Reflection on the Conventions

I watched most of the political conventions these last two weeks. The public speaker in me couldn’t help but over-analyze the messages and oratory skills of the candidates and their supporters. Every person on that stage tried to persuade you with personal stories and/or big promises.

I’ll admit, some of their desires were noble, but most of the speeches felt calculated, empty, and purely political- to me at least. Some of the talking points were straight up wrong too. But debating platforms isn’t the point of this post.

One of the things I realized was that while the parties were trying to sell you their candidates, they were also trying to sell you their worldviews. According to them, material propserity is the promised land, and their party wants to be your Moses. In their view, the good life is getting wealthy when you work hard, and their candidate is the savior who can take you there.

Now there’s nothing sinful about wealth. And being rewarded for hard work is a good thing, but that can’t be where our hope lies. Wealth shouldn’t be our end goal, it should be a means to a greater end. We also can’t afford to trust in a mere man to save the day.

Candidates can make life easier for us on this earth (when their ideas actually work), but they can’t be our ultimate hope. They can not rid our world of all suffering, or bring perfect peace. Only Jesus can do that. And He will.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This is not an encouragement for you to ignore politics. Personally, I plan to pay close attention to the presidential race, and I’ll try to make an informed decision about who to vote for in November. I encourage you to do the same. I’m not saying don’t vote, I’m saying don’t buy into the lies.

The good life is not material prosperity, and political candidates aren’t stable enough to build your life upon. The good life is living by faith in a good God and building your life on Him.

SHARES

25 comments

  1. Ya'Lisha WoodenReply

    Yes I totally get what you are saying because i know everybody was so hyped up about watching the conventions and in my mind i was like either way it goes God is going to do things his way…Also people have to understand that one man is not in charge of the government. If we paid attention in grade school Congress really runs the government and makes decision for the government so like you don’t disregard politics but pay attention and know in your heart that God is in control…. and also do research for yourself about the issues that are being discussed by both parties as well we cant just go off what they say and think since it sounds good it is good…we have to research…we have been taught that in school for a reason (future educator coming out of me..Lol)

    • ChristineRsReply

      YES! The power is (or at least, SHOULD BE) in the hands of the people, but we are giving away those freedoms to government and having them make decisions on our behalf…

      I prefer to review what is documented as opposed to what is said. People can and will say things to drum up emotion. You know what a ‘party’ stands for by what their platform is. They have to hold true to those proclamations… just like we have to hold true to the Bible, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, etc. Once put on paper, it’s harder to backtrack on promises made during election time.

    • Matthew HallReply

      I disagree that the choice between the two, if our focus is that narrow, is easy. I would really like to see what would happen if Christians stopped playing the right/left game and looked to see what God said about issues beyond the more obvious ones just mentioned – the God-given boundaries of government for example.

      • ChristineRsReply

        Not being about left and right, in my opinion. If the big issues don’t line up, I doubt that the less obvious ones will… in terms of government or government programs, what do you feel is their role?

        • Matthew HallReply

          The first thing to note before a discussion like this is to differentiate between the Church and State. Both are God ordained institutions with different roles.

          That being said, biblically speaking, it looks to me as if many programs that the government currently runs actually do not fall under its jurisdiction as well intentioned as they might be. God is concerned not only with our motives but with our actions. Here are a few examples. Welfare, healthcare, social security, medicare, and all things having to do with taking care of people fall first to the individual to take responsibility for his or her self, secondly to the family if that person cannot, and thirdly those who do not have a family (widows and orphans) to the Church. Education falls to the family (Duet 6) and then to the Church to which God has appointed teachers and pastors (or Levites in the OT). Just a few examples.

    • ChristianReply

      But Jesus didn’t say he would ask what your views were on homosexuality, marriage, or abortion when he returns. But he did say he would ask if you fed those who were hungry, naked, and thirsty. So therefore which candidate do you think is most likely to follow those mandates…

      • RmyersReply

        He has spoken VERY clearly on those issues you minimize! We should think like Him. An YES, YOU and I should feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and care for widows and orphans, etc….ESPECIALLY those who belong to the household of faith….but where does Jesus tell you to appoint the government to do it?? Abortion is life and death…seems there is a commandment about that. Marriage is about Christ and the church…should we prioritize a welfare state and sexual rebels’ self interest above that? C’mon Christian, whose mind do you have?

    • ChristineRsReply

      Totally agree… Sadly, I have heard of some pastors claiming (on mainstream media) that these issues should NOT determine who we vote for… Scary isn’t it?!

  2. TjambayaReply

    The good life is having faith in a Good God?I love Trip and his contribution to the body but if this is your version of the Good life considering your influence I have to say I am disappointed because the Good life to me is having a real relationship with God.In the words of Jesus “I have come to give them life and life in abundance and this is life that they may know him who sent me”.Thats what Jesus said.And Jesus was tryna restore that relationship which Adam lost in the Garden of eden which included supernatural visitations from a good God.Areal relationship with God has to be real and its not just reading the word and understanding his will thru that,Its also communicating with God and receiving real words specific to your life and which can be verified because whatever u hear from God has to happen in real life.Its also being visited by GOD just like adam and David and all the saints who are written off in the New Testament.Its also walking with God and as you see how he operates in your life your life at a personal level u begin to understand what he is like which is also verifiable by Scripture.For example God might help u overcome an impossible situation and then thru that U know God is a deliverer and that truly nothing is impossible with God,that is what what the bible means when it says God showed Moses his ways.There is much more to say about knowing God and I don have enuff time or space to unpack it here.I do know some peops will think there goes those charismatic Christians again but the word verifies my standpoint.

  3. JoshReply

    First, I am NOT saying that a Christian SHOULD vote for Romney. (read that sentence carefully and repeatedly)

    Now, having said that, the only excusable reason for a Christian to have voted for Obama is that he/she was uninformed of the issues and the person.

  4. moparfan54Reply

    Only a fool puts his faith in a person of this world to “save” them from poverty or any other ill in their life, but to ignore a party that reviles God, and insist on killing the innocent can not be ignored. Therefore the only logical choice(if you are believer) is the Republican candidate. I put no faith in the Republicans but I place hope and prayer that the Lord will help them see the right path to follow.

  5. VeronicaReply

    I AM saying don’t vote. Don’t vote if there is no one truthful and Godly running, because if you do, you HAVE bought in to the lies, or you’re just not trusting God.

    • RmyersReply

      Veronica, the party who wins WILL institute their policies. Your action or inaction WILL affect the outcome. One platform promotes perversion, death and debt that your children and mine will have to live and raise children with. The other seeks to prevent these and the destruction they bring, and to preserve what God has graciously given this nation. Faith acts – for the good of others and the glory of God. Unbelief masks itself as passive piety.

  6. Dr. Nathaniel Wilson, SrReply

    Truly putting this issue in perspective with a Biblical worldview!!! God bless you, and may your post bless those who read it.

  7. MASReply

    If you vote according to the bible, than no candidate will fully meet your requirements. On the right there are several justice problems (immigration, poor, women’s rights). On the left there are moral problems (gay marriage, abortion, etc.) News flash: the government is NOT the church. That is why the pilgrims fled England, and why separation of church and state is a good thing (look at roman catholic history). We also need to stop legalizing our moral code. Jesus died not for the law to rule our hearts, but for freedom to worship Him in Spirit and truth. If we oppose Gay marriage we should do so by giving the world great examples of heterosexual marriages, instead of divorce rates at above 50 percent. If we oppose abortions we should give money to orphanages and help social programs that help kids. Will making gay marriage illegal change hearts? No. Will making abortions illegal help a woman raise a child? No. Will they prevent either sin from occurring? No. (Remember abortions occurred in ugly ways befor legalization occurred). Let us love our neighbors and vote with the understanding we will compromise by selecting very fallible people.

    • RmyersReply

      MAS, reason with me here: can you not promote something and also oppose its opposite? Why create false dilemmas? Should we not seek to have the best marriage we can, loving and honoring our wives (or husbands), and also say that God had clearly defined what a marriage IS – and that definition excludes its opposite? And is giving to orphanages really an ALTERNATIVE to stopping the killing of innocent babies?? (would supporting your neighbors child justify the killing of your own?)

      And it is a simple FACT that laws DO curb behavior – that is why we have them! No,they’re not perfect deterents, but to say that we should “stop legalizing our moral code” misses the fact that law is precisely the legislation of someone’s moral code. Should we not seek to impliment laws that correspond to God’s moral code?

      The most ill considered statement you make here must be, “Jesus died not for the law to rule our hearts, but for freedom to worship Him in Spirit and truth.” TRUTH – our worship – our lives as living sacrifices – must be according to the TRUTH He has revealed. How we live, what we speak, promote, and oppose, must ALL be according to TRUTH (including His moral law) – or we are NOT worshipping Him as we should, but are being conformed to the pattern of this evil world.

      SPIRIT – our worship (our life) is to be according to, and in the power of, His SPIRIT – the same SPIRIT He gives to believers in regeneration, the same SPIRIT who writes His LAW upon our hearts as He makes us new creatures! YES, Jesus DID die for His LAW to rule our hearts – that we would love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (the summation of the Law), and promote the knowledge of Him (according to TRUTH) as he has revealed Himself, and the love of Him (including His law).

      Why should we be indifferent to what laws we implement? Why should we act as though death is as good as life? This is not according to His Spirit – but another. This is not according to Truth.

  8. CharliemuldrowReply

    Thank you for this. I vote according to the Word. I don’t look at the candidates I look strictly at the platform. If the platform has stances that are contrary to the Word, then that candidate is not getting my vote. I will not support a party whose policies and principles are clearly against the God that I serve. My trust is not in a man nor a political party; it’s in my Father in heaven who loves me. My life is based solely on Him. Faith first ALWAYS!

  9. Matthew HallReply

    Great thoughts Trip. I agree. We can’t look to a president to save us or our nation. Salvation comes through faith in Christ, and the fruit of our obedience to him will result in that prosperity we’re currently looking for in the wrong place.

    What do you think about the idea of supporting candidates according how to well they match up with Scripture’s take on issues such as just wars and the jurisdiction of the government vs that of the individual, the family, or the Church?

  10. ChristineRsReply

    Well said… in regards to the candidates’ moral beliefs and support for certain moral issues facing this country, what role do you believe they play in selecting the candidate to vote for?

    • EmmanuelReply

      I don’t expect Trip to directly respond to your question, but I can take a crack at it if you want.

      In my view, I’m a bit torn. As a Christian, I want to vote for the best friend of the Church, who will see that our needs are addressed to boost society and restore some sense of light to the nation. Things like abortion are harmful to the country, but I cannot say that the presence of abortion will irrevocably bring down God’s wrath. If this were a perfect society with that being the major exception, I would expect God to be merciful towards us and send messengers to persuade us to give up this sin. That said, the election of one politician over another to enforce that change shouldn’t be the one reason to vote for them. Too often I see abortion and gay marriage as leverages that people use to force you to vote for or against a candidate, who, mind you, may not even have a great deal of influence over that policy (or may have bigger things on his plate). I just don’t want to be bullied as a Christian into selecting one candidate for a single issue, using God as some kind of hammer. Fact of the matter is we do not know what God will do to one person or one nation as a result of abortion. We just don’t know.

      Same goes for homosexuality and gay marriage. I’m against homosexuality, but I am not going to essentialize it as though it is the worst sin in the world. (What about heterosexual adultery or fornication? Or rape?) Is it honoring to God? No. But what influence do I have on that other than to enforce some kind of surface change of behavior? Is God suddenly going to be pleased with that, as if it was a change of heart? No. On top of that, this is America, and we all have a choice what we want to do with our life. In essence, our American ethic should be that one can do whatever they want, as long as they don’t impede on someone else’s liberties. So the gay person can do what they want, as long as they don’t stop me from living my life. Another issue with voting based on religious mandates is on interpretation: What if a politician was elected with a mandate to enact “Scriptural” laws, and he enacts them wrongly? This has been tried before in Europe, and I think we all know how badly that went. Any kind of imposition by the government, whether for religious or secular reasons, stops you from doing what you want. If what you want is harmful to someone else, you cannot do it. But if the government goes too far, it may stop you from doing something you want or need to do in good conscience. Take evangelism in the Roman Empire. Since the emperor saw himself as Lord and demanded worship, proclaiming Jesus is Lord got you killed. But you wanted and needed to do it. The shoe’s on the other foot.

      Lastly, autonomy allows you to decide to follow God on your own accord. It opens up the door for God to work freely in your heart, because outward actions aren’t being required of you. But when outward actions are demanded, you very easily will take the performance of those actions as a false sign of security. For instance, many in my community think they are doing God a favor by showing up in church, or that their frequent attendance means they are going to Heaven. False sense of security. And so for me as an evangelist to tell them they are not in God’s Ark based on those reasons alone, they get very defensive. It’s as if they were better off outside the church, knowing nothing, rather than being inside the church and thinking they know everything.

      That’s my take on voting as an American Christian. I need to give you the freedom to make your own decisions (and if necessary, suffer for them), and work personally to reach out to you to introduce you to Christ, who will change you from the inside-out. But politicians will not be able to do for society what we can as a strong Church. So I won’t ask them to be my pastor and my president, I’ll just ask them to be my president and not get in my way. (And if you think about it, you don’t want anyone in your way for anything you do in life, spiritual or secular.)

    • theknowledgecornerReply

      It’s not about the candidates moral beliefs, but about those issues in their platform that address our moral beliefs as children of God. The platform is what is going to be the catalysts regarding laws, policies, etc. A candidate can change or support a particular stance just to gain votes and popularity; however that doesn’t dictate how the country is run. Look at the current administration- he’s changed his “beliefs” several time many of which “coincidentally” coincided with the tide of popular opinion. However, the platform didn’t change and it already sided public opinion. Liberals advocate a liberal platform- regardless of their own beliefs. The same with conservatives. Besides, as it has already been mentioned, the president is a figure head at this point. Congress and the wealthy control the country. We need to pray and seek God as to where our vote goes. God turns the head of “king” in the direction he wants it to go; however, we need to make sure that our vote does not support those policies that are contrary to the Word. Only God is infallible.

  11. CherishJesusLuvReply

    I feel like it is God who wrote HIS-TORY….hehe….So He will Aline things to go how He said in the scripture. I think and this is my opinion that even if we vote for the better candidate God word will still stand as truth and the End will come just as he says it will.
    I always get so upset with prosperity preachers for the evil they have rooted into “there money.”….I say, “Its God’s money.”
    WHAT MAKES ME WANT TO CRY is when I see dying widows, poor starving children, and disabled people out there……This message is not for them? Nope it is for those whom are against God and want their ears to be tickled so they can boast of “their” riches. I have asked God about such preachers. And God answered me and said, “Cherish this is all the blessing they will ever have, let them boast about the BMW’s to a crowd of my children who are hungry, they will not live forever with me and this will be all they will ever get.” So after he told me that I feel sorry for these prosperity preachers…..Because that BMW or Bentley is ALL He says they are getting…..
    I on the other hand Love the GOSPEL and know this is for the weak, dying and poor and has NOTHING to do with money. That is God’s department. He says He will add the things we “need.”
    I have been hungry and have been standing in line waiting on food, and heard a man say to us, “If you believed in Jesus with a mustard seed of faith you would all here be driving a Bentley.” that turned my stomach…
    That is when I asked God about people like this man and other prosperity preachers. Also LET US REMEMBER what JESUS says about things…
    Mat 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did [it] to one of the least of these My brethren, you did [it] to Me.’

  12. CherishJesusLuvReply

    Mat 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;”but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.