Article Nov 10, 2016

We have a new president-elect: A letter to my church

As I watched the election results come in on Tuesday night, I asked myself, “What does this change about what I do tomorrow?” I asked, “What does this election change about what my church does in the morning?” “What does this change about what God requires of his people?”

My conclusion? Not much.

We have a new president, but the same King.

Remember the time Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They gave a few answers of who other people were speculating about who he was. Then Jesus asked, “But you, who do you say that I am?” And Peter responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!” (Matt. 16:16).

Jesus did not need to hear the answers to those questions. His disciples did. They needed to know as Jesus pivoted to the Cross, that he was the King of Glory. They needed to know that while everyone was looking for a political hope, he was their eternal hope. Jesus’ disciples still need to be sure of the difference between what looks like power and what is actually power.

According to exit polls, evangelical voters showed up in mass to elect Donald Trump. I recall another time in history when God’s people got their way with a ruler. The surrounding nations had a king, so they thought they needed one too. Instead of honoring their king and trusting God, they trusted their king and forgot their God. It was a good run, but not for long.

We should pray for Mr. Trump and that his administration will create a better environment for life and liberty in America, but we should only bow to and depend on the King Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise.

We have a new president, but the same enemy.

I woke up this morning to pray for and serve people who are trying to manage the carnage of pain that sin has left in their wake. The husband who is leaving his family still won’t return my calls. That teenager is still fighting against her mental demons. That man is still making decisions that will devastate his wife and daughters. That couple is still sacrificing their family on the altar of the American dream.

Satan is feeling no post-election blues. He knows our tendency is to place our affections on the things of earth and to idolize our leaders. He knows that if a Trump presidency makes evangelicals feel like winners, then he is still in play. The apostle Peter wrote:

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Whoever occupies the White House, our enemy is the same. He loses in the end, but until then, he seeks to destroy everything and everyone we love. So let us be sober and be alert, and keep our eyes on Jesus.

We have a new president, but the same neighbors.

If about half the country voted for Mrs. Clinton, then it is reasonable to assume that many of the people around us did too. Whatever we may think about Democratic policies, most of the people who voted for Mrs. Clinton believe that her policies would be better for the nation than Mr. Trump’s. Today, they are disappointed, and they are anxious.

The rest of our neighbors, who presumably voted for Mr. Trump, are likely optimistic and satisfied with the results. They believe that he will bring new hope for them and for our nation. But they will be disappointed sooner or later with his performance.

Jesus said that our second greatest responsibility, after loving his Father, is to love our neighbors as ourselves. If he said that all of the Law is summed up in these two commands, then it would seem reasonable for us to do whatever it takes to obey him by loving the people around us.

Whether they look like us, vote like us, or have the same hopes for our nation as we do, Jesus’ call on us is to love them. That great command means that we listen with empathy, speak the truth in love, share the gospel faithfully, and serve even when it hurts.

Almost 80 percent of the people in our community indicate no relationship with Jesus or a church. Today is a great day to show and share the Good News of Jesus with them.

We have a new president, but the same calling.

Government has the power to make the mission of the church easier or more difficult, but it does not have the power to change the mission of the church. The church can thrive under various forms of government, but it cannot thrive if it compromises on Jesus’ calling to make disciples who make disciples.

We can celebrate wins or grieve losses, but Jesus did not leave us here to garner political power. He has providentially left the church in America to win the world to Christ. It seems many evangelicals are not as willing to give their life for the gospel as much as they are to give themselves to their presidential hopeful.

What a tragedy it would be to win the White House and lose the souls of those God has given to our care. So let us examine the place of our deepest passions. Let us consider what thrills us and what grieves us. And then let us embrace the work of the evangelist so that we may win the world as the Day draws near.

We have a new president, but the same home.

I love America, but this is still not my home. During Jesus and Pilate’s sobering conversation, Jesus reminded the governor:

“My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.” (Matt. 18:36).

Because this is not Jesus’ kingdom, this is not our home either. God has blessed America, but America is not our future. We are literally passing through. We are living as exiles in a foreign land. We are ambassadors of Christ and our citizenship is in heaven.

While we look to heaven and wait for our coming King, we have a responsibility to seek the welfare of our city, our nation, and the peoples of the world. When God’s people were exiled in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah wrote,

This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. 7 Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.” (Jer. 29:4-7)

So while this is not our home, it is our steward of trust that God has given to us that the peoples of the world would know the goodness of our God. So let us live in the world with Christian distinction without being wooed by it. Let us pray for God’s favor that the world would experience his grace. And let us share Jesus so that the world would enjoy his presence forever with us when our time on earth is done.

This post was originally published here.