On the evening of November 13, 2015 a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris which resulted in the death of 129 people.
On December 2, 2015, a terrorist attack consisting of a mass shooting and an attempted bombing, in San Bernardino, California, resulted in the death of 14 people and seriously injured 22.
Syria’s conflict has devolved from peaceful protests against the government in 2011 to a violent insurgency that has drawn in numerous other countries. It has so far killed 220,000 people, displaced half of the country’s population, and facilitated the rise of ISIS.
Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, proposes to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
The list of headlines describing the chaos around the world could go on and on. Above is merely a small sample. I overhear numerous conversations each day about the impact of the chaos. It drives some to fear, some to anger, some to desperation. Yet, I think we have better options.
Here are a few reflections that I have provided previously under different circumstances with a few changes …
As followers of Jesus Christ we must constantly be reminded that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). In the midst of terrorism and violence, we know a few things to be true:
- The tomb is still empty
- Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords
- The cross and resurrection (and not anything else) is our salvation
Our hope is not in Senate races, government programs, executive orders, or Supreme Court nominees. As citizens of heaven our hope is in the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news produces a God-shaped mission in the hearts of those who serve King Jesus. God did not create a heavenly citizenship for the purpose of creating strife and division. In fact, God desires the opposite outcome. To the people He reconciled to Himself, He gave a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Here is what I believe to be a truthful statement: You can do more for your community than any policy decision or legislative vote stemming from an elected office.
As followers of Jesus Christ, citizens of heaven, we are to be about God’s mission in the world. Your mission started the day you gave your allegiance to Jesus Christ. The mission field is at your doorstep. Let’s go to work.
Being citizens of heaven has clear political implications. I believe, as followers of Jesus Christ, we should pray for our political leaders and our nation in several ways:
(1) for God to guide our leaders;
(2) for our leaders to listen to God’s guidance and follow in obedience;
(3) for God to bring Spirit-led advisers and mentors into the lives of our leaders;
(4) for our military to be kept safe through peace-seeking efforts;
(5) for followers of Jesus Christ to live out the ministry of reconciliation;
(6) for spiritual awakening to come to America, as it has come to so many other nations.
As citizens of heaven, let us pray that our nation’s leaders follow God’s guidance as we follow God’s guidance as well.
Pastor Jeff Gravens