2012 Post Election Thoughts From A Pastor

As we enter into the post election calm it occurred to me that we as Christians need some perspective. Nothing on the political landscape has changed. Everything today is as it was the day before the election. What we must understand as Jesus followers is that this election has taught us a very important lesson. This lesson is as simple as this (whether you’re happy or sad):
The world will not be changed through electing a man.
My relationships cross boundaries, they always have. I have friends from all walks of life. My friends are Republicans, Democrats, and everything in between. Over the course of this election season I have read mean spirited things written by and to these folks. I have watched as friends from the whole spectrum of politics have placed their faith, hopes, and dreams for the future on men.

When the election ended some rejoiced while others despaired. 
I have seen many state that this election was the most important election in our history. They say this because they believe that the election of a certain man would bring about justice. Some were concerned about justice for the unborn, some for poverty, others for homosexuals, and still others for religious freedom. There were a myriad of other issues as well. 
An ongoing conversation I have with some friends has centered around why folks are so quick to place their hope and faith in a political candidate. There are some obvious reasons but one friend is quick to push back asking, “what’s beneath this?” 
I have been wrestling with the “beneath this” question quite a bit. I am coming to the conclusion that at the end of the day we place our faith and hope in a candidate because we don’t believe that we can make a difference. We believe ourselves to be powerless and that we need someone with more power to change the world for us. 
We’re wrong. 

Romans 8:9-11 says this:

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

You see, if one is “in Christ” then the Spirit lives within her. This means that within every follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the sovereign God of the universe, is living and active. Quite simply, the follower of Jesus has within him all he needs to transform the world.

One writer I follow proclaimed that Christians have officially “lost the culture war”.

I say fine, good, praise God!  We are not called to win, nor even fight, a culture war. We are called to make, create, subvert, and define culture.

We are called to be representatives of Jesus to the world. This means embodying and proclaiming his story to all we meet.

How has the election changed this?

Not one iota. 

Our calling, who we are, has not changed. If you are a Christian there is no room, nor time, for despair. We have work to do.

Ephesians 2:10 says,

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Your candidate won? Great!  Get after the work of building the kingdom of God by using the gifts, skills, and passions that God has graciously given you.

Your candidate lost? Great! Get after the work of building the kingdom of God by using the gifts, skills, and passions that God has graciously given you.

It is my sincere hope that each of us would repent from the idolatry that so easily entangles us in these election seasons and return our trust to the sovereign good God of the universe. He alone is deserving of our trust, hope, and faith. He alone controls the future.

If you are despairing because of the election, your hope has been placed in something or someone other than King Jesus.

If you are rejoicing because of the election, your hope has been placed in something or someone other than King Jesus.

If you see before you great opportunity to engage the world with the gospel, your hope is rightly placed on the King.

In conclusion take heart in what the Psalmist tells us (Psalm 24),

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah