- Before all else, be armed. (the philosophy of the boys)
- He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command. (important for parents to remember)
- I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it. (you can guess)
- Never was anything great achieved without danger. (you know this one, too)
Of course the presidential elections are also reminding me of my degree and the turmoil I felt towards the end of my college career. I really was tired of political science by the time I graduated. It's really just the study of power. Granted, there are many components to it - who has it, how they got it, what they do with it, etc. - but ultimately it's just about power. That might thrill some people, but it kind of depresses me. I think we often delude ourselves with our sense of control, but perhaps that is for another day.
However, every 4 years, as Americans, we have the privilege and responsibility of deciding who will lead our government for the next 4 years. This time is usually met with both anticipation and fear by me. Who will emerge this time? Who will win? What if the "wrong" person gets in? What role does God expect Christians to play in this whole thing? Should I campaign? Or, should I just pray and vote?
This year I happen to have started a new Bible study at my church, which takes us through the Bible in 3 years. The study begins in Genesis and goes through Revelation, in the order they appear. We do about a book a week, and we just finished Leviticus. You may be thinking, what does this have to do with the elections? Well, I think it does. The main thing that I got out of Leviticus was God's desire for His people to live "holy" lives. I am having trouble seeing what that should look like, because only God is truly holy. He does want for us to grow in holiness, however, and He gives us the power to do it. When He is talking to the Israelites in Leviticus the command to be holy is usually accompanied by a charge to be set apart or separate from the people around them. I think that might be the hardest part of holiness for American Christians. We want to be like everyone else, to blend in, to be accepted. Perhaps it's so we can "reach" others. Perhaps it's so we don't have to face "persecution" (which looks totally different for us than it does for believers in Asia or Africa). Regardless of the reason, I don't think that this is what God had in mind for us. Jesus told us that people would hate us if we followed Him. Should it surprise us when that happens? Now, I am not talking about people hating us because we are hateful to those with different opinions or those who are not believers, but I am talking about hating us because we are like God, who is pure, but who is also love.
So, back to the original question - what are we to do? I think that for me the answer lies in seeking God and surrendering everything to Him. Another part of Leviticus that spoke to me was the whole burnt offering. This offering was a voluntary offering that person could give to God. The name comes from the fact that the whole offering was consumed by fire (most offerings saved some of the meat for the priests to eat), and it was a picture of the giver offering all of his life and all of himself to God. There are so many places in the Old and New Testament where God says that what He wants is a heart that wants Him. He wants us to believe Him, to trust Him, and to live out our faith, but it seems to me that it all starts with a heart that wants Him. I read a book recently that described it like this: God doesn't want to be the top of our list of priorities. He wants to be the center of everything in our lives. Wouldn't everything else in my life fall into place much better if He was at the center of it all. After all, I don't need to study political science to know who truly has the power. It's my God - and He graciously and generously shares that power with me to live my life devoted to Him.