Pastor’s Friday Comments (10.09.20)

If you availed yourself of the material for The Beginning a couple of weeks ago, in the meditation you read this paragraph from one of my favorite preachers, the Methodist Wiliam Willimon:

“Recently, I saw some research that indicates that your political affiliation – whether you identify as a ‘conservative’ or a ‘progressive’ – is more determinative of your deepest commitments than your religious affiliation. The labels ‘republican’ or ‘democrat’ mean more than the designation ‘Christian.’”

One might argue that one’s political affiliation is sometimes an extension of one’s Christian conviction, but I suspect that it is often the other way around. A person determines “which side they are on,” often on the basis of enlightened self-interest, and pushes and stretches their theology to conform with the party that they support.

It isn’t a useful exercise to engage in an argument about which party most closely represents the teachings of Jesus. That isn’t the primary issue. The concern for Christians should always be whether or not we are living as Christ lived and as the Spirit of Christ would have us to live in the culture, environment, and circumstances in which we are currently living.

The first step in achieving that goal is to commit oneself to the leadership of Christ unreservedly. Everything else must come second. No matter how important your family, your vocation, your politics, or anything else is to you, they must all be subsumed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

When God gave the Ten Commandments, the command not to have any other gods before God meant precisely that. It is only as your allegiance to God is first in your life that everything else assumes its proper place.

Once you have done that, the task – an on-going, neverending one – is to learn the life of Christ and discern how to follow it. Listening openly to sermons helps, but that can’t be all you do. Immerse yourself in Scripture, especially the Gospels. Read the best of devotional literature. Above all else, spend undistracted time in prayer and meditation, trying to listen for the voice of God more than attempting to make your own wishes known.

The next few months are going to be trying for all of us for any number of reasons. We need a clear perspective and that is best obtained through a concentration on God’s will for your life. We listen to too many other voices. Let’s make sure that the one we listen to the most is that of the One who created us and loves us completely.