In the midst of one of the most controversial presidential campaigns in recent memory, a question that should be asked is: “What is a Great Commission Christian to do?”
Sure, we can find blogs and podcasts, and well-meaning friends, telling how to vote, or not to vote. That is fine. It is probably even necessary. However, as we think about this campaign, one question should haunt us.
What is the missionary response?
Jesus gave the Great Commission to the whole church, not a few courageous men. He promised to be with us as we fulfill this commission – until the end of the age. This means that all Christians are responsible for making disciples of all nations in all times and places.
But how? In this swirling atmosphere what is a Great Commission Christian to do?
- Keep your eye on the goal
If the only reason God sent Jesus to save us was so we could live with Him forever, He could have taken us to heaven the moment we believed. But he did not do that. Why? One reason we are still here is to impact those around us for eternity.
The goal of Christian living is not to create a version of heaven on earth, rather it is to live on Earth as citizens of another country. It also includes striving to take as many people as possible to our real home. We cannot allow temporary goals (even seemingly important ones) to distract us from our ultimate calling.
- Keep the real enemy in focus.
Misplacing the “enemy tag” can disqualify you from the mission. According to the Bible, our battle is not against other people; it is a spiritual (see Eph 6:12).
– People who disagree with us are not our enemies.
– People who are not like us (nationally or ethnically) are not enemies
– People who worship other gods are not our enemies
There is an enemy, but before we place that label on someone, remember point 1. Is it possible God keeps us in the world with these people is to help them know Him and to know that he loves them deeply. A Great Commission Christian keeps this in mind. At the end of this political season our mandate is still to make disciples of all nations. We cannot say or do anything that will disqualify us from this goal.
- Remember that God’s kingdom is worldwide and eternal
Our national leaders, and those seeking national office, are responsible for protection and the well-being this country. This is actually a biblical mandate. For this reason, their focus will be narrow and one-sided. We may disagree with their assessment of the problems and their proposed solutions (or we may agree!). But at the end of the day, this focus is too small a thing for those of us who are Christians. (Is 49:6)
The Great Commission pushes us to have global, and even eternal, vision. This means that Christians must disagree with politicians. We are citizens of a country in this world. But ultimately we are also citizens – EVEN AMBASSADORS – of another country. In the midst of this US political season, our actions, our words, and our attitudes should represent this fact.
- Remember, we are not alone and we are not the first Christians to have faced difficult political situations.
It seems that the theme of every campaign season is: “This is the worst it has ever been.” Unfortunately, this message creeps into our churches and Christian language. Worse yet, Christians believe the political messaging and then add Christian tags to the issues.
- The economy and taxes will close down churches
- Immoral leaders will corrupt our youth
- Judges and laws will put an end to biblical preaching and conversion
- Acceptance of people who worship differently or believe differently will destroy Christianity
This is not only unfortunate, it is sinful. This language betrays a lack of faith and a loss of focus. It greatly hinders our ability to live faithfully. Changes may come – they probably will. But remember – we are not alone. The Great Commission promises that Jesus is always with us. Do we really believe this is enough?
Second, we are not the first, nor are we the only, Christian community being called to live in a hostile environment. Actually, we were born for this! Michael Green, in his classic book Evangelism in the Early Church, notes that Christianity thrived during its very turbulent years. He writes: “. . . we cannot fail to profit from reflecting on the ways in which this tiny band of men and women in a fringe province of a far-flung Roman Empire became a world faith within a couple of generations. They must have something important to teach us about evangelism . . . Christianity for them was no hour’s slot on Sunday. It affected everything they did and everyone they met.”
Today, in the midst of this madness, let’s keep our heads about us and remember the real mandate we have been called to: making disciples of Jesus among all nations and all peoples.