OUR ULTIMATE HOPE
Unless you’ve managed to disconnect from all forms of media, you may have noticed that the election season is beginning to heat up. The Republican National Convention took place this past week, and the Democratic National Convention will take place this coming week. For some of you, the temptation will be to withdraw, avoid all of the commotion, and wait for this to pass. Meanwhile, others may risk placing unmerited hope in the election of a particular leader to fix all of our countries problems and usher in peace on earth.
Despite the negative reputation and tendency toward corruption, politics matters. Elections have consequences, and as followers of Jesus, we have a responsibility for the world in which we live. We should care who our leaders are, we should pray for all of them, and we should seek to shape a just society that honors God and reflects His will for this world (Ps. 99:4; Micah 6:8).
Nevertheless, we must maintain our witness as Christians. We are first and foremost called to be ambassadors for a Heavenly King (2 Cor. 5:20), not loyal partisans for flawed human leaders. Even within First Baptist Church, we have a diversity of political perspectives and deeply-held convictions, which means we also have a unique opportunity in how we demonstrate our loyalty to Christ during times of political tension.
To begin with, we can show the priority that the Lord holds in our lives by how we treat others. Jesus could not have been more clear about this. “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We are commanded to love each other in the same way Jesus has loved us in order to prove to everyone that we are His followers. This is especially true in how we treat those with whom we disagree. Each encounter, whether in person or via social media, is an opportunity for you to confirm or deny your primary commitment to Christ.
We can also demonstrate our faith in how we react to adversity. Regardless of who leads in the polls or is eventually elected, many of you will have cause to be discouraged and anxious for the future of our country. You may even feel it appropriate to grieve. However, my encouragement to you is to avoid grieving like those who have no hope (1 Thes. 4:13). Yes, these are disheartening times within our country, and we are called to weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15), but we must never forget that God is still on His throne, and He still rules sovereignly over this universe. Our ultimate hope is in His promise, and for that we can always rejoice!