For most of this past year, Americans have been exposed to the candidates who have been running for president and other government offices. We have heard their slogans and assurances that if elected, they will make some great changes in the way our government operate at all levels. As the old song goes, There’ll be some changes made. Every candidate for govenment office assures us in one way or another that if elected, there will be some changes made, and they will make these changes happen. And why should we believe that they will make these changes happen? They will answer that question in various ways, but ultimately what they want us to believe is that they will be in charge. That the government – their government – will be in charge. And when you are in charge, you can get things done.
That same kind of thinking also exists in many churches. People often complain about the way things are run in their church. So eventually there is a change in leadership. New and open-minded leaders are appointed, hired, or otherwise developed. They promise that the kinds of changes the people want, will be made. If and when the people ask how they can believe this, the answer will be along the lines of “because I will be in charge”.
Whether we are talking about leadership in the church or the secular government, those who say that they will get things done the right way because they are in charge are wrong. They are wrong because they are not in charge. They are not in control. Too many people, down through the ages, have failed to realize, or simply refused to believe – that neither church nor state is in charge. There is only One who is in charge, and that’s God. Not just any god, but the God Christians know as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is now and has always been God’s plan to use both church and state to serve God’s purposes. The church to proclaim God and the order of peace, love, and joy that God desires in and for the world. The state as the means of providing God’s order, until Jesus comes again to fully establish His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Both church and state have sometimes intentionally allowed God to use them for His purposes. At other time they have acted as though they themselves were God. What does that have to do with us? God wants those of us, which means everyone and anyone,who have direct access to God through scripture and prayer, to use the grace He has given us to determine when church or state (which includes their secular and religious leaders), are or aren’t speaking and acting in accordance with Go’s will. If we don’t know the difference, we might find ourselves speaking and acting in ways opposed to God’s will.
During most of this presidential election year, like it or not, we have been exposed to relentless political ads, magazine and newspaper commentaries, debates, news reports, and advice from all kinds of people, including the candidates themselves. I believe that after hearing and seeing all of this, we must keep in mind that there are no perfect candidates. They are all sinners, just like the rest of us. I urge everyone who hasn’t already done so, to ask God to help us discern which candidates for president and other offices are most likely to understand and accept that God is in control. To discern which candidates best realizes that the president of the USA is just one of a number of persons and institutions which God intends to use for the fulfilment of His purposes. To discern which candidates are most likely to turn to God for guidance and direction in the fulfillment of office.
Grace and peace, Ray
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Patty Perez and Ray Gough
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A Spiritual Autobiography