WHAT INFLUENCES YOU MOST?


Mark 8:14-15 – “And they had forgotten to take bread; and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”  NASB

I desire to address an issue that is both a topic for a devotional and a topic for a discussion of our current state of affairs in society and government.  Therefore, I am walking a thin line in both groups and hope that I can sufficiently articulate my views and concerns so they will resonate and benefit.  If I can, this exercise has been worth the time to write it and your time to read it.  I care about people, about America, and about what God desires for us individually and collectively. 

I am deeply concerned about the current condition of society and the church.  I see division, not just in political camps but within the Body of Christ.  Some would say, division has always existed in Church groups or sects, and I agree.  That is not what I mean, I mean division within the same local congregations and national church organizations.  I mean division in the same household and the same family.  Any house or group that is divided against itself is doomed to collapse and devolve into nothingness. 

Any political or religious system or group that evolves to the place that it exists only to perpetuate itself becomes tyrannical.  The most vicious wars ever conducted in human history were religious wars.  The spirit of religious hypocrisy is incredibly mean and unyielding.  Likewise, the spirit of political supremacy is also mean and unyielding.  Both seek to be in control and out of that control the legalistic imposition of the accepted thought and actions produces restrictions that stymie imagination and innovation.  In a measure, it becomes comply or die.

Jesus addressed the danger to His disciples in the passage I listed at the outset.  Leven represents influence and influence is driven by the opinion of men.  Jesus’ message is sometimes overlooked by today’s Christian is unmistakable.  He was warning His followers that what they allowed to influence them would dominate their thoughts and shape not only their worldview but be the source of their trust. 

I hear the arguments about “Separation of Church and State” and it is deemed to mean that nothing of the Church, the Bible, or God can be used to influence or a part of the civic or public debate and agenda.  That is foreign to what the founders intended and certainly not consistent with the teachings of Jesus. 

I have, on numerous occasions, cited, Jefferson and others regarding that false idea that the founders wanted nothing of the Bible, Christianity, or the Church to have any influence on government.  They wanted to protect the church from government intervention and sought the aid of God and the input of religious leaders of their day.  They also included prayer in their deliberations.

Jesus said that we are to be ‘salt and light’ in this world.  That means that we are to be the influencers, not the influenced.  We are to bring about a change in our culture, not our culture changing us.  We are to bring the presence, power, peace, and love of God into every situation and allow the influence of His Spirit and Presence to alter the hostility and change the direction of individuals and nations from wrong paths to right paths.

Sadly, today many are focused on what the media reports, and are hearing more of the bad news than reading the Good News of God’s Word.  I have talked with preachers and politicians who live with paralyzing trepidation regarding public opinion.  They always test the waters to see which way the winds of opinion are blowing before taking a stand.  They modify their message and agenda based on the polls or their research of the public opinion.  Right does not change based on public opinion.  Right is right even if no one wants to pursue it. 

Only a tiny amount of any leavening agent is required to transform an entire lump of dough.  Jesus was warning that it only requires a small amount of the ideology and influence of Herod (Human Government) and the Pharisees (Religion) to turn the heart away from God and His Purposes to the desires of man. 

What we need in both the church and in government are for bold men and women who fearlessly pursue the Truth and Right.  We need those prophetic voices, soothing pastoral voices, guiding apostolic voices, and the patriots and statesmen to step to the front and point the right direction without fear and undue influence by the opinion of men. 

As a Christian, I am devoted to obedience to Christ and the Word of God.  As an American, a Patriot, a Veteran, and a Lover of Freedom I am devoted to following the Constitution and doing what is right regardless of the sway of public opinion.  If public opinion is consistent with what is right and with the directives of God, then the nation will move forward in healing and prosper in all aspects of life and relationships.  When public opinion is relegated to sects, biases, groups, division, and political-ideological pursuits the discord and division will grow and healing will be impeded if not impossible.

In the 2020 elections, we have the opportunity and I believe a mandate to look to what is right, good, and God not personalities.  Man, regardless of gender, is a flawed vessel.  No matter who the candidate is, he or she is a flawed vessel and has kinks in their armor.  Each has their inner failings and are burdened with the history of their good and their bad.  Elections should never be about the individual but the agenda. 

As a Christian and a believer in the viewing the Constitution in the grid of original intent, I cannot reconcile things like abortion.  I cannot endorse elevating any ethnicity higher than another.  I cannot accept the idea that there are more than two genders for the Bible declares that God created humans as male and female, not 101 or 501 variations.  God did not make a mistake when He gave me male chromosomes and male genitalia nor you when He gave you the chromosomes and genitalia you have. 

If we want to progress as a society and find unity and harmony as a nation it is invaluable for us to recognize, as did our founding fathers, the divine and the providence of the Almighty.  If we stop looking at people through the grid of our pain, hurts, wounds, jealousy, envy, greed, or biases and would view them as creations of God we can heal.  If we do not, we will continue the decline in our interpersonal and political relationships.  If politically we make the Republic, the focus not personal preferences and personal benefit we will progress and heal.  If we do not, we will continue our downward spiral.

I realize that some who read this may not believe in God and may not identify as Christians, but I hope everyone who reads it will desire healing for the nation.  The Democrats are not your enemy nor are the Republicans.  Trump is not your enemy nor is Biden.  The enemy is the influence of evil and we all prosper when we create a condition where all have the recognized freedom and liberty to Life, Liberty, and enable them to freely pursue Happiness.  That was the objective at the beginning of America and should be the objective in 2020. 

How you vote is your decision.  You can hate Trump, conservatives, and me and rail against us and that will only divide more.  You can hate Pelosi, Biden, and Liberals and rail against them and that will only divide further.  We can take an invitation of Jesus to heart and find healing.  He said, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for our souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”  (Matthew 11:29-30).  If we follow His lead in all things life will become much easier and sweeter.  That is true in every aspect including the political.

God bless you and God bless America!

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