As I was watching church today, our pastor reminded us of this passage:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Thinking about these two verses lit a fire inside of me. It led me to start writing. And here are my thoughts.
I’m saddened by the response of many evangelicals to this election. I’m discouraged that the very people who claim to stand for Christian values have responded and exhibited anything but Christian values. I’ve seen so much hate. So much judgement. So many accusations. So much disrespect. And to be completely blunt, it’s not okay.
Why, especially as Christians, should our response be anything other than love? Aren’t we supposed to be representing Jesus? Aren’t we supposed to be drawing people to HIM, not a presidential candidate? I think there’s been too much judgement of others and the outside world and not enough inward reflection of the state of our own hearts.
Jesus talks about this in Matthew:
“…first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5
How can we condemn the hate and evil of someone else when, in reality, we’re acting the same way? That’s hypocrisy. And I think it’s time we ask, “Why is my response hate? Why am I responding by attacking anyone who believes differently than me? What needs to change inside of ME?”
Back to Philippians…
I think it’s easy to read that verse and say, “Oh! I’ll give all my requests to God, he’ll answer them, and then I won’t be anxious. But I don’t think that’s what Paul is talking about.
Let’s make it relevant: I believe if our request is for __________ to be president, then we have a narrow minded prayer. That’s implying that our our peace is the direct result of the answer to a specific prayer. It becomes an ultimatum.
I personally believe, especially as Christians, we should be praying a much different prayer. I think we’re requesting the wrong things.
I don’t think our request should be for a specific person to be president. That shouldn’t dictate our peace. That shouldn’t dictate whether or not we have anxiety. The minute we allow circumstances to dictate our peace, we’re done. I think we need to realign our hearts with the heart of God. I think our request should be, “God, I ask for peace and contentment REGARDLESS of the outcome.” I think we should be asking Jesus to teach us how to not be rocked by the things of the world. We should be asking him to teach us to find our hope and peace in HIM. Not in a person. Not in a president. Not in an outcome. Not in situation. In HIM. And him alone.
When we start relating our peace to the results of an election, we’ve missed the heart of God.
I’m going to say something that some might disagree with, and I’m okay with that:
I think God is much more concerned with the inward state of our hearts than he is with who is president of the United States.
He wants PEOPLE. He wants US. He wants YOU. He wants YOUR HEART. And I hope you know that God is much bigger than the president of the United States. Who is elected doesn’t change who he is. It doesn’t change the fact that he is God. That he is powerful. That he is in control.
My heart is broken. Not because of who is president. God can use anyone and anything. That doesn’t scare me at all. What scares me is the representation Christians and evangelicals have presented though this process. I want people to see and be drawn to JESUS in Christ followers, myself included. I want to be known as someone who loves and serves Jesus, regardless of who runs our country. I want people to know they are LOVED. It breaks my heart to think that someone on the outside looking in might be turned away because of our judgement and hatred.
When Jesus was on this earth, he sought out those who were broken. He spent time with sinners. He loved those who lived lives in opposition of his values. And you know what drew every single one of those people to him? Not his judgement. Not his hatred. Not his holier than thou attitude (even though he was because he was Jesus). It was his LOVE and ACCEPTANCE of them. With no strings attached.
And that’s my prayer. To radiate love. To be filled with peace regardless of my circumstances. I want JESUS to dictate who I am and how I respond and react. I want Jesus to use me to draw people to HIM. My opinions and values won’t change someone’s mind. But you know who changes hearts and lives? Jesus. And I want to be more like him.