By Tera Ertz
“18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with
tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction,
their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on
earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a
Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like
his glorious body,by the power that enables him even to subject all things to
himself.” Philippians 3:18-21
Over the last several years, there’s been a disheartening phenomena in the people who call themselves Christian in this nation. Many of us who profess Christ as Lord have allowed the world to make us focus on our bellies,
setting our minds on earthly things, and thus distracting us from the truth of who we are. Paul makes this distinction for us here in Philippians as well as in Ephesians 2. And we see a similar admonitions from the author of Hebrews and Peter that we are strangers and aliens here in this place because it is not our home. And to beware the things of this world.
As Christians, it’s critical for us to wrap our brains around this concept. Especially in days such as these where violence seems to be escalating. Hatred seems to be running rampant, over things both small and large.
Anger rages, and no longer even requires anyone to actually do anything. All it needs is a perception of what someone might do or think. We look at social media and the headlines and are inundated daily with the message that the world is coming apart at the seams. We base that certainty on two line memes or gotcha headlines without regard to reality. And rage flows freely. Worse, we’ve begun to turn that rage against our brothers and sisters, publicly and brutally, for the sin of speaking words of caution or principle into the noise. Prominent Christian debase themselves and speak false words about each other in support of or opposition to a political cause. Many who claim to be leaders of God’s people embrace abortion, calling the slaughter of innocents the work of God. Those who claim to support unity and grace vilify anyone who does not embrace homosexuality and transgenderism, and break covenant promises in service to that cause. Many who embraced Donald Trump viciously attack those who do not as unChristian, and twist Scripture to try to make Mr. Trump into the latest false Messiah.
Many who oppose Mr. Trump respond in kind.
Brothers and sisters, what are we doing? Have we forgotten whose we are? Have we forgotten whose household we belong to, where our citizenship lies? God, in Scripture, gives us very specific instruction on how we are to behave toward one another and toward the world. Right now, this nation isn’t reflecting those instructions. We are not demonstrating love, peace, joy. We are not behaving with grace. And we assuredly aren’t speaking truth, the basic, everlasting truth, that the only salvation there is or that we need is found in Jesus Christ. Administrations, parties, nations, rise and fall. Only God is eternal. And in the end, only His approval, provision, and plans will endure.
One the other hand, we are for the moment dual citizens. While we are here in the body, God placed us in a specific geographical location among a specific people. He placed us here for His purposes. We cannot run away and ignore the goings on in this beautiful country we call home. That is no more in keeping with the Gospel than backbiting and slandering. What is a follower of the King to do in this nation that seems on the brink of tearing itself apart?
Fortunately, God is all knowing, and desires us to be equipped to face the times we live in, whatever they may be. He left instructions for a time such as this.
Let’s go to a book many have used to advocate for Donald Trump. Through Jeremiah, God commanded His children how to behave when they found themselves in a place that was not their home:
“5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take
wives and have sons and daughters; … multiply there, and do not decrease.
7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray
to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare… Then
you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You
will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:5-7, 12-13
In other words, live your lives. Pray to God. Seek the well being of your nation. And seek the Lord with all your heart. As you go about your business today, frustrated with your fellow citizens in this nation, remember where
your first loyalty lies. Christ called us out of the world, and into the kingdom of God. He sends us into the world to carry the gospel of the kingdom as His ambassadors. Nothing else we, or anyone else, does matters if we fail in that commission. All else is dross.
Tera Ertz is the founder of Hope and Change Ministries, author of God Talk: The Beginning, wife, mother of five, and a child of God. You can find her on Facebook, or subscribe to Hope and Change Ministries to keep up with the latest.