Christ First (a reminder)

Christ First

We are, by our nature, worldly people. I once believed that people in the past were less worldly, but the more I read the more I realize that things shift but they don’t really change. The adversary has planted a seed of worldliness that grows like a weed through society and spreads through our hearts. Fighting against the urges can be challenging even for those who are cognizant of it.

The challenge we face today is that the temptations that have always been present have been amplified by technology and encouraged by a society that increasingly embraces a secular worldview. Many are shifting away from the faith. Others are attempting to maintain their connection but are growing lukewarm based upon the distractions that surround us. This is to be expected and was prophesied. What I didn’t expect, perhaps naively, is that even those who are strong in their beliefs and actively fighting for the faith can be so easily distracted and pulled off course by seemingly righteous causes.

I fall into this category. My “righteous” cause has been political. Anyone reading through the last couple of months on this blog can see very clearly that we’ve focused almost exclusively on politics. In particular, we’ve been very focused on helping Ted Cruz win the GOP nomination. Those who support him based upon his conservative Christian principles and defense of religious liberties might believe that it really is a righteous cause when considering that the alternatives are invariably worse for the church. That’s the excuse I’ve been using, but it’s easy to take it to extremes.

Politics, regardless of how seemingly righteous the cause or candidate, is still politics. It’s still worldly. When we push it too far, as I have done recently, we often don’t leave enough room for true expressions of our faith as humble servants of our Father and heralds for the Gospel.

Does that mean that we shouldn’t participate in politics? Of course we should. It is through us that the Holy Spirit can most easily move to regulate and coordinate the political activities of the world as it heads towards the latter days. Politics assists with or deters the atmosphere through which the Gospel can be spread. Defense of religious liberties, protection of life at conception, correcting our course regarding the sanctity of marriage, and the general sentiment for the country are all important components of the spirituality of society that allow for God’s Will to be done in earth as it is in Heaven. Our God is Sovereign. Our duty is to Him and if our influence in this regard can be felt through support and votes for people who share the belief in His Sovereignty, that’s a good thing.

This brings us to the conundrum. Can believers participate in the corrupt world of politics and maintain our focus on the most important duty humans have? Yes. The key that I’m learning is in finding the balance and maintaining the discipline required to focus on Christ first and without sacrifice of the time we devote.

There was a time not too long ago when I was posting daily to Judeo Christian Church. Business pulled me away. Politics pulled me away. I started doing more to support my business than to fulfill my calling to spread the Gospel. I also started writing more about politics than about faith. I allowed the world to distract me from the most important calling, particularly with the written and spoken word. This is the trap that I believe many Christians face at times in their lives. It seems like something that threatens coexistence between our worldly duties and our responsibilities as servants.

Recently, I was shown that I’ve also been terribly neglectful of another aspect of my life: family. It’s so easy for us to believe that we’re doing what’s best for our family by working harder and neglecting them as a result. For me, I also found myself excusing an overindulging penchant for politics because I was fighting to defend my children’s future in the form of political discourse. It has made me neglectful of those who are most important to me in this world.

This creates an even greater burden. In a world with so many frivolous distractions such as the internet, television, and games, how can we also fulfill our spiritual, professional, civic, and familial duties? In the problem lies the solution. The world is frivolous. There are important things in the world that must be addressed; this isn’t a call for people to quit their job and move their family to the homeless shelter. But, there are also things in this world that are nothing more than fun excursions from reality. These are the things that must be eliminated. These are the roadblocks that must be overcome.

Here’s how it all breaks down:

  • We must make certain that we devote time honoring our Father and spreading the Gospel. This cannot be sacrificed. Christ first.
  • In this extremely important moment of time surrounding the politics of the United States, we have to support those who maintain a Biblical worldview. Otherwise, the secularization of American politics will overtake us much more quickly than most realize.
  • We cannot abandon our responsibilities to support our family, but we also cannot allow the actions of supporting our family or fulfilling our civic duty to betray the emotional support of our family. Providing for them is not enough. We have to live joyfully with them as well. That means going beyond clothing, food, and shelter. It means making sure they’re emotional needs are fulfilled.
  • Everything else can be eliminated.

This last part is the problem. We love distractions. Today, there is no longer room for them. It’s not just because of the elections. After the elections, there will be some other cause that needs champions, some other battle that must be fought. It’s naive to believe that things will settle down after November. For many, things will start really heating up after that.

If we can accept that our spiritual responsibilities come first followed by our familial and civic responsibilities, we can quickly come to the conclusion that there’s no room for anything else. As sad as this might be to many of us, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. Does that mean that we can’t take a break? No. Every engine needs to cool down from time to time. However, if we examine our daily activities through a lens of discernment, I imagine that most of us have things that take up time in our lives that could be removed without anyone ever noticing.

We have to become more efficient with our time.The last thing I want to happen is to regret wasting anything. Missed opportunities, wasted time, poor decisions – all of these form regrets because we know that we could have done something better.

I apologize for the rambling rant, but I hope that some of it made sense. We’re in the most interesting of times. I believe it’s a blessing even if it’s also a challenge. In fact, I believe that it might be a blessing because of the challenge. We just need to be willing to accept it and address it head on.

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