This morning I was reading in Psalms and was drawn to a few Scriptures. While I pondered them, I decided to paint all of my nails and have coffee. As I was working on this little self project, I began to feel the Holy Spirit fill the room and speak to me. I will try to articulate what was impressed upon me, but even if this sounds a bit disjointed, trust me, I’m going somewhere.
Psalm 33:13-22 (NLT)
The Lord looks down from heaven
and sees the whole human race.
From his throne he observes
all who live on the earth.
He made their hearts,
so he understands everything they do.
The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—
for all its strength, it cannot save you.
But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.
Recently, a friend of mine and I were talking, briefly, about politics and the glut of anti-government permeating the internet. I’m not all that into politics and believe God works things out in His time, but it does sadden me to see many of the headlines and captioned photos regarding our government heads. God is love, I know and believe this will all my heart (1 John 4:8), and if we are to live biblically, I believe we need to consider this Scripture wholeheartedly. In all of this political mayhem and corruption, I often think we have forgotten about seriously praying for our leaders. Too quickly, we judge them by their actions and forget the office they hold; too often we jump on the “anti-whatever” bandwagon instead of getting in our prayer closets to pray for them. Regardless of their actions, they hold an anointed office, and we must dig our heels in to pray, in all seriousness, for them while they are in office. David had opportunities to kill King Saul, but refused to touch him for Saul was anointed by the Lord in his office as King. David had done nothing (much like most of us our government decides to persecute), yet because Saul was king, he did not strike him down, nor did he slander him (1 Samuel 24:6). As Christians, there are many lessons in politics we can learn from the story of David and Saul, and we must study this biblical perspective to increase our understanding of politics today. If we have no love for our fellow man, how can we call ourselves by Christ’s name and effectively pray for our leadership?
Often, myself included, we forget others are also human and prone to make mistakes. We see outwardly, but God sees the hearts of all men (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 33:13-15). Because we aren’t able to see the heart of a person, we should not be quick to judge actions and behaviors, condemning them based on what we see. We should not label others based on our perception of reality and surrounding circumstances. Each and every action and thought we have should be heaven-centered and love should be our crown. I understand and know how difficult it is to be love centered; it is, after all, much easier to condemn and walk away from difficult people and tough circumstances. It is easy to leave things to the hands of others and not get into the trenches, but is that what God really wants us to do as a Church? Who are we to condemn the lifestyles, decisions or actions of others? When we speak condemnation into the lives of others, whether directly or indirectly, we risk keeping God from moving in the situation and discourage the Holy Spirit from using us fully to bring glory to God.
Groupthink – this is a term I first heard in college, yet has been popping up a lot lately in my thinking. One definition of it is, according to Dictionary.com:
the lack of individual creativity, or of a sense of personal responsibility, that is sometimes characteristic of group intereaction. With the internet, I am of the opinion that groupthink is more of a reality than a concept, especially within these harsh political waters. We must break out of the habit of following the crowd, and follow our Shepherd instead. We must react to others with Christ-like behavior, and not conformity to what someone else believes. We must test everything we hear, everything we see, everything we do to make sure it lines up with God. I speak to myself as well as to you regarding this. I, too, have been guilty of groupthink, but God has been gradually guiding my thoughts to be more in tune with His Spirit (1 John 4:1).
The other definition of groupthink is
the practice of approaching problems or issues as matters that are best dealt with by consensus of a group rather than by individuals acting independently; conformity. This is where I believe unity within the Church comes into play (1 Timothy 2: 1-3). We must be unified in our prayer for others, not just on a personal level, but on a corporate and national level. We must be unified to pray for heaven to touch our earth, and for God to use us to bring this to pass. In our political climate, regardless of the issue, we must take a posture of love and pray for those in office to have encounters with the living God, and to lead and guide our nation according to His principles and love.
It all comes down to love. When we love as God loves, change happens. When we trust God to change our hearts to love as He loves, we will reap the rewards of such love. Our best example of this was Jesus, Himself. He walked this earth, touching those on the fringes of society, drawing the lost and forgotten to His love. He never condemned anyone; the only people He ever challenged were the religious elite, who themselves condemned others. He died and rose again so we could enjoy reconciliation with our heavenly Father, and He gave us life eternal through this act of love. We are human and as humans, it can be difficult to love those in authority over us, to love those society, and even the Church, deems unworthy of love or unlovable, but we must constantly ask for God to increase our capacity to love as He loves. Colossians 1:8 says, “He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you” (NLT).
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Let us be quick to pray for ALL men with loving and serious hearts. Let us approach the Lord in expectation that He will answer our sincere prayers in the political, corporate and personal arenas, and set our hearts to trust Him and fully love others.
Lord, thank You for Your everlasting love. Baptize us in this love and increase our capacity to love. Help us to overcome the concept of following man, of trusting in man, of trusting and following in man’s reality and strengthen us to forge ahead by trusting solely in You. May You touch the hearts and minds of all the people of this earth, revealing Yourself to us, softening even the hardest of hearts. May we test every spirit, even those within the Body, and grant us greater discernment to know which is from You and which is not. Father, awaken Your Church, bring us to unity and take from us our conformity to this world. We desire for heaven to touch earth, to live by Your Spirit, to be the change in this world You desire us to be. Let us come before You with sincere hearts to pray for all men, to lift up our governments on all levels and to pray as You would have us pray, not to pray from a place of fearfulness, but from a place of trust in You. Father, show us Your glory. Let us be a Church looking ever upward into heaven and be vessels of Your love to those here on earth. Father, You deserve all honor, all glory and all praise for our hope is in You. We stand before You today in the loving name of Jesus, Amen.