Many of you reading this live outside of the United States. Our constitution is supposed to protect the individual rights of all our citizens, regardless of position, race, or creed. As American disciples of Jesus, submission to authority and what that means in our democratic federal republic is a topic of great discussion and debate. But this is also a topic that believers everywhere should prayerfully consider.
Like many in my country, I sat transfixed this morning in front of my television to await a Supreme Court decision on sweeping new healthcare legislation put forth by the Obama administration. With the support of majorities in both our Senate and Congress, as it currently stands this government can now dictate what kind of healthcare we can receive and how much it will cost.
I must confess that my initial responses were reactive based primarily on how I perceive this will affect my own personal life and the life of my family. When I heard the court’s decision I was stunned. What I said can’t be printed. Predictably, many of those in my circle of friends and family began expressing their outrage over the demise of our once great country in social media.
It was then that a Facebook posting from an old friend grabbed my attention. The entry was based on Psalm 20:7-9.
I have a number of sayings that I use to catch people’s attention when I am teaching. One of them is, “Never touch the world until the Word has touched you.” So, here’s another confession. The last couple of days I have not had my quiet time, my time alone with God in His Word and in prayer. I’ve thought about it, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.
I know from experience that the way I start my day has tremendous impact on how I respond to the events that happen during it. Spending time with the Lord before sitting down to my desk modifies the way that I react to unfolding news and events. This morning I did not start by calling on the name of the Lord. My poor reaction is entirely my fault, not His.
Am I alone?
A couple of weeks ago, Noemi (my lovely wife) and I attended a meeting where a video clip about the priority of prayer was presented. One of the points made was that if we have real concern for people and issues, we will remain on our knees over extended periods of time. I was convicted. But obviously not to the point where I followed through consistently.
Am I alone?
Today’s Supreme Court decision took many by surprise. God was not surprised. We have the government we deserve because most of us do not pray for those in leadership over us regularly. So, what should we do about November? In this country we have our God-given stewardship of citizenship to consider. But, as citizens of the United States who are also believers in Jesus, we are also to set an example.
It is hard for me to not get caught up in all the rhetoric, opinions, and histrionics. We are commanded by Scripture to obey those in authority over us unless they attempt to force us individually to do something completely unbiblical. In the social media world we now occupy, what we do and say as believers is placed on the world stage for all to see. People make decisions about who Jesus is by observing us. This is a pivotal time in HIStory.
There is nothing more important for us to do than to get down on our knees and cry out to the Lord on behalf of our people and our elected representatives. We need to stay there continually regardless of the circumstances unfolding around us.
To help re-frame our thinking, here is a passage to prayerfully contemplate before we react to what happens each and every day in our communities, states and nations. Read 1 Peter 2:12-35. I want to see things as the Lord sees them. I cannot do that unless I allow the Word to touch me in my innermost being before I ever attempt to have impact in the world.