If you imagine the next election, or the election after that, is going to fix our problems, I would like to remind you of something: Elections will not save us.
I understand elections have consequences, and I hope godly people will be put in positions of authority, but our root problem is not political. I’ve participated in enough birthdays to witness people from both sides of the aisle populate offices at all levels—yet we’ve continued our descent into paganism. What our nation needs is a heart change.
People often complain, “We want better leadership.” The awkward truth is we want better leadership so we can continue our pursuit of “the good life.” We’d like better leaders so we can return to cheaper gas, lower food prices, and safer communities. I’d like to suggest a different agenda: Let’s determine to make pursuing a godly life our first priority. I think if we would do that, we will find better leadership AND a good life. But if we chase “the good life” without the intent of having a godly life, we’ll continue to watch the confusion and chaos grow.
If I had to choose one topic that could mark a pathway from where we are, to a better place for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren, it would be centered in the message of the cross of Jesus Christ. The redemptive work of Jesus of Nazareth—His death, burial, and resurrection—is the only hope we have for a different future.
A Judeo-Christian, biblical worldview, emerges from the fundamental principle that human beings are created in the image of God. It’s why we make statements like, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” When we say our nation was founded on this biblical worldview, we recognize treating one another with dignity and kindness isn’t something we automatically do because the government tells us to. We will only do that to the degree that our hearts are transformed by the power of God.
1 Samuel, chapter 16, verse 7 tells us, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The condition of our person is not determined by our sense of fashion, our bank accounts, or the house we live in, but by the condition of our hearts. The problem is you and I are descendants of Adam, born into a rebellious race. The whole Old Testament—with the sacrificial system, the Mosaic laws, and the rules—gives us some glimpses into what holiness and the character of God looks like. But the real effect of that was to show us we aren’t holy. No matter how hard we try, we can’t keep the rules. We can’t be good enough, moral enough, kind enough, or generous enough to earn our way into Heaven. We are powerless to redeem ourselves.
Jesus came that we might be delivered from that hopeless place. He broke the bondage of darkness and the power of rebellion over our lives. That is the point of the Jesus story. It’s what makes the cross so important. On the cross, a divinely-ordered exchange took place. The perfect, sinless, obedient, Son of God, took upon Himself all the judgment that was due for our rebellion and godlessness. He exhausted the curse for all we had been and done, so we might receive all the blessings due to His perfect obedience. He took the punishment that we might have the blessing. It’s such an amazing gift we’ve been given, and we cannot afford to treat it casually.
Consider the perspective of the Apostle Paul, who wrote to the Philippians, “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ.”
Jesus took the punishment so my life could be changed for time and eternity, and that’s true for you, too. That’s the reason we’re called “Christ-followers.” But our faith isn’t just about a ticket for eternity. It’s about a journey through time. It has the power to transform every part of our person, setting us free from rejection, shame, hurt, and disappointment, and giving us the strength to overcome.
Life is harder than we would like it to be, but finding this freedom in our personal lives can equip us to help those around us, too. The world needs more of Jesus, and that comes through you and me. It’s time to tell your God-stories to the people around you. Pray for them. Determine to talk about the change Jesus has brought into your life, and the difference He can make in theirs. Jesus didn’t commission only the pastors, the evangelists, the prophets, or whomever you think should go—the Boss is sending you!
Onward in Him,
Pastor Allen Jackson