Although I am always concerned with how our government is run and how our society is ruled, I am not enamored with politics. I will use politics as a teaching tool, but I don’t like watching it on television or reading about it; I don’t like discussing it. Politics is of the world, not of God. Nowhere in the Bible do we find the directive to spend our energy, time, or money on governmental affairs. Our mission, as a church and as an individual, is not to change the nation through political reform, but to change hearts through the Word of God and love.
It is not important to me what the various political parties claim to represent, although I understand that many are. However, I do consider it critical that we know what the various groups we associate with represent; what their guiding principles are. But most important is to know what our guiding principles are; what do we -- as an individual and Child of God -- stand for?
I wish to read what I believe to be one of the simplest and best delineations of Christian duties ever written. It is the 12th Chapter of Romans, the first chapter. For some of us, it has been too long since we’ve read these words and felt the significance of these principles.
This is the Christian platform as given by Paul in Romans 12: 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…. 7 if your gift is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
These words describe in detail how we should behave as someone who claims to hold Christ dear to us. They explain how we are to think, act, and speak; they describe a Christ-filled attitude and how to live an exemplary life. This description is part of Christ’s simple and succinct command: Love each other. The ideas in these words don’t need interpretation; they don’t need explanation; they need only our inerrant application and our unremitting dedication.
What is dedication? It means to devote our time, energy, effort, and ourselves to a task or purpose. It means to commit, pledge, vow, allocate, give, surrender, and sacrifice. It involves creating an image in our minds of our purpose and plan: a mission statement.
So what is our mission statement? Have we devoted ourselves to God? Are we committed to allowing God’s plans for us to develop? Are we dedicated to God’s Will being done through us? Have we offered our bodies, souls, minds, our lives, and all that we are physically and spiritually as a living sacrifice to Christ within – to serve and to love and to be led? Are we responsive, receptive, and ready for the words and nudges … for God’s call to move us into loving action? Do we offer our consciousness and hearts to our God humbly, intimately, and sincerely in prayer?
Are we holding dear to the Spirit-filled principles of our Christian platform? For where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Where there are political platforms, parties, pundits, and Presidents – they too shall pass. When all else fades into forgotten obscurity, what remains is faith, hope, and love.
And this love includes the love of God working through us. I read a couple quotes that I liked. “You can’t expect to see change if you never do anything differently.” Our dedication to God requires that we do things differently than the world suggests.
Another quote says this: “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones that do.” Our dedication to God requires that once we have taken hold of God’s vision for us, we don’t stop until we have attained that vision – whether it is an object, a lesson, an attitude, or a frame of mind. Are we fulfilling Colossians 3:17? “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Today we honor the lives lost in the attack on the Twin Towers. It was a tragic heinous event resulting from the misguided dedication to a cause that was not love-based, but anger and fear based. When people are afraid, they lash out. And if they do not have a love-based philosophy, and their mission statement is to hurt, control, and not accept anyone or anything that doesn’t align with their views, then the only solution to a problem is violence.
We also saw the same results on January 6, 2021, only this time it was from citizens of our own country. But the cause is similar: a group of frightened, angry people lacking a love-based, Christ-based mission statement for their lives turning to violence.
We cannot hate the people in either group, for they are us. If we forsake our dedication to God, to Christ, to loving each other, then we could easily turn to violence and hatred as a life strategy. We must counter what the media and the world are feeding us with the instructions for behavior and attitudes of Romans 12. Some people want to respond with vengeance to such violence. But in the final verses of that chapter, we are told: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
Dedication is the act of attaching ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically to a course of life, our mission statement. Our accomplishment of that mission is dependent upon our level of consistency and commitment. Satan, or the EGO, is not threatened by our going to church but by the application of what we hear and learn in church.
Philippians 3:12: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. To successfully accomplish our life’s mission statement, we do the things that are required for success. Success is not accidental; it is deliberate. Success is not one of the gifts of Spirit and it does not come by wishing or prophesying without action. It is not a right guaranteed in our Constitution. Success is not exclusive to any race, family, background, color, or nation. It is a result of intention, preparation, and dedication. The results of our dedication are determined by our focus, whether on the light or dark, the truth or lies, the world or God. It is Wisdom and Faith that controls the power of Dedication.
It is my continued prayer that we move into the Presence of God so frequently that we can easily dedicate our lives, our being, and all that we are to God in service, and as a vehicle for the Will of the Divine to express through us.