We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Election day in my country is just around the corner, and this year the rhetoric is particularly fierce. We’re hip-deep in a pandemic and institutions everywhere are struggling to make decisions on how best to cope.
Of course, this is America and we the people are brimming with unasked for, sometimes ill-informed, but nevertheless staunchly-held opinions. Whether we’ve ever run a school or a restaurant or not, we are dead-certain we know the right way (this typically being the way which best suits our lifestyle).
If you’re in any form of institutional leadership, the one thing you can be certain of today is your decisions will make someone furious. You cannot win. For every vehement YES, you can find at least one equally emphatic NO.
And on it goes. But overall, I’ve come to expect such things from the secular world. What makes my heart sink is to hear such fuming from the mouths of people who claim the name of Christ even inside the Church.
It seems we’ve forgotten Jesus did not die to save us from masks or Democrats.
Politics, lockdowns, viruses, vaccines – none of these are the real problem. Sin is. Sin is a cancer much more malignant than any political ideology, virus, or social conspiracy. And with a whopping 100% fatality rate, it’s far more deadly.
All who die in their sins are forever beyond hope. This is news that ought to keep us up nights; not the fleeting idiocy of a handful of politicians; not the failures of our public education system; not even the unspeakable horrors of being asked to wear a bit of cloth over our mouth and nose.
Because of the staggering consequences of lives lived without Christ, if we call ourselves Christian, we ought to be busy rejoicing in our sufferings and preparing to give an answer for the hope that is in us with both gentleness and reverence.
We ought to be considering Him who endured such hostility as a Roman flogging and the cross against Himself so we may not grow weary or fainthearted. So we don’t lose sight of His mission to go and make disciples, teaching them to obey Him.
We need to remember Jesus does not call us to stand up and fight for our rights and freedoms. It’s actually quite the opposite: He calls us to deny ourselves.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.Luke 9:23-24
No matter how the election turns out or how few people admire our perspective, we are still called to respect those whom God appoints to govern over us. We are called to pray for them. And even (whether we agree or not), to obey them so long as their laws do not violate the absolute laws of our King.
God is the true Sovereign. And He is less interested in our stance on masks or reopening than on our humble obedience in walking as Jesus walked.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.Romans 13:1-2
Whatever happens before, during, and after the election, if we call ourselves by the holy Name of Christ, let us be sure of two things:
First, that our behavior is Christ-like. Self-denying. Self-sacrificing. Totally obedient to the Father and both immersed and well-versed in the Scriptures. Humble.
And second, that our definition of Christlikeness comes from what the Word of Truth teaches about Him and not from this madly crumbling culture.
At the very least, let’s resolve not to throw a temper-tantrum when we don’t get our way, dragging the reputation of He whose image we bear down with us as we flail in the mud.
PS – Click here to listen to an excellent message on a similar topic. Stay through the song – there’s more!