Jesus First, Issues Second

©marcolm freedigitalphotos.net

©marcolm freedigitalphotos.net

As American presidential candidates enter the arena, it’s time for my quadrennial series of posts about our thoughts, words and behavior as Christians around this event. I always seem to approach this with a heavy heart. I worry my words will be ignored by those whose conviction is more important than relationship. Not with me, but with Jesus.

 

 

So, I begin this first post with a prayer for unity – one Jesus himself prayed.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:20-23)

As we become more enamored with our thoughts and decisions, the more we become convinced of the way it ought to be. We’re so convinced we become converted to our reasons to win – our agendas to advance – our rules to follow – the ones we massage and manipulate and put in Jesus’ mouth.

29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:29-30)

How many of us in the Western World have decided it is our right – no, our God-given destiny – to enter or participate in politics in a way that allows us to speak with authority about “issues.” How many of us have decided “our side” needs to win elections and carry out God’s will?

It’s not about what we DO for Jesus. It’s about our relationship with Him. It is clear Jesus did not consider power, wealth, authority and status important. When Salome, the mother of James and John, (who Jesus nicknamed the sons of thunder) begged Jesus to give her sons special status, he responded in a way that made it unequivocal to Salome and to all the disciples what he thought about such things (emphasis mine):

25 Jesus called the apostles and said, “You know that the rulers of nations have absolute power over people and their officials have absolute authority over people. 26 But that’s not the way it’s going to be among you. Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. 27 Whoever wants to be most important among you will be your slave. 28 It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him. He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

How many of us are sons and daughters of thunder when it comes to our own righteousness? How many of us are immovably on one side of the abortion / LGBT / prayer in schools / immigration / second amendment issues? Why do these have to be arguments or litmus tests?

Why do we allow The Enemy to throw us into disunion over these questions?

How many give The Enemy a foothold by ranting on Facebook, “liking” a negative comment, telling or passing along a political joke, or refusing or forgetting to pray for those in office?

How many vote for rulers rather than advocates? Arrogant leaders rather than humble servants? Divisive politicians rather than representatives who work for unity?

If you think Jesus’ words are different than the Father’s or weaker than God’s, think again:

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.

John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.”

John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Whatever else is going on, we must remember to walk with Jesus.We must trust his words, not words we wish he had said. If we show contempt, sarcasm or bitterness; if we resort to nastiness, hostility and hatefulness, all we do is place stumbling blocks in front of those who may have been walking toward Jesus. We hide our light in obscurity. We contaminate our salt.

 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

20 comments

  1. […] And every presidential election year I pray. I began praying back in April last year. […]

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  2. […] And every presidential election year I pray. I began praying back in April last year. […]

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  3. Thank you, Susan. I will.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on The Curious Introvert-Book Reviews and Other Fun Things and commented:
    I could not have said it better my self. Jesus first, Issues second.

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    1. Thanks for the reblog, Susan. ❤

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      1. You are more than welcome. It is a great and full of thought blog post.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan recently I had to repent and ask the Lord to forgive me. You see for sometime now I have lost my desire to save the lost. What I mean is everything else takes priority. The lost are just there right. This is the wrong attitude for me to have. When I read your post it made me think about how I can get caught up in the world and forget or play second fiddle to the single most important thing I can do. That is pray and seek out the lost that they might have a relationship with Jesus. I don’t watch or listen to the talking heads either. For sometime I felt like I was doing all I could to reach the lost. Then I realized I cannot even weep for them. Do i really care about them ? Anyway I want highjack your blog. Your post just stirred my heart. I will write on the lost on my blog soon. Good to see you back Susan. Great post!!

    Much Love Tom

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    1. Tom, I think we all get lost in our own troubles sometimes – they can be overwhelming simply because we’re human. I also believe God grants us time and grace to do that. As soon as we ask for help, he pours out his grace and love upon us and lights our way.

      Feel free to hijack away, Tom. Thank you for the warm and welcoming comments. You’re such a blessing.

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  6. This is right on, Susan. You cannot remind us too often. Do you permit people to share your blog post?

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    1. Absolutely, Susan. The more the merrier! 🙂 Share away. And have a great weekend.

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  7. Amen, Susan. Good word. I was delivered of 24-hour news channels several years ago. 🙂 While some Christians are called into politics, to serve our countries this way, Jesus said to be careful of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod (Mark 8:15). These are the religious spirits and political spirits, respectively. The political spirit is a divisive and factional spirit, the opposite of the spirit of Christ. So, while politics is important, we need to beware of this insidious spirit taking us captive. Thanks again for your prayers and reminding us of who we are in Christ, and to whom our allegiance belongs. I join you in your prayer. Blessings.

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    1. Amen, Mel. I, too, used to watch those news channels and the political “talking” heads until I woke up to the fact that everyone was yelling and no one was listening.
      I’ll be writing and praying about this continually until the end of next year. Thank you for your added prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Susan,
    It is interesting that you have written about this just at this moment. In Uk as you probably know, we are embarking on a general election. What may be lesser known is that in some areas there are two local elections, Including for us one for a series of towns which make up our District, and one for the small semi-rural town within which I live. Out of the blue, people from one of the parties approached me and asked me to stand for the local town council. I joined the party and agreed to stand. Please pray for me. I am way out of my comfort zone. I am a reluctant leader-much prefer to be a team player or doing my bit in the background unnoticed. First though I need to listen and ask what is important to the people I represent. And yet, full of ambivalence, I think I can relate to Moses when he asked: “Surely not I?” “Are you sure you want me to do this?”. Perhaps i am getting way ahead of myself. I need to get elected first and this particular party is not very popular at the moment.
    Love and best wishes, Julia

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    1. Julia, (I edited your comment for space; I hope you don’t mind) It looks as though you have a servant’s heart. I pray for you and for all those in the UK as well as here in the US. We simply need to embrace the truth of the gospel, which is love God, love our neighbors and love our enemies. I rarely see that during elections anywhere. May all go well with you.

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  9. I love this post Susan! Thank You!

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    1. Bless you, Lori. I urge you to pass the word along. Let’s be gentle and courageous in love, and take a stand about this during the upcoming election season.

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  10. Very good post! I completely agree with you, Susan.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. I hope many of us take a stand about this.

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  11. Susan, this resonates with me acutely this morning for several reasons. First, if we start each day heeding His words — which I try to do, ending the day, the same way, on my knees — we will understand the loving sense in which to hold this political season.

    Second, I have been thinking about words, thoughts, convictions, anger, opinion and all the human emotions that come along with speaking first, thinking, reflecting, loving, heeding second. I notice that a lot of people in my little WP community are speaking about this exact same topic this week, including me, just this morning!

    Third, I was thinking about you and hoping you would post soon, as you often do more frequently than you have lately. I come here to rest my soul in a difficult world. I hope that is not too much pressure on you, LOL, but you do create that effect in me.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I have been waiting until the Spirit moved me to write again. I simply was moved to write this. I am so glad to hear others are writing about the same thing. I pray these pebbles of thought resonate with others as well; that they take up their pens and write to spread His words of reflection and love. At the very least, I pray the spreading circles of living water give people the thirst to read the words of Jesus and let them wash over their hearts.

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