We are in a political year in our country. Everywhere we turn, we will be confronted with the information and debates of the times. The politicians will tell you what is wrong with the country and tell you how it will change under their leadership. People who do not like what is going on will certainly have the “throw the bums out” mindset and will listen for the person who will steer the country in the “right” direction. These are all appropriate behaviors as we exercise our right and privilege to be a part of the election process; we should all take this seriously. However, as Christians, we should be deeply motivated by our Christian principles to be salt and light to our world.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, admonishing him to minister to the people regarding “heaping up for themselves teachers” who will tell them what they want to hear. This concept could certainly be expressed in relationship to the leaders who are chosen to govern our country. The vexing question is, “Are our problems the result of bad leaders or are bad leaders the result of us?” We often see people in position of influence as corrupting our country and society, but where does their power come from? A good example of this is the Holocaust. Did the extermination of six million Jews happen because of corrupted leaders, or did those leaders arise from the attitudes of the greater society. There is no question this evil could not have happened unless the people consented in some way to the actions of their leaders. It has been well documented that Hitler gained his power by drawing on the desires and fear of the people.
What Can We See in our More Recent History?
In the last 30 years, our nation has had different parties and leaders in position of authority, yet the general direction of our nation has been consistent. We are a nation who wants their desires fulfilled without paying the price for them. Our national debt has spiraled into the trillions as we have spent money we didn’t have, and the same can be said of corporate and personal debt. Laws limiting personal choices are being taken away, and new laws to promote personal freedom and expression are taking their place. Is this leadership forcing their opinions on us or giving us what we want? Of course, as responsible Christians, I hope our answer to the confusion of the time is no, but this is increasingly not the case.
If we want to see the real power of God released in our nation, it is going to take believers seeing a greater purpose to their lives regarding the world in which we live. We do not need to change our church environments to make them seeker friendly, as much as we need to commit ourselves to the release of the power of God. What is that power? The Apostle Paul declared it. He said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation.” This gospel is something he and the other disciples were willing to die for. What is the Gospel? Many Christians will say it is the good news that Christ died for them. However, that is an incomplete understanding of the reality offered to us. The good news is that “our God reigns.” We need to know that Jesus Christ is the triumphant King—and we, His people, must serve and worship Him. When we really comprehend the power of the complete Gospel, we will not just see that Jesus died for us, but we will know as our King that we must surrender our lives to Him!
Change That Trickles Up!
We need to understand that God’s plan tells us change comes from the bottom to the top, not the other way around. Unfortunately, this also means a commitment for change will only come one person at a time. In the Great Commission, Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples of the nations. Some people think this means national conversions from the top down, but the ultimate power of the message of Christ is found in the individual that transforms their community, and ultimately the world. A great example is Jesus ministry to the Samaritan woman at the well. She was so moved by the message of Jesus Christ that it transformed her life and she became a spokesperson for the kingdom. When she went back to her village to proclaim the Messiah, everyone experienced a conversion. Your testimony is powerful!
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimonies and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:10-11)
I think of the ministry of John Wesley who had a profound impact on Great Britain, as well as in the United States. His method was personal discipleship and small groups, empowered by the Holy Spirit. He also had a commitment to preaching of the Word of God to whomever he could round up to listen. It is time for us to give ourselves fully to the cause of Christ. Initially, it might seem like an impossible task to impact our world, but I know that with faith in the power of the Gospel and a commitment to release it, we will indeed impact the nations.
Join me—let’s make a commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and go forth making disciples in His name!