Monday, November 16, 2015

God's Side? Or America's Side?

Patriotism has been rooted in our nation since it began. Citizens of the U.S. from day one have had a great amount of pride in our nation.
People often try to merge ideas of American Patriotism, or  man-made principles with scripture. When you really think about it, some of these ideas don't actually jive with scripture at all.
Before I get into the heavy stuff, I want to clarify a few things. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with a healthy love for your country. Nor am I saying that there is necessarily a problem with saying you are proud to be an American. Nor am I saying that we should never be involved with politics in some way.
I want you to consider these next few questions with an open mind.

1. Are we quicker to think of ourselves as American citizens before being members of the Lord's body?
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession. As a result, you can show others the excellencies of Him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Pet. 2:9.)
"And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever," (Daniel 2:44)
We were chosen by God to be a part of something greater than a worldly government or kingdom. We are a spiritual nation, and each one of us is spiritual royalty! The truth is, until Jesus returns, all nations will fall eventually. We aren't going to last forever. Our nation as well as others were formed by men. God Himself created the Church, His kingdom. This means His kingdom will endure forever! 

2. Are we quicker to defend the constitution and nation before the Bible and God?
"For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12.)
"See that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8.)

3. Do we obsess over trying to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is on our side in regard to politics?
How can we possibly gauge that? The truth is, the two biggest political parties hold beliefs that are not in line with biblical principles. The bible says nothing on political-economic issues, except on one issue. We are to pay taxes and be respectful to our governing authorities. This will be explained further on in the article.
Abraham Lincoln famously once said, "Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."

4. Do you spend more time bashing our enemies or political leaders than you do praying for them?
"First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (1 Timothy 2:2)
(This includes celebrities...and yes, even our President and Congress.)

5.  Do you spend most of your time debating politics, or telling others about the good news of Christ?
This is pretty self-explanatory. Why wouldn't our first thought be to evangelize?  American politics isn't the Good News. Actually, it is pretty much the opposite.
"And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.'" (Mark 16:15)

6. Do we rely too much on the government to help the poor and needy? Or do we get our hands dirty to help these people? On the other hand, do we fight for less government involvement? As a result, do we do little to nothing to help the poor?
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (James 1:27.)
"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."(Luke 12:33-34)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46)
The past few years, I have been rethinking a lot of things about politics and my role as a citizen of the United States. I am still avidly Pro-life, and stand for traditional marriage.  Those are things that God has been clear on. Where God stands, is where I stand. The rest are just opinions. Whether you agree, everything else pales in comparison to our duty as Christians. 
Our job as Christians is to be about God's business, plain and simple. Our first thought when we get up should be how we can serve God that day.
Here is what I know the bible says about politics:
When asked by the Pharisees whether it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus said, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and render to God the things that are God's." (Matt. 22:21)
Money came from the government. Therefore, the money goes to the government. We are to pay our taxes and to be obedient to the government (unless they tell us to do something against God's word).  (Romans 13:7.)
1 Peter 2: 13-15 says: "Be subject to the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people."
Romans 13:5 says: "Therefore one must be in subjection to the authorities, not because of possible punishment from God, but also for the sake of conscience."

God never gives us an exception to the rule. God means what He says.  In everything else we are to respect the government, and be good, law-abiding citizens. Also, if we have opportunity, we should try to influence the government peacefully and respectfully. 
 I want to serve God. I want to be what he needs me to be.  I want to read scripture in the way He intended me to, without the pollution of worldly ideas.
I love our nation, but in the end, my true citizenship is in heaven.