In this election season Americans are desperately looking for someone who will come in and tear up what needs to be torn up. That needs to happen. The Bible says, “Tear down and build up,” but when you tear down something bad, you’ve got to know what to replace it with. You’ve got to come in with wisdom; you can’t just come with a sledge-hammer. You must come with a plow, with seed, and receive water and light in order to see healthy growth. That’s what we’ve got to do.
We must begin at the root of things, with the soil, and see America together as a family — the “United States of America” once again. For the sake of our country’s future, leaders must lay aside their pride and self-serving agendas in order to come together with wisdom and common sense at the table of reason in dialogue with respect and humility to hammer out effective solutions to the difficult realities we face.
Here are eleven crucial challenges we face:
- Americans are tragically divided in numerous ways.
- As our nation has neglected God, government has grown.
- Too many have trusted politicians’ promises instead of divine providence.
- Too many have preferred the ever-drifting opinions of secularists to proven biblical principles.
- There is an all-out assault on faith, absolutes and any mention of God in public.
- Moral standards have been rejected, marriage has been redefined and anything goes in sexual practices.
- Protection of the innocent and innocence has diminished in importance.
- Excessive government spending is bankrupting the country and robbing future generations of the opportunity to succeed through honest labor.
- Freedom and responsibility are being exchanged for dependence and entitlement.
- An excessive, ineffective, all-powerful state is replacing a free, responsible citizenry.
- Our national direction is being determined by special-interest groups who demand “rights” while denying the legitimate rights of others. As a result, opportunity, productivity and even the promise of meaningful employment are being destroyed.
Stop Clashing and Begin Sharpening
Recognizing these serious problems we face, Christians must stop screaming and slinging mud at each other and instead meet at the table of reason to pray and think through our differences constructively and in a spirit of good will. If two blades smash into each other straight on, the blades are notched and blunted. Only if they meet at an angle and under skilled control can the blades be sharpened.
We Christians need to stop butting heads over our political differences and instead meet in a way that is guided by the Spirit. Only then will iron truly sharpen iron and the world witness the unity Jesus prayed so earnestly for, the body of believers standing together as an unshakable, spiritually united body of true believers.
Get in the Game, Even If It’s Messy
We must also reject the thought that the spiritual is to be separated from the governmental. Transformed people transform the culture while standing up for what is right. Let it be said of believers today that we feared no man and no power, and we gave no ground to the enemy.
Take a moment to consider the effect of Christian principles in the development of the United States of America. Christian ideas played a powerful role in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. All three highlight foundational ideas of how governments should function, and these foundations of our country did not come about as a result of the “do church, not politics” view.
Most of us are familiar with things like the Declaration’s appeal to the fact “that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and to Ben Franklin calling for prayer at a crucial moment in the nation’s founding. But there are many other stories and facts, many less well known, that underscore the powerful role that religious faith played in the lives of many of our nation’s founders.
For instance, Charles Thomson was the permanent Secretary of the Continental Congress for more than fifteen years. He and John Hancock were the first to sign the handwritten draft of the Declaration of Independence. (Most of the signatories didn’t sign until August.) After retiring from public office in 1789, Thomson spent twenty years translating the Septuagint Bible from Greek into English.
A historian later wrote about the character of this highly influential and spiritual man: “It is scarcely necessary to make any further reference to Thomson’s religious belief. He had accepted the truths of Christianity in his early youth, and his whole life displayed a beautiful, upright character that was a constant inspiration to his friends. He not only became a Christian in the usual sense of the term; but he retired from public life, and for twenty-five years, was a solitary student of divine truth.”
Thomson is just one of many godly men who were instrumental in the founding of our nation. If our founders had adopted the “do church, not politics” view, we might not have a country today. But we do, because Christians realized that if they could influence laws and governments for good they would be obeying the command of their Lord, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The choice is clear: we can live in freedom under God or in bondage under any other source, which amounts to a modern-day Pharaoh. Paul told the New Testament church that the things that happened to Israel are an example for us (1 Corinthians 10:6). Surely you remember how God delivered the people from bondage in order to lead them into the land of blessing, freedom and fruitfulness. Our God is a God who blesses those living under his wing. Only unbelief and disobedience to His Word can hinder the blessings He freely offers through His Son. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
True believers understand that hearts and minds must be transformed by the power of God and by witnessing the visible manifestation of His life through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time to rise and shine with the glory of the Lord upon us (Isaiah 60:1). Concerned Christians must pray for leaders to understand the reality of spiritual warfare and the importance of a Christian worldview. This does not mean we impose our faith on others, merely that we choose representatives that reflect our values. That is both the benefit and danger of democracy.
The church must rise up, courageously and compassionately demonstrating the love of Christ. This we know for sure: Christ left us here as His witnesses on this earth for His glory and kingdom purpose. The moment Christians decide to stand together and boldly as the family of God, truth will win!
Read other challenging messages like this one in James Robison’s new book, The Stream: Refreshing Hearts & Minds, Renewing Freedom’s Blessings (Worthy Publishing, 2016), from which this article is adapted.