Saturday, June 30, 2012

Politics And Guarding The Heart

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I became politically active in 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson. I was only 14 years old.

I've campaigned, planted signs, made phone-bank calls, done door-to-door flyers, attended rallies, written speeches.

In the late 60's, while half the country was going Left and anarchic, I went Right and Republican. I attended anti-communist John Birch Society meetings, led by Fred and Ethel [not their real names], a husband and wife who became my good friends.

But politics can't satisfy the heart, and I was lost as lost could be, until 1976, when God reached down and opened my heart to Jesus Christ.

As a new believer, I still took an active interest in political happenings, but the rabid hand-wringing and fighting ceased. I began to see the sovereignty of God in everything. I saw that the history that was unfolding was God's history, and that He was raising up and bringing down men and nations at will.

I began attending a wonderful church in 1976, and lo and behold, there were my friends Fred and Ethel, Christians who had told me about the Lord, but not with the enthusiasm they had for fighting the Communist Conspiracy.We became friends again, but Fred was always distraught about "the state of the Government and the World".

I was now engaged in ministry, and politics took a seat way in the back by comparison. Fred would have none of it. He seemed to truly love the Lord, but his crusade was a political one, seeking to save the world by politics, and it drove him over the edge. In the early 80's, Ethel went home one day and found Fred dead, hanging from a rope.

Devoid of understanding the sovereignty of God in nations, and not understanding that the Kingdom of God is not of this world, Fred thought things had gotten out of God's hand.

He couldn't have been more wrong.

"Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness..." That's what's of primary importance to us. And that means that we not only witness of our Lord Jesus Christ, it means we rest in Him and His sovereignty, even while we support our candidates according to our consciences.

And it means that our faith should work itself out in love (Gal. 5:6) . . . Love for Republicans, and Democrats, and political opponents, and other ethnic groups, and immigrants (legal and otherwise), and Muslims, and even terrorists (though the Government doesn't bear the sword for nothing -- Rom. 13:4).

Otherwise, we're just clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13:1), and our politics has become our God in practice.

5 comments:

Michael Kaster said...

Hi Terry,
I am one of those that have a tendency to be overly concerned about politics and this corrupt world at times. So this is an interesting topic for me. Thanks for posting on it. In doing so you have managed to help remind me to just 'trust and obey'.
When you said your friend seemed to truly love the Lord, I thought to myself - "Maybe he only seemed to." Then I thought, "Hey, I truly love the Lord but still sometimes forget that He is in controll".
So although, I do believe Fred could be too politically minded and still love the Lord, I had to stop and ponder when I saw he committed suicide.
Have you ever written on the topic of can a TRUE Christian commit suicide? I wish there were a way to search your archive by keywords.
Best wishes to you and Michele and Michael,

Michael D Kaster

Terry Rayburn said...

Hi Michael,

I haven't written specifically on "can a TRUE Christian commit suicide?".

However, I've often written that ANY Christian walking by the flesh [if only temporary] is capable of ANY sin.

Some have taught that suicide is a straight path to Hell, since there is no opportunity for repenting of that sin.

But this is not only theological nonsense, but not even logical, since a myriad of other sins, small or great, have been committed without even coming to mind to be "repented" of.

By grace are we saved, and under the New Covenant, ALL our sins are forgiven -- past, present and future. There are no exceptions.

May God give us the grace to WALK by His Spirit, and thus avoid tragedies of all sorts.

Blessings,
Terry

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Mr. Rayburn. One book that opened my eyes to the way in which we can make idols of our politics was a small book by Tim Keller, "Counterfeit Gods." The section he has on idols of power is worth the price of the book. Sadly, I see many Christians wrapped up in this particular idol--as I have been.

Terry Rayburn said...

Anonymous,

You're welcome. Thanks for the comment and book recommendation :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we have a lot in common. I remember being a Goldwater boy myself (in elementary school). My teachers were pretty annoyed at me. I was a jerk.