Contemplation, Culture, Spiritual Life

Refocusing on the Gospel in the midst of Covid

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
Galatians 5:13-15

I’m politically conservative, and I’ve believed from the beginning that the Covid situation has been massively abused for political reasons, that truth has been suppressed in favor of social narratives and political power, and that many of the steps national and local government have taken are unconstitutional and wrong. I’ve voiced openly this past season my concerns at the abuse of political power during this pandemic.

So I think I should voice just as openly, even more, that far more importantly I believe this: the gospel is not political. The gospel is bigger than politics. The gospel is true for a free America and a restricted America. Don’t set your hope and your joy and your fulfillment on the political status of our country, or our world. While I may not agree with the right or wrongness of some of the limitations, what does scripture say? We’re told in 1 Peter 2 to honor in submission the authority placed over us; and elsewhere Jesus instructed His followers to “render to Caesar’s that which is Caesar’s.” Even Jesus Himself submitted to the authority of the very council which put Him to death, though He, being God, had every power to rain judgement down on their evil political designs. After all, the Christian walk was never meant to be one of easy comfort. It’s a given that there will be suffering, persecution, and hurt. So how do we respond to that?

My government has placed restrictions on me that are uncomfortable and inconvenient- I’d go so far as to say even wrong. But my allegiance in my heart and spirit is to God, not them- if God through His word instructs us obey our civil authorities; to suffer patiently, knowing that every suffering we endure cannot compare to the weight of glory prepared for us; that we must press on towards the goal of the hope set before us; to consider even these trials as joy because of the good which God works through the testing of our faith; that our freedom is not about us, but about loving our neighbors; that we must consider others more important than ourselves; and here’s a big one: that WE ARE AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST- how are we representing Jesus to the world around us? Does Jesus get a bad name because of our selfish outrage?

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying you should be neutral in your political beliefs- I’m saying it should ALWAYS come second in priority to the everlasting, never giving up love of Jesus, and that love should be spoken FAR LOUDER than the outrage of our dislike for the political powers that be.

Where is your focus? Is it on this world and your personal agenda? Or is it on God, eternity, and the kingdom HE is building? It’s okay to care about the former- but the moment our discontent with our broken system (as if we should expect any better in a sin stained world) drowns out our passion for the love of Jesus and His passion for us, and the love of our neighbors made in His image (no worse than we, I might add) we’ve lost a Christ-like perspective and lose a true Ambassador status as a true representative of Christ Jesus.

Show the love of Jesus, my friends, because it’s bigger and better and richer and deeper and eternally everlasting, as opposed to the fleeting comforts and annoyances of this world. Souls are on the line- why waste energy on judging whether someone wears a mask or not, when what they need far more than a mask or their personal liberty is a relationship with the eternally loving Father.

This passage and these thoughts were convicting to me when I read them in light of this situation. And while I still believe the things I believe politically and socially, this was a call to me to repent for my judgment and irritation, and remember where my real allegiance lies and that my priorities have been out of whack. The gospel can bridge every gap; every racial, socio-economic, political, and preferential difference. The gospel is where our focus must be. Let’s adjust our posture from looking downwards and inwards, aiming at our personal comfort, and trade it in for the upward calling of Christ Jesus, looking toward and aiming at eternity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Peace to all! 💙

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