Unity

John 17:1-5

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Unless you live under a rock you know what today is…Election Day. For many November 3rd has been an anxiously awaited day; perhaps if none other than to get it over with and no longer see yard signs and flags around every corner. Voting is a marker for our Democracy and a long fought for right as American citizens, yet as our current polarization has been fed by social media (to see more of how this has happened intentionally, check out Social Dilemma on Netflix) and extreme allegiance to a party, politics has served to further divided friends, families, and perhaps most heart-breaking, the Church. Many of us question how to walk in accordance with God’s word and balance this duty as American citizens; honoring those who have fought for the freedoms we now experience and the ability to cast a ballot with Godly wisdom and conviction.

Ive seen many arguments on both sides of the isle about how “you can’t be a Christian and support ____”.  2020 has been a year of division. Just look around, search on Facebook, Twitter, turn on the news and it’s easy to spot. Unfortunately, when we look at the Church we see a lot of the same things that we see in non-Christian culture. Throughout scripture one of Satan’s most sneaky tactics has been to divide the people of God.

As followers of Jesus, America is not our ultimate home; our Kingdom will endure and our King will be on the throne regardless of who holds the presidency. Despite what some would have us believe, Jesus never promised to bring about civil or government prosperity. The Jews believed that Jesus would come in the form of an earthly king—slaying the rulers and authorities of the Roman Empire and saving them from unjust society. Yet God had a different plan. Jesus came as a servant carpenter who would flip upside-down the ideas of what society thought would save them or make them powerful. God’s people have lived, spreading the message of this new, upside-down kingdom as aliens and foreigners in their lands for centuries now, believing that God can and does use human authority to bring about just societies, but ultimately trusting that Christ will return and only then can true unity and peace reign on the earth. Will we put our trust in man or Christ today? Will we believe that even if our ideas of what political policies should be valued are not transferred into presidential power, that God will walk with and be faithful to his people?

We have and are allowing secular political system and candidates to divide believers on all fronts. The world is looking for the Church of Christ to be different, unified, and willing to not allow political ideas to fuel flames of hatred and slander. Love your enemies, bless those who persecute you. Derwin Gray says this: “Don’t let an elephant or a donkey rip apart what the Lamb brought together.”

Woodland Hills is part of the Restoration Movement of churches. In the 1800s by Barton Stone and Thomas and Alexander Campbell began this movement out of deep distraught over the divisions occurring in denominationalism. These men believed that the unity of the church was essential and would propel the message of the gospel to the world because of this desire to have all things in common; to be “Christians only”. One slogan we learned in studying the Restoration Movement principles sticks out: “In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things love.” What a shame that the unity that so many of these church fathers worked for is being broken down by our need to champion political figures over our genuine empathy and affection for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We must be in prayer. Prayer for our country. Prayer for our families. Prayer for both sides of the system (that I would argue are both flawed). We have endlessly searched for men to be our savior. They won't. They can’t be. Only Jesus can do that.

Our freedom is secure in Christ both now and forever (2 Corinthians 3:17). Let’s not forget that today.

Pray

Holy Father,
Thank you for preparing a place for Your people to be with You forever. Lord, while we are on this earth, we participate in earthly systems of government, and it is important to do so with integrity. However, Your Word says that we are citizens of Your Kingdom first and foremost. Help us to remember the results of this election are only important for a brief moment in time, but the more important work is to be done for the eternal kingdom. Show us people who do not know You as their Savior so we can share the Gospel. Grow love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, even if they vote for a different party in this election, because we will spend eternity worshipping You, and this election only matters during this earthly existence. Keep our eyes on You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
- Prayer found at crosswalk.com
Nick and Heather Viers, November 3, 2020
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