I love my country. I consider myself a patriot. I believe that the United States has provided more people with more freedom and more opportunity than any other nation that has ever existed. I think the United States has been blessed by God.
Having said all that I must admit that I am only a citizen of this country in a transitory and momentary way for I am but a pilgrim here, a sojourner whose ultimate home is another city, a kingdom, and that even here my ultimate allegiance is to my King.
Over the years I have had many conversations with people regarding the ongoing Progressive degradation of this great Republic. Often people will say, “I can’t talk about this anymore it is too depressing.” And often people ask me, “How can you dwell on this so much and be so happy?”
I’m not really happy. Happiness is a fleeting feeling that can be erased by not getting your pizza delivered on time. I have joy and peace and the contentment of security. I always answer this question with, “I spend a few hours every day immersed in the evidence of the deepening betrayal of America’s experiment in personal freedom, individual liberty, and economic opportunity, and I am never depressed. Because my hope is in Christ and my home is in heaven.”
This is the politics of Easter:
Paul, after warning us what the so-called leaders of this world are really all about said, “There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.” Paul also tells us, “But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.”
I am a Christian, unabashedly and unashamed. Jesus is my king, my Lord and my God. I look about me and I love my country and I love those about me. However at the same time I take to heart what Peter said “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul” and I realize that as a Christian, we are visitors in this world of unbelievers. We may be the same on the outside as everyone else, but on the inside we are different.
1. We don’t think like them.
2. We don’t act like them.
3. We don’t have the same customs as they do.
4. We don’t have the same goals and desires.
5. When they want to go partying and getting drunk and go carousing, we don’t want to join them…
6. They use the Lord’s name in vain, participate in the deeds of darkness and are, essentially, the walking dead. We are not like them.
7. They glorify themselves. We glorify God.
8. Some glorify false gods. We glorify the true God.
9. We are different inside. And it shows. Or at least it should.
If there was a trial today and we were charged with being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict? Or are we secret agent Christians? Instead of hiding in the shadows we should be holding aloft the light of Christ in a darkening world so that as Peter admonished us we, “Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.”
This world and its politics is a soap opera. Following the ins and outs of the progression from colonies to empire to utopia keeps us occupied and obsessed. We need to keep it all in perspective. Yes, it is good to stand for freedom for God created us to be free so that we could freely choose Him. Yes, it is good to stand for personal liberty and economic opportunity so that all people will have the opportunity to become all that they can be and so that they are not oppressed by the utopians in their mad drive toward a heaven on earth that will never and can never be reality. However it is the height of folly to allow the false god of ideology to cloud our vision until we become as doctrinaire as the utopians holding aloft democracy or national prestige as goals in and of themselves.
We must keep a godly perspective striving always to remember we are sinners saved by God’s unearned grace and so avoid becoming the Pharisees who drive people away from God. There is a band named Casting Crowns. Their lyrics touch me in the spirit, and I believe they express the situation that we believers find ourselves in when we try to be that light instead of reveal that light:
Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided
Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who’s writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did
You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.
Jesus said, “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.” He also told us to take our testimony to the world, to share with them what has happened to us. It is as if Jesus told us to take this light (Him) to the world and we have spent two thousand years building a lamp and berating everyone who does not call the lamp the light.
Remember, we are citizens of Heaven. We are Pilgrims here, strangers in a strange land. As Easter approaches remember “Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away, rising He justified freely forever, one day He’s coming oh glorious day, oh glorious day”
I pray with Casting Crowns, “Oh Jesus, friend of sinners open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers let our hearts be led by mercy help us reach with open hearts and open doors oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours.”
This is the politics of Easter: vote for Jesus who has already won the war and join the winning side.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens [email protected] Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens