Because there is so much political upheaval around the world in countries where I have good friends, (including my own country) I have been burdened by the confusion, anger and general absence of peace, contentment and inner rest of heart that so many Christian’s are experiencing over these years. Recently I was writing to a great friend some thoughts about it and I am going to copy some of that below; adding and subtracting a little from it.
I knew one of our major politicians very closely once. He had been in and out of all of the major political centres of power in all the major countries of the world: China, Russia, England, USA, some other lesser Asian countries, Europe, etc. He was a United Nations observer in some tricky diplomatic international situations, and he came to the Lord through my intense conversations with him. He was an incredibly intelligent man with a wonderfully entertaining personality.
I asked him once what he thought of the saying, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. He looked me squarely in the eye and said, “I have never known it NOT to be true” and his eyes were telling me that he was including himself in that. But, he said later, “the greater trouble is that power attracts the corruptible”.
This is true in every political set up in every country of the world from the best to the worst.
Historically countries struggling in the extreme in the past have often produced amazing people who have lived through intense deprivations of poverty, war, famines and the like and have risen to levels of national leadership and created national well being. They have been given the power over all of the people in that country by the people to set up the country afresh. Slowly as they are replaced over and over by successors the leaders who replace them are not motivated by what motivated the first leader and those attracted to power, not the good of the country, become the normal form of politician. It happens over and over and over and over in every political setup. It is one of the ways of this world.
For us Christian’s of course, we need to realise that we are not of this world. No political system in this world can or ever will bring in the Kingdom of God. Only the return of Jesus will do that.
So we need to keep up a burden to pray ‘thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven’ because fallen man cannot fix the problems that arise of the governing of the peoples of this earth. The system that creates a problem does not have the resources to fix it).So corruption will always come where there is power available to take hence the rise and fall of empires; the rise and fall of all institutions we set up.
As Christian’s we are called to peace. However this is not economic peace, military peace, political or national peace, family and relational peace or peace at work. It is a peace that passes understanding! It is the peace that God has in His heart and mind all of the time.
This peace is the mark of Christianity. It is seen in the worshipping of the martyrs by those while being thrown to the lions in the Roman Colosseum. It is the peace of the thief on the cross. It is the peace of Polykarp standing unbound to the stake on the pyre preaching while the fire was being ignited around his feet. This is the life we are called to as Christians. Not that many of us who will read this will face things as serious as this but we do, and are facing things today that are challenging our capacity to walk in peace while it seems that the world is going mad around us.
We all want to live in peace but the peace we need is not one that is dependent on any situation that we may be seeing or is overwhelming our circumstances. Fighting to change the circumstances of the world around us does not hold the answer to our endeavours to find peace.
The truth is that the peace or lack of peace in our hearts is directly related to conflicts of things we love; things we’ve given our hearts to. When we give our hearts to the Lord and to some of the things of the world too we will not have peace in our hearts.
Note these scriptures:
1 Jn 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (Love means to ‘give your heart to’.)
Jn 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jn 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.
Mk 4:18 19. Now these are the ones (seeds of God’s word that drew them to Christ) sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
You will understand that the peace Jesus gives is His peace; the peace of a heart and mind set only on the Kingdom of God within us and coming Kingdom of God physically in earth.
By these verses above it’s clear that letting our hearts become involved in any issues of this world and it’s ways will result in an inner conflict within us, that the world will win, overcoming the peace of God in our hearts. The peace Jesus gives us will be eclipsed in us.
This is the reason Jude says, ‘keep yourselves in the love of God’. (1:21)
This means keep yourself in Gods love for you AND keep yourself loving the things God loves. You will know when you are loving; giving your heart to, things God doesn’t love; you will lose your peace. That’s how we know what is the world and what is of God.
Finally note Col 3:15
‘And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,’ (Let it be the judge of what is God and what is not)
Peace is the mark of someone who walks closely with God
Note: I write here concerning the USA and it’s particular situation today but what I am saying here is relevant to all of our situations either nationally or privately.
According to some Christian’s in the USA the first European arrivals to Nth America were wanting to establish a country where there was freedom of worship and a country built on Christian values. Heroic people. A problem has arisen over time though that many now seem to confuse those desires with the American way of life being the step towards the establishing of the Kingdom of God on earth.
But it was never that to the pilgrims. They knew as we should that the Kingdom of God can only be established by it’s King. Nothing of mankind can help or hinder Him.
The reality is therefore too that the democrats can never hinder and the republicans never cause the Kingdom of God to come. Or vice versa. In fact the USA may only ever play a very small part in that, if any.
God alone knows and directs in this and only the humble will receive the grace to be a player.
As humans we are all world citizens in our Fathers hands and all national identities are fallen institutions. We can all accept this more easily when we consider todays China, Russia, Colombia, Iran, India, Nth Korea etc. But it’s equally true of our own nations and it takes humility to embrace that!
My nation, your nation whichever nation it is that you are living in or have loved ones in that are in turmoil for some reason we need to recognise that they cannot, ever, bring us the peace that only God and the Kingdom ‘that is, (now in our hearts) and is to come’ (on all of the earth) can bring.
The only Hope of the world is the coming Kingdom of God. Do not give your heart to anything in this world or in it’s ways.
Humility and peace hold hands!