Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed- John 3:20 NIV
I have not been cursed with a ton of vices.
Drugs, alcohol, and gambling are not enormous temptations for me. Nor am I into video games, binge eating, hoarding, porn or nicotine. I do sometimes use shopping as a stress release. However, I hate credit card debt slightly more than I love shopping so the odds I will morph into a full-blown shopping addict are fairly slim.
Politics is my vice.
Much to the chagrin of my far less politically minded husband, I follow political parties the way a gaming addict follows NFL teams and a gambling addict follows the ponies. The Presidential elections are my super bowl and I begin gearing up for them a good two years prior to the actual election.
As a history geek I am fascinated by the reality that democracy is a relatively new development in human government, having only existed as we know it for a few hundred years. In my nerdier moments (there are many) I like to ponder the evolution of politics and government. As a Christian I am intrigued by the fact that in our system the election of a single person often has an enormous impact on the political, economic and moral landscape of our nation, sometimes for decades.
Unfortunately, this understanding can cause me to fall into the trap of thinking that if the right person or group of people get elected the outcome will magically alter the moral landscape of our country permanently. Recently, I came heard a quote that threw a truth grenade on the folly of my thinking:
We are not seeing terrible things in our culture because we vote the wrong way. We are seeing terrible things in our culture because men love darkness more than light-Voddie Baucham
It is a sad fact that people love darkness more than they love light (John 3:19). At the heart of every “hot-button” issue we are dealing with as a culture is a powerful battle between right and wrong, light and darkness, good and evil. If hearts are changed political and moral views will change too. Changing hearts is way above any of our pay grades. That’s God’s job. However, the Bible is clear that individuals do have influence over others and there are things that can be done to push back the darkness.
No one should talk about prayer or extol the virtues of prayer unless they are taking time out of their day to actually pray (1st Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 26:41). Christians should pray because prayer has the power to change things. More importantly prayer changes our attitudes towards people and it makes our hearts soft towards God all critically important things if we want to push back darkness.
Get some theology-
The whole notion of holding tightly to beliefs concerning God, the Bible and life has been scoffed at inside and outside the church in recent years. Some well-known pastors have publicly criticized Christians who place a high value on Bible study. The Apostle Paul’s proclamation that “knowledge puffs up” has been taken out of context so many times that most people do not realize that the apostle was referring to knowledge concerning a specific issue (idols). Christians have been told repeatedly that all they need to do to effectively live out their Christian faith is love God and people. Believing that “love” is all Christians need to communicate Christ effectively is a tragically immature understanding of both Christianity and love (1st Peter 3:15). Our post-Christian world does not define the word love by a biblical standard. Therefore it is impossible to know how to love God or love people without theology as our guide. We should get in the habit of asking ourselves what the Bible says about every issue and then study the Bible to know the answers (2nd Peter 1:3-9, Proverbs 18:15).
Holy or righteous living is another tragically misunderstood issue our time. There are actual church-going people who believe it is legalistic to expect Christians to live by the standards laid out for us in the New Testament. It’s not. Holy living is what gives Christians credibility and the right to speak out concerning the issues of our day (1stCorinthians 1:2, Ephesians 5:3, 1st Thessalonians 4:7, Hebrews 12;14).
If we want to push back the darkness it is critical we serve in our local church. Christians should volunteer to do whatever needs to be done at their church and work to make their local church as strong and healthy as possible. It is equally important Christians find creative ways to serve those outside the church. This is done best when we become intentional about getting to know the people in our neighborhoods and workplaces.
I hope I already made it clear I really and truly do not think politics are the answer to our problems. HOWEVER, if Christians vote for leaders who openly embrace darkness we should not be surprised when our world suddenly becomes a darker place.
Don’t be a jerk-
Just don’t. Our world has enough jerks. By all means speak the truth, the world needs it desperately. Just do your level-best to be as non-jerky as you can manage while you do it.
Whatever else you do, do not waver in doing good and living righteously (Galatians 6:9). No matter how tempted you might be to do so. Spiritual quitters never accomplish anything good or life-giving, so learn the Bible, set shamelessly high biblical standards for yourself. Live by those standards and beliefs. Speak the truth loudly and proudly and above all else love the lost with everything you’ve got. Do not allow the culture persuade you to do anything else. We were made for times like these.