Posted by: pastortomvabeach | September 19, 2012

Thought for the Week September 23, 2012

Last week I shared some thoughts from our former Student Ministries pastor, Adrian Schoonmaker, regarding the upcoming elections and where we, as Christians, should place our main focus and emphasis. Rev. Daniel Henderson, of Strategic Renewal, shared some further insights in his weekly e-devotional that would do us well to ponder. The following is quoted directly from Rev. Henderson.

“One burden I cannot seem to shake these days is the subtle assumption in some of the calls for accelerated prayer leading up to the elections. Here it is: That the outcome of the elections is the key to the needed change to our society. Let me be swift to say that God has ordained civil government. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1)…described as ‘God’s ministers’ to punish civil evil and are to be honored (Romans 13:2-7). I believe every Christian should know the crucial issues and faithfully exercise the stewardship of citizenship by voting. However, we must remember that government is not the force for societal transformation. Transformation occurs in hearts, not through laws. The Gospel transforms hearts. The church is the agency of the Gospel. We are the salt and light of the world. No political party can fulfill this role.

“I am guessing that many immature or marginal Christians are enthusiastically praying for a specific, desired outcome in the presidential contest – presumably that the pro-life and pro-traditional family candidate will win. Unfortunately, some may conclude that if we pray hard enough and skip enough meals that God is obligated to cause ‘His candidate’ to win. If the election does not turn out as expected, some may wonder if God answers prayer or if fasting really ‘works’ to produce the answers we want.

“The greater concern in this election is not really the outcome of the vote, but the worldview of the voters. Candidates will come and go. Laws will be made and later reversed, only to be reversed again. In the long run, the moral and philosophical drift manifested in the elections is the deeper dilemma. Again, this is reflective of the condition of the human heart. Only the Gospel can change the heart and renew the mind according to the word of God. Christians, manifesting the life and proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ day after day and year after year, are the stewards of the power of the Gospel.

“What changes as we pray? We do. How do we change? We become more quiet and peaceable in order to live a godly and reverent life. Why? Because this is good. Why is it good? Because God desires for men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Why? Because Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life for a world lost in darkness (1 Timothy 2:1-6). Our witness and lifestyle are the avenue for this message in a dark and confused world.

“Tolstoy said, ‘Everyone dreams of changing the world but no one dreams of changing himself.’ I say it often that our problem is not ‘Osama, Obama, or our Momma.’ Terrorists, politicians, and problems from our childhood can be real worries. However, the darkness exists and grows because of a failure of the light. We have to take a long look into our individual and collective mirror and focus our prayers on our own apathy, toleration of sin, and waning passion for Jesus Christ.

“I hope we will all pray as the Lord leads us preceding the November 6th national vote. However, I long that we will fast and pray enduringly for the ‘elect.’ We need revival. The church in America needs a spiritual awakening. Politicians and laws will come and go. Until we experience revival, our nation will drift, hearts will remain dark, and our ultimate calling in this life will be neglected.”

Did you catch the main idea Rev. Henderson is trying to present? It’s not about voting, learning about candidates, understanding biblical issues as they relate to government, etc. All of those are vital and important and I will share more about those in the coming weeks. Rev. Henderson is focusing in on our praying. We are engaged in 40 weeks of prayer for revival in our nation. As I have stated, I am deeply concerned about the dismal condition of the United States. I shared Henderson’s devotional because we began this prayer effort began a couple months prior to the election and I don’t want us, even me, to get the idea that we are praying solely or primarily for the outcome of the election as if that alone will “fix” our situation.

I agree with Henderson, we need revival. That means awakening Christians in their fear of God, their pursuit of holiness, their avoidance of sin, and their fervent desire to love God, love others (in every aspect of that word), and serve the world. Revival means that I am changed so that I influence everything around me in a way that brings glory to my Father in heaven (see Matthew 5:16). We can stop the drift of the nation one heart at a time if and when a true spiritual awakening takes place.

Again, this does not mean we take lightly our duty to our government. We, the people, are the government in the United States. But, as we pray, please make sure we keep the focus in the right direction. I’ve been pondering and praying about these things a lot lately. Are you? Maybe this thought will stir you to ponder.

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