Wednesday, March 16, 2016

2016 Election: If My People

Last week, we posted a blog offering an interpretation of what we are observing on the larger scale with regards to this year’s Presidential election. Upon posting that blog into social media, I received an amazing response from a very dear friend and spiritual sister from my not too distant past. She simply reminded us of our truest of obligations towards God and country. That obligation is recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” While this verse was meant to encourage it was also piercing as God’s word always is. This passage does not negate punditry, but reveals our ultimate Christian obligation this election season. Yes, we should vote. But, voting is our last priority in every election season. Now, what I am about to share is directed at me first.

God instructed us that our primary means of healing our land is humble prayer. This is our obligation and primary mode of political activism. And, all of the obligations in this passage are upon us - Christians. Therefore, instead of shouting at others to be humble, we should recognize that humility is our first obligation, which shouting nullifies. The way we heal our nation is to first be humble. Humility is not thinking less of self, it is thinking of self less. As Christians, we are still royal sons and daughters of God. But, we are called to wash the feet of everyone else. Humility rarely takes the form of demanding things of others, including candidates and voters. After all, Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” That includes expressing our views.

The second obligation of this verse is for us to pray and seek God’s face. It is not our obligation to demand this of others or to criticize the prayers or non-prayers of others. Rather, it is our obligation to pray. This is not an obligation that we fulfill in order to get something. It just means that we have not because we ask not. If we want something out of our political process, the primary means of obtaining that, through faith, is prayer. Whatever energy we spend on fleshly activism would be better spent crying out to God. You can achieve many things in fleshly effort. But, are such achievements spiritually worthy? What is spiritually worthy is reserved for that which we achieve in Spirit – and that begins and ends with prayer. Our primary Kingdom work is done on bended knees. As in everything, including politics, the least we can do and the most we can do is pray. And, like humility, this is our obligation, not a demand we make of others.

The third obligation of this verse is to turn from our wicked ways. Christian, that means turn from your wicked ways, not necessarily crow about the wicked ways of others. And, if you are like me, you have some ways to turn from. By the way, this also happens to be the third and last step in the verse. That means there is no fourth step. There is no step where we turn fingers at others or tell others how to think. And, all three steps are things you and I should do, not things we should demand of others. This is to be the picture of our political activism.

Now, let’s summarize our three-step obligation this election season: 1) humble ourselves, 2) pray and seek God’s face, and, 3) turn from our wicked ways. That is it. We will not be able to nominate or vote our way out of the spiritual malaise in America. As Christians, restoration is ours to give, and by give that means follow God’s three steps personally. Reliance and trust upon any other step is faith ill-placed. We don’t have faith in candidates, ballots, parties, governments, media or tweets. We have faith in The King of Kings and The Lords of Lords who is in control of everything. And, our faith is revealed in how we express ourselves, primarily in prayer. Therefore, our communications with each other and the world should reflect hope regardless of the circumstances because we are prayed up.

To summarize, in conclusion, God said, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Let's pray!

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