Not Of This World

Following the election defeat and months of resistance by Trump culminating in the inglorious assault on our nation’s Capitol, a lot of Christians are disappointed. Their hero in office, the one who delivered on key issues and stood up for their causes, is grudgingly giving up his office. His boastful rhetoric has proven to be little more than sour grapes and undefendable bluster. Like the rest of the nation, these same Christians are shocked and appalled at the events that unfolded. They are suddenly aware that their strong position has evaporated into thin air.  Leftists are calling for heads and have the backing of powerful media and the legislative majority. Nervous Christians everywhere are no longer talking loud. They are running for the hills, hiding behind rocks and in caves, cowering like dogs with their tails between their legs. 

For Christians nervous about their exposed position and the beginning of another four long years of liberal agenda, this is a time to pause and reflect. Your bullet-proof case of voter fraud was dismissed. Senators are blaming you and other Trump voters for all the evil that has transpired. You are as bad as the thugs who desecrated the sacred ground. You are seething about all this, and your anger should raise some flags.  Not Confederate or “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, but metaphorical warning flags. You’re taking politics way too seriously. You have hitched Christianity to the conservative Republican platform. That is an association that Jesus never intended for you to make.

When questioned by Pontius Pilate as to whether or not He was King of the Jews, Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:35).  That statement alone informs us that following Christ is a matter of living differently. Christians serve a different King. It is not Trump nor Biden nor Putin nor Elizabeth. In Christ’s Kingdom, Christians serve King Jesus. 

Jesus Before Pilate

Jesus went on to say, “If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” (John 18:36). The invasion of the Capitol was conducted by rightwing fanatics. The media got it right this time, calling it a “riot”, not just a mere protest. If there were Christians in that fray, fully convinced in their just cause, they were greatly mistaken. If there were Christians watching from their homes, shouting approval of this act of terrorism, their zeal is unfounded. They are Peter with the sword in the garden, severing the servant’s ear only to be rebuked by our Lord. They are missing the point entirely. They are not following their King. Jesus’ servants do not fight. Not this way.

There is a time for fighting. There is also a time for surrendering. Christians need to discern the times. 

In Jeremiah’s day, the Jews suffered the indignation of defeat and were forced to live in slavery in Babylon. The talking heads of the day advocated resistance to Babylonian rulers. God’s message was different. He wanted them to go. The way of faith was to be content in the bad situation, to seek God’s provision in the midst of it. The stubborn ones remained in Jerusalem and tried to fight their way to freedom. For them, living under foreign rule was unthinkable, clearly not God’s will. But they were greatly mistaken. As a result, they were cursed for the rest of their miserable lives, kept under siege, starving, and devoid of hope. 

To those Christians living in the bondage of a liberal, godless government, God says the same thing He told the exiles living in Babylon: 

“Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 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 have welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7). 

This is not the time to fight. Stop the bickering and complaining. Go live your life in peace, multiply, occupy yourself with work, and bless your neighbors.

It is rare that a secular government sides with Christian faith. America has been unique in that regard. The faith of our founding fathers left its mark on our currency, our mottos, and our manifestos. For two hundred years, the majority has sided with timeless Judeo-Christian values. Christians have grown accustomed to this, and celebrate the USA like it was the Kingdom itself. Christians should not grow so fond of the USA. Their citizenship is in heaven, not here (Philippians 3:20). Christians oppose illegal immigration, but ironically are supposed to consider themselves aliens (I Peter 2:11). 

I’m surprised that Christians don’t realize there is no USA in the end. Democracies like the USA are the feet of iron mixed with clay in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream–apparently strong, but surprisingly brittle (Daniel 2:41-43). It is only a matter of time before spiritually bankrupt humanistic thinking becomes the majority in the land. It is already happening. It should come as no surprise that the USA will run its course like all the great nations preceding it.

This should not cause Christians to grieve too loudly. The USA is not the Kingdom Jesus was talking about with Pilate. His Kingdom is not of this world. Christians, too, are not of this world.

Life has been relatively easy for Christians until now. This is not necessarily a good thing. Christians have become idolatrous, claiming faith in God but secretly relying on the strength of the nation and relishing in its prosperous economy. Many have grown self-reliant and lukewarm, like the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-22. 

The distinguishing mark of the Christian is best seen in the midst of persecution. They live quiet lives, filled with inexplicable peace. They don’t take vengeance in anger or whine and complain on Facebook. They are zealous, not for retaliation, but for prayer and good deeds. They pay Joe Biden’s high taxes because Jesus told them to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21).  They entrust their souls to God, which frees them to love their enemies and seek the welfare of the nation. They live a quiet life. May Christians everywhere do these things, appealing to Almighty God.

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