Recently in a Wednesday night Bible study, our pastor Brother Dennis said something that really struck a chord in my life:
“When we trash people, we lose authority. Not trashing others protects me from me.”
If I could drop the mike writing a devotional, I’d walk off right now. However, I’m supposed to share with you what God shows me, so let’s begin. Brother Dennis was speaking about a verse from Jude:
“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” (Jude 8)
It’s the speaking evil of dignitaries Dennis was addressing and the part on which I need to focus. If you’ve followed me for any time on social media, you know that I have been guilty of speaking evil of dignitaries.
I haven’t slandered any of our public officials, but I have disparaged them. It always seems to be a fine line between addressing evil and taking cheap shots at politicians with which I struggle. I now know why that is.
I don’t pray for them.
I can’t remember the last time I ever prayed for “the other side.” I know that I’ve prayed for Barack Obama in the distant past, but my anger over what is happening in our country has blinded my heart and eyes to my requirement to pray for our leaders.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Okay, here’s where the balancing act comes in, at least for me. How do I stand against evil and yet not speak evil of those in elected office? Seems like a dilemma, however it really isn’t. If I am praying for my leaders, then my heart won’t be in the trashing mode, and I’ll be “protecting me from me.”
I can still speak out against evil, but not according to the authority of Dave Jeffers. I stand on the authority of God’s Word. God’s Word clearly outlines how rulers are to carry out their responsibilities, beginning with who should hold public office:
“Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” (Exodus 18:21a)
Can you imagine the state of our nation if our public servants met those three criteria? In fact, that’s good criteria for businesses too. People who fear God, tell the truth, and do not covet are going to be as close to honest brokers as you can get. For that matter, imagine our churches being led by such men.
I’ve come to realize that I cannot talk someone over to “my side.” They have to be convinced that my worldview matches up with theirs. In the arena of ideas, the Biblical worldview has stood the tests of time. The Bible is always true and always relevant. We need to make it relative to the times in which we live. That means knowing our Bibles.
The majority of times we begin trashing others is because we’ve become frustrated with them and don’t really have anything intelligent to say. When it comes to a Biblical worldview, people aren’t going to embrace it just because we do. We must show them the way through the scriptures.
We gain authority by standing on God’s Word. We lose authority by attacking others and disparaging their ideology. Putting someone on defense by attacking them automatically makes them defensive. They are no longer in the receive mode; they are rejecting you outright.
I need to purpose in my heart to pray for our leaders and for the enemies of God that both would come to a saving relationship with Christ. That is what pleases Jesus and matches up to His desires:
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
I bet if we made that the goal of our lives, then our churches would be changed and the revival we so desperately seek would finally come.
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Copyright © 2015 David Jeffers