The greatest need of our nation isn’t merely to elect a certain individual, but to recognize a certain God. And the greatest battle in the coming years won’t be decided at any ballot box, but will be fought and waged in churches, communities, and even on the internet. That battle is a fight to believe in the God of the Bible or to reject Him. To come to Jesus Christ in faith, seeking forgiveness, pledging repentance, or to reject Him as an antiquated idea.
Because, and here’s the thing, that’s all it’s ever come down to: You and God. You and Jesus. Want to change the world? It starts with you and God. I truly believe that because God is the only One who I’ve ever seen who can change a person, quite literally, from the inside out.
It’s not all the political back and forth that changes the world, it’s the people who change and in turn, impact their world. It’s the compassion that loves a brother, gives to the needy, forgives someone who has wronged you, makes sacrifices for the good of others, and lives a life of righteousness that God can bless.
At a time when our nation could use God’s blessing, it’s important to recognize what God has already been telling us. Telling us through natural disasters, through terrorism, through a war that bogged us down and others that spring up, and through a financial crisis that threatens the economy of the world. These things remind us in much the same way a personal crisis such as a loss of a job reminds us. Life can change in an instant. Only God can control the uncontrollable.
In fact, the Bible says He does. Says so in Matthew 10: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” (Jesus) Matthew 10:29. Says so in Amos. “When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?” -Amos 3:6
People have taught wrongly over the years, taking verses out of context, and ignoring the ones I’ve just quoted. For them, God will protect, provide and prosper you as long as you have faith. God is reduced to spiritual toaster so all you have to do is put the bread in at the top, push the lever down, wait three minutes and wah-la! Toast!
Except God also brings disaster, He judges people in nations, not because they didn’t have enough faith, but because they had too much sin. Because they weren’t right with Him and finally, judgment came. You can see this throughout the Old Testament, but a shorter example is in the New Testament. The Corinthians were suffering, and several had become weak or sick or even died. At the same time, they were doing some very irreverent and sinful things. Concerning their attitude toward Communion, Paul wrote this:
For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. -I Corinthians 11:29-30
And we could stop there and start bemoaning all sorts things about ourselves and our churches and who we might vote for, but notice the very next sentence:
But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.-I Corinthians 11:29-31
That’s pretty cool because that my brothers and sisters, is an actual solution! The solution, according to the Bible, is repentance. Do you want to avoid God’s judgment? Repent. Do you want to keep from being punished by God? Get right with Him. Do you want to be delivered from suffering, from the crisis and trials you face? Then humble yourself before the Lord.
Now wait, be careful. Repentance is not an attitude that comes out of selfish reasons, such as the thief on the cross who demanded Jesus come down off the cross and save him as well. He was willing to believe in Christ as long as Christ helped him out.
Real repentance means recognizing your own sinfulness before God. Real repentance honors God, out of the sheer principle of the thing, regardless of whether or not God immediately brings deliverance. As Chef Ramsey tried to do to the owner of a restaurant on the reality show: “Kitchen Nightmares”, so God demands of us: Quit blaming others, and take responsibility. Only in the Bible, it’s between you and God not you and a restaurant staff…
That’s what the OTHER thief on the cross did. No, not start a restaurant, but make things right between himself and God:
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
He didn’t even ask to be brought down off the cross. How many people today wouldn’t think of speaking to Jesus without asking for some sort of physical blessing? See, there’s the attitude there that admits wrongdoing between you and God. Do you want to be right with Him? It starts there.