Follow Jesus and not political leaders

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I write this letter today, in this difficult political climate in our land. Many believers in my country, America, are frustrated, sad and angry. While some other believers are ecstatic.

But let us remember the words of our Lord:

Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of God’s mouth.’”

Jesus is the word of God and He is our eternal life when we receive Him by faith and live in Him.

We cannot hang onto every word of our leaders who are just mere mortals and not “gods”.

At the moment, we have demonized one another because of our political preference.

We support our favorite candidate but clearly ignore their misbehaviors. But then we condemn the other side for their misbehaviors. We ignore one side’s flaws while demonizing the other side – such thinking is partiality and not Godly behavior.

Jesus said, “He is without sin, let him cast the stone”. (Paraphrased from John 8:7)

Our country is hurting now: Massive unemployment, hunger, poverty, division, distrust, etc. Our nation has seen 300,000 deaths – (100 times as bad as 9/11) – we have the highest pandemic-death-rate in the world. Even, with a 99% survival rate, we still have 300,000 deaths, with overflowing hospitals and lot more expected – this is horrible. More Americans have died in 2020 than the Vietnam War and 9/11 combined. At this rate, it will exceed even the no. of deaths in the Civil war and World War 2. At this moment, all that matters is that our fellow country-men and women and children are suffering miserably.

We are fighting over politics when our nation is suffering. We are celebrating peace-deals in the middle-east but our own country has no peace at all. The truth is that both parties have supported many evils. Both parties have ignored the poor for many years. We are free to vote and pursue our ideas peacefully. But we cannot be obsessed with the leaders. No party is perfect – They are imperfect people who have flaws in varying degrees.

This is why we are called to follow Jesus, and not any leader.

Hebrews 12 “Therefore let’s also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus… “

Let us follow Christ by not condemning our fellow human beings, no matter who they support.

James 3 “nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in the image of God. 10 Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so11 Does a spring send out from the same opening fresh and bitter water?

James 1 ” 19 So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man doesn’t produce the righteousness of God.

The leaders and governments are not like Jesus who loved His enemies and never sinned (Matthew 5:38-45). If we follow leaders, then we will think and behave like them. But when we follow Jesus, then we will behave more like the Lord (who blessed his opponents and did not curse them).

1st Peter 2 “21 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps22 who didn’t sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.” 23 When he was cursed, he didn’t curse back. When he suffered, he didn’t threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously.

We are not called to judge others because God will judge the world. (1st Corinthians 4:3-5).

God tells us not to trust in the governments and leaders of the world – this includes our favorite politician and parties.

Psalm 146 “Don’t put your trust in princes, in a son of man in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth. In that very day, his thoughts perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in God: who made heaven and earth

Jesus is not of this world and He does not belong to any political party or government.

John 18:36 “Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn’t be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here.”

Jesus does not command us to use force and violence:

John 18:10-11 “Simon Peter therefore, having a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Jesus therefore said to Peter, “Put the sword into its sheath. The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not surely drink it?””

Jesus was only focused on His death on the cross – this must be our focus on earth.

We are not called to fight some holy war/crusade to establish an earthly kingdom!

God will never tell us to die for any leader or fight a Christian war.

We are called to live as strangers and pilgrims on this earth – this is not our permanent home. We live on earth focusing on Jesus and our hope is heaven with Him. This is why Peter & Paul tell believers not to be too attached to the things of the world. They tell us to focus on Jesus.

1st Peter 2 “11 Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”

1st Corinthians 7 “29 and those who weep, as though they didn’t weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn’t rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn’t possess; 31 and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away. “

No leader in this world can offer us God’s kingdom on earth. We have to wait for Jesus to return to the earth on judgment day to bring utopia and perfection (Revelation 21:1-4).

We cannot be overjoyed when our favorite politician wins and we cannot be in despair when they lose. Our true satisfaction is found in the love of Christ in all circumstances.

Philippians 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, “Rejoice!”….12 I know how to be humbled, and I also know how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need. 13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

God raises and brings down governments as per His will. No matter who is leading the nation, ultimately Jesus Christ is our Lord and King who controls our lives.

Daniel 2:21 “He changes the times and the seasons. He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding.”

We may not like our leaders, but we have to obey the laws of the land. In the 1st Century, the governments and rulers were far worse than today. The brutal Roman empire ruled the Gentiles and the legalistic Pharisees controlled the Jews. But Jesus and Paul told them not to rebel but submit to the authorities.

Romans 13 “Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by GodTherefore he who resists the authority withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment.

Matthew 22 “Then he said to them, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 23 “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don’t do their works; for they say, and don’t do.”

Under the Old Covenant, God told the Israelites to attack other nations and fight their enemies.

But when Christ came, He told them opposite! But they ignored Jesus. This is why the Israelites tried to rebel against Rome in the time of Christ. They ignored the words of Christ who told them not to rebel against Rome but to leave Jerusalem before it was destroyed in the 1st Century.

They finally perished because they were trying to seek an earthly kingdom (going against God’s will). Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.

In the New Covenant, Jesus does not tell us to fight, but to turn the other cheek and love our enemies. When we follow Jesus, we cannot be obsessed with the government and politics.

The politics and governments are man’s earthly kingdoms that will pass away. They don’t define us.

But Christ’s heavenly kingdom endures forever. Our identity and life are in Christ – He is our life!

Luke 1 “32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.””

We are called to focus on God’s kingdom and spread the Gospel to lead others to Christ.

I will say this, no matter who is the president of the country.

The Christian life is not about obsessing with politics, parties and leaders who are here today and gone tomorrow.

It should be rooted in Jesus Christ and His salvation – the only thing of eternal value.

God clearly tells us to pray for ALL leaders, to yearn for peace and the salvation of people by focusing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our attitudes and choices must align with these priorities.

1st Timothy 2 “I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks be made for all men: for kings and all who are in high places, that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesuswho gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony in its own times, to which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am telling the truth in Christ, not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

God commands us to believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him by loving one another, especially those who are less fortunate (1 John 3:23, James 1:27).

Let us keep our eyes on Jesus because everything else is a distraction.

God bless you all in Jesus’ name. Your brother in Christ,

Mathew Simon

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