(Photo: The Rock Church)
It's that season. Super Political Action Committees are funneling lottery-sized sums of cash into political ads. Pundits on television are popping veins in heated "discussions" that wind up right back where they started. Most of us will be happy when the air waves return to infomercials - they may be equally irritating but at least they're positive.
All joking aside, I can't deny how critical it has become in this day and age to be politically aware. Let me be clear, I didn't say politically correct.
Whether you are casting your ballot in a primary election or simply enjoying a political discussion around your office, ask yourself this question: Do your positions reflect your faith in Christ? Or do you put your Christianity on hold when the topic of conversation turns to hot-button issues? I'm not talking just about abortion, evolution, gay marriage, guns and prayer, but they're usually the ones people are passionate about.
We don't need to be trapped by definitions that box us in as militants or conformists. We must simply be truth-followers - in politics and every area. Many times the crowd will deceive and mislead us to put the Bible aside, but we must stand up for biblical truth (Ephesians 6:10-13).
Our faith is constantly bombarded and pushed aside by political, social, and media influences that seek to diminish or extinguish Christianity. However, God instructs us not to hide.
1. Wake up and acknowledge the pressure to deny your faith.
Pressure to deny our faith is not new; it is just heightened in highly political environments. Faith in our Lord is constantly tested and we have to be strong. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).
The enemy will attack in various forms, usually in ways that catch us off guard. In 2008 I was honored to be invited to offer prayer at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. As requested, I provided my short message in writing, in advance of the event. Prior to delivering my message I was asked by some of the convention organizers to change the end of my prayer to a generic ending rather than calling on the name of Jesus. At that moment I had a decision to make: please God or please men. I listened to God's instruction. Someone is always watching; His name is Jesus.
Ultimately, you should base your political opinions, your actions and your vote on truth. Many times going against the crowd is the right thing to do. If we know something to be true, then we should follow it. Courage is not the lack of fear, but rather the ability to do something that frightens you. It is easy to do something if you're not afraid, but it is rewarding to do the right thing even when it scares you. Just like physical strength, spiritual strength is built over time, not overnight.
2. Wake up and acknowledge the world's intention to silence you.
Everyone has faith in something. Some people have faith in money or politics, others in the media or in their families. Peter and the other apostles said: We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
Everyone, in and out of politics, has a worldview. Everyone has faith in something, which guides his or her worldview.
The world wants to eliminate the Christian worldview while keeping others, but we must remind the world that we are here to act as the hands and feet of Jesus, to act as He would act. Every Christian needs to cast a vote consistent with his or her worldview.
3. Wake up and walk the fine line.
It isn't an easy line to walk, but it is up to us to do it. Do you feel pressure to avoid praying in public or reading your Bible at work? Everyone is in an unseen battle; the devil constantly tries to oppress God's creation. Satan wants us to put the Word of God aside for the sake of politics, but we must stand up for biblical truth (Ephesians 6:10-13). The devil wants us to believe that we have limited options in our behavior and beliefs.
Being "right" means keeping Jesus' Word (John 14:23-24). The Holy Spirit confirms that truth in John 16:5-15. God is consistent - He doesn't change, so we consistently hold fast to His word. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Take a moment today and write down one thing you fear will happen if you stand up for your faith. Share with someone how you plan to conquer that fear. And cast your votes carefully, with biblical principles in mind.