right, I’m a man of Christ, who very adamantly tries his best to follow Jesus’ teachings from his life and scripture, and I also at one time voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
If you think that last sentence is the end-all-be-all to me being a Christian, and I should “get my priorities straight” or “denounce my Christianity” and seek “the truth”, we need to talk.
And whether you admit to it or not, that kind of split between quote, “Republican-minded, America-first, real Christianity” and “you-are-liberal-so-you-don’t-get-it, un-Christianity” is severely hurting the Church, and doing more damage than good for everyone.
See, I understand where you’re coming from if you really do believe in Jesus Christ, and are a Republican. Really, I do. We both worship the same God, after all, and if we put two and two together, we should both be reading intently and following the same guidelines laid out in the Bible. That book over there is His words, and it lives and fuels us! High fives all around—at the end of the day we both think Jesus is king, He rose from the grave, sacrificed his life for our sins, and has the amazing-beyond-human-capability to continue to love all of us, regardless of what we’ve done and whether we’re turning our backs or not.
I live in a conservative state in the heartland of Middle America. I’ve been around conservativism for a long time. I’ve been raised by it, molded by it (to a degree), and many of my friends and family are Republicans. That’s cool, and I respect that. In fact, I would even say I empathize and totally understand a lot of conservative values better than the average Democrat. You try living in the Midwest your whole life and pretend to not hear it and care for the people you love that believe in those values.
So I get that you care and yearn for a Christian America; a nation that is founded on the principals of God and scripture! I can’t argue with you that—if America was a Utopian Christian nation that somehow managed to follow a little more Christian principals—that would be a bad thing. I too, would be appreciative of that. Yet still, we gotta admit guys, one thing that seems to be a growing trend is this…animosity towards non-Christians and fellow Christians alike. It stemmed, in my estimation, from the rhetoric and divisiveness that came from the primaries, and one way or another absorbed into the Church.
All the sudden, if you’re Republican, you aren’t Christian. If you’re Democrat, you aren’t “real” Christian. And if you’re not even a believer, you are the problem in America that needs to be addressed, or, dare I say it, eliminated.
I’ve heard all that before. You have too. You probably have dealt with it on more than one occasion.
We should all take a look at Romans 12, though. Like…all of it. This is what Christ calls us to live for. Not mud-slinging, or trying to be higher than our brothers or sisters—whether they be in the Body or not. Here are some things to highlight, guys:
“3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Context: Members in the body are all different. None of us are the same, or serve the same function in the body, but we all belong together.
“14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
Context: People are going to persecute you, disagree with your beliefs, and hate on you all the time. That’s Christian life. But bless them anyway!Empathize with everyone, no matter what their position is or who they are. Conceit is what ruins a man or woman of Christ.
And that’s like, the tip of the iceberg.
We’re all different. It’s okay to believe different political ideologies, and be in different parties. But don’t forget our overall mission is to love, not to hate; to suffer with people’s afflictions, not to sling more dirt on their wounds; to serve the Most High and walk the path His Son put out for us as best as possible in our lives.
Yeah, we can all agree that America is divided.
A beautiful tapestry doesn’t start out all put together, though.
“4Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.”-Isaiah 7:4 (NIV)
This morning as you start your day, feel free to take a deep, slow breath. When you see the smoke and the fire approaching in your life—or if you are in the fire—feel a sense of calm. Latch on to the knowledge that God has instilled in you: that you are His son or daughter, and that He is most definitely looking out for you! No matter what your situation is, or how suffocating the smoke from that fire may be to you, He is providing you air. He’s giving you room to breathe.
It could be men plotting against you, looking out for themselves and ill intentions. It could be concern for your family or close friends, and their situations that you feel responsible for. Maybe your job isn’t working out as smoothly as you’d hoped, or you’re jobless and searching for the next opportunity. Either way, stay calm—you have the Heavenly Father fighting and working in your corner. And not only is He working for your best interests; He loves you and knows your pains!
Do not be afraid. Do not let intimidation cripple you. Find your calmness in God this morning, and let Him live inside of you.
A couple days ago I was at my local grocery store. I just needed a few things (and, for that day, wanted to cheat my normal dietary habits a bit), so there wasn’t really an objective so much as it was eye shopping for my “cheat foods”. After turning out of the frozen food aisle, I noticed a small child just walking along, minding his own business. He must have been maybe four years old, tagging along with his mom on a shopping day. I smiled watching, because kids are still pretty darn adorable at that age.
Then inexplicably, he toppled to the floor…hard. Face first onto the floor.
The mother turned quickly and, like any good mother should do, tended to her child asking if he was alright—when he clearly wasn’t—then scooped him up and away to comfort him. All I could do is say to myself, “Poor kid, he was just walking.”
“16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” –1 John 4:16 (NIV)
This morning, as it’s Valentine’s Day, remember that there is a love that encapsulates all of you. It lives within you—it is a part of you. And that love is so great, that no matter where you are right now—no matter what you think you did in the past—it’s still there. He still loves you, no strings attached. Today, when you say “I love you,” to your loved one, or think about the act of love, remember the immense, real love God has for you.
Show love to others today, not just because it’s a holiday about it. Show love because God loves you, and you want to reciprocate that and emulate that for those around you.
“22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.”-Mark 11:22-23 (ESV)
This morning, as you look onto the day ahead, don’t be intimidated. In fact, do the opposite—be bold! Know that if you truly believe, at the depths of your heart, in God’s plan, He will deliver. Speak to yourself today, as Jesus has said, in confidence, “I will.” You have mountains to move! Start moving them with your spirit guiding you.
You have the power to make things happen when you trust that they will, and that the Lord has already given them to you.
Being off and on about motivation is kind of new to me. If you’ve been following my writing, you might have seen a dip in pushing out content from time to time—sometimes I post every day, sometimes every other day, and then sometimes there are lulls where I don’t post for many days at a time. And it’s not because of laziness, or because I don’t love my mission that God has set me on.
It’s because life right now is hard. Really trying, really draining, and really hard.