A Place For Faith

Oct 30, 2016 | David Crosby

A Place for Faith: Politics

The Prayer For Devotion:

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Colossians 4:2.

Prayer is an essential part of following Jesus.

  • Jesus prayed often as recorded in Scripture. He prayed when he was in crisis, when he was hurting, when he was in need, when he broke the bread for a meal, and when he was confronted with demonic activity or illness. We should do the same.
  • Jesus had a habit of prayer at set times and places.
    • I recommend to you Joe Fontenot’s little book, Life Hacking Spiritual Disciplines. You can find it at Joefontenot.info.
  • You are well-advised to do the same. Set up a habit—a routine of prayer in your own schedule. Make sure that you connect it to the regular daily activities of your life so that it will take strong root in your schedule. You will associate prayer with certain times and places.
  • There is one prayer that is recorded for the government authorities in his life: “Father, forgive them…” That might be a very good prayer for this election season. I am recommending prayer above any more discussion, hand-wringing, anxiety, or political maneuvering. We cannot change the outcomes of the primary process. But we can pray.

Be Watchful.

  • You remain aware of the stewardship you have over your family, your freedoms, and the participatory democracy of which you are a part.
  • You remain aware of the bad things that can happen if you are not vigilant in regard to these matters concerning family, freedom, and the vote.

Be Thankful.

  • Some of your are forgetting this very basic part of following Jesus. We must be grateful every day. Gratitude is our posture and our attitude in this world.
  • We are grateful for the gift of life, for family, and for the wonder of God’s creation all around us.
  • We are grateful for our freedom, our heritage of self-government, and for our beloved country so rich in natural and human resources.
  • We are most of all grateful for Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Devote Yourselves. 

  • Now here is a challenge that we should embrace. Let’s devote ourselves to prayer. You should pray in proportion to your anxiety. If you are very anxious about this election, then pray even more than usual.

I have composed a prayer before you push the button in the voting booth:

“Father in Heaven, I am fulfilling my duty as a citizen. I am being watchful about our country and our democracy. And I am very grateful for this privilege.”

The Prayer for Chains:

"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains." - Colossians 4:3.

Paul uses the word "chains" twice in Colossians, here and in the last verse where he urges them, "Remember my chains" (Colossians 4:18). He uses this word "chains" four times in Philippians and once in Ephesians.

I think that "chains" is the most political word in the letter to Colossae. Paul does not deal specifically with government in his letter except for the references to "chains." And he wants them to remember his chains. His prayer request that "God may open a door for our message " is set in the context of these chains.

Paul was arrested by the Roman commander when a riot broke out in Jerusalem. In Acts 21:39 Paul said to the Roman commander, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”

The Jews rejected Paul and called for his death. "As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, 'Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?' …Then the commander said, 'I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.'  'But I was born a citizen,' Paul replied." - Acts 22:25, 27-28.

In Acts 25:11 Paul appealed to the judgment of Caesar before Governor Festus in Ceasarea.

The "chains" remind us that the power of Government is coercion. The government forces us to do things—go to school when we are six years old, pay taxes on our wages, respect the people and property around us. When we break the law, we go to jail.

  • When we elected council members and congressmen we are electing the people who forge the chains that are used in our democracy. They create the laws.
  • When we elect mayors and governors and presidents we are electing the people who apply those chains to businesses, churches, and other individuals.

Paul wrote to Timothy: "This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained." - 2 Timothy 2:8-9

Here is a Prayer when government regulations or laws restrict your activities:

“Father in Heaven, I pray that you will use these chains to advance the gospel.”

The Prayer for the Harvest:

"In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world— just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace." - Colossians 1:6

Paul is praying for open doors: "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message (Colossians 4:3). Jesus told his disciples: "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (John 4:35).

Pray for an open door for our message. This means that we are praying for freedom of religion all over the world as well as here in the USA. We are praying that our proclamation of the good news will be unhindered by government regulation or prohibition or red tape.

  • "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; Make the most of every opportunity." (Colossians 4:5). This is living out a Harvest View of the world.

Our hope is in Christ. "We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven." (Colossians 1:4-5)

Sam Nunn, former four-term U.S. Senator from Georgia, suggested in an editorial published this week in the WSJ “We are not so much voting for a president as choosing a god.” He said this in the context of the U.S. president’s responsibility in a military crisis to man the button that deploys nuclear weapons. Are we choosing a god Nov 8? Only a politician would think so.

We have survived through bad presidents before. We have survived and even thrived through immoral leadership. We are not electing a god. We have but One God, the Creator God who made himself known through Christ our Lord.

This is not to minimize the election. The person who serves as president of the United States may be the most powerful person in the world. But like the kings and Caesars who reigned over earlier generations, they are fallible humans with limited power and limited understanding.

Here is your prayer after the new president is elected:

“Father in Heaven, help me faithfully live and proclaim the good news about Jesus to all who are still outsiders to faith in Christ.”

Get Involved in the harvest: the real answer to the greatest need of the human heart is not found in government. It is found in Jesus Christ. Let’s not act as if politics is a realm of ultimate concern. All of this goes up in flames. Only what’s done for Christ will last forever.

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