GUEST ARTICLEDid You Vote?
The nations eyes and ears have been tuned in to the state of Florida in recent days. The direction of our nations leadership is in question, and Americans are deeply divided.
There are difficult problems to be faced by our nation: abortion, taxation, family values, homosexual legitimacy, care for seniors, free markets, moral and cultural decay, etc. These problems, and how they are addressed, will be of supreme importance to the future of our nation.
But how can YOU help the nation solve these and other serious problems in a way that will improve the lives of our children and grandchildren?
Someone may first reply, VOTE! However, many feel that voting would violate their conscience since the Bible clearly teaches that God is ultimately in charge of the rulers of the nations, and He establishes their domain and habitation. Others feel that the ballot is a blessing bestowed upon Christians in our country to influence the direction of the government, and, hence, our nation.
Regardless of your personal conviction on whether to vote or not, the reality is that voting is not the most effective way to influence the course of this country. But here are three ways that are effective, and they are things that YOU can do today to change our country for the better.
We are enjoined to pray for the leaders in high places (1 Tim. 2:1-4). But how often do we neglect meaningful prayer for our leaders? Do you believe that your prayers are effective? Or, has the world influenced you to believe that prayer is simply a comforting, yet meaningless exercise?
The Lord is listening. And He does answer the prayers of His saints in accordance with His will. Study the prayers of Christ, and those prayers of the early church recorded in the book of Acts. Jesus and His disciples were believers in prayer. We should be, too.
The prayers we offer on behalf of our leaders should not be in the same mode as a football fan praying for his team to win the superbowl. Such prayers are prayers of selfishness and are vain. Rather, we need to pray substantive prayers on behalf of our leaders. Pray for our leaders to preserve justice, to have soft hearts that can be influenced by truth, and to protect the values of our country that help the church to flourish. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, the purpose of praying for our leaders is clear so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.
We need to pray for the soft hearts of our nation as well. We, as a culture, are becoming so hardened by cynicism and sin. We have become liars, because everyone lies. We take advantage of others, because if we dont get whats ours first, someone else will. We are more interested in our rights, rather than what is right.
If the hearts of this nation are ever to be penetrated by the seed, they must embrace humility and begin to soften.
What value is prayer apart from action? James says that our prayers must be of faith (1:6). But in the next chapter, he emphasizes that our faith is empty unless it is characterized by action (2:15-26).
If I lose my job and pray to God for His assistance, I shouldnt expect a miracle from heaven to relieve my condition. My faith in the Lords providence does not relieve me from active involvement in solving my problems.
Even so, our prayers for Gods providential working in our nation do not preempt the necessity of our own action. And the first action we need to take is to look in the mirror.
Back to James:
Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing (1:21-25).
I need to step back and examine myself in the mirror of Gods word. Am I living righteously? is the question I need to ask. If you really want to help our country, you need to ask that same question.
The Bible clearly teaches that the righteousness of a nations citizens determines its success, and the lack of it contributes to its demise.
- Our world would not have been covered under the flood in Noahs day if the citizens of earth had not corrupted their way upon the earth (Gen. 6:12).
- The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared had ten righteous souls been found (Gen. 18:32).
- The nation of Israel would not have suffered in the days of the judges had the people not pursued that which was right in their own eyes (Jud. 17:6).
- The wise man said, Righteousness exalteth a nation; But sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34).
We need to follow this wise advice. If you really want to help our nation, open Gods word, embrace it, live righteously before Him, and He will bless you and our nation as well.
PREACH THE GOSPEL
If righteousness exalts a nation, then it stands to reason that the measure of exaltation will be increased proportionately to the level of righteousness.
Prayer will help, practicing righteousness will help more, but the greatest impact you can make on this nation is to preach the gospel.
Remember that Paul wrote to Timothy that we should pray for our leaders so we might lead a tranquil and quiet life (1 Tim. 2:1-4). The text further reveals that this tranquil and quiet life is not the end, but rather a means to achieving Gods objective: to have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.
The more we evangelize and convert sinners to Christ, the more His influence will spread and dominate the communities in which we live. The parable of the leaven teaches this very principle (Mt. 13:33ff).
In the parable of the sower, Christ illustrated the principle of sowing the seed of the gospel among the hearts of man, and reaping the bounty from those with good hearts. But the good heart will never bring forth fruit if there isnt sowing. And the sowing must be repetitive. The hearts illustrated in this parable demonstrate this point. Not everyone will be receptive, not everyone will be loyal, but the sowing must continue so that it might find that fertile soil.
Pray, practice righteousness, and preach the gospel! One faithful person can make much more of a difference than one vote! What a difference we would see if each one of us tried to follow this plan diligently, even for thirty days.
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