Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
There has been a big shaking going on in society for some time now, akin to the 1960s, and I say the true color of Christians is coming out in response to that. Just where people will take a stand, what hill they’re willing to die on. One could say that where people have been for the last several decades is now being confirmed and solidified.
The question I think we need to ask ourselves is simply what our priority is, what overrides everything else. What defines us, what factors into how we see everything. What hill are we willing to die on?
Jesus made it plain to his disciples what their first priority was to be. To simply follow him, taking their own crosses, to do what he was doing. And that meant to abide by his teachings, both the general aspect and the details in it.
That meant to repent of their ideas of what the coming kingdom of God should be. What Jesus brought was not what they wanted. For us today, we need to apply what Jesus taught and lived out to the current situation. Are we taken in by something other than God’s kingdom in Jesus?
This is especially difficult when those we more or less favor are in power. So I speak to my white evangelical friends here. I’m no longer in that fold, but I’ve been a part of that tradition for decades. Why do we put our confidence in any political stance, or somehow think it’s Christian? I mean American politics. Unfortunately there’s little or more likely no understanding of the politics of Jesus, or that the gospel is political, that in a true sense everything which God is about in the world is indeed political. By political I simply mean the ordering of life: how humans live together, and how humans live on earth.
Evangelicals put politics in a different category than their faith, and yet they insist that a certain American political stand is necessary because of their faith, or for whatever reason. They are willing to talk and talk and talk about that, which indeed gives you the impression that it’s indeed important, that it’s likely a hill they’re willing to die on.
Yes, a whole bunch of issues need to be considered in light of God’s revealed will, not just one or two. We do need in love to speak out on such issues. To try to listen and learn. To pray, and hopefully discern.
But we must beware of giving ourselves to something other than what our Lord calls us to give ourselves to. We have one Lord. Are we inadvertently and mistakenly being taken into something else? Even for good reasons? We must be careful. No political party of this world deserves such commitment from us. I’m not referring to the Christians who may serve as elected officials of a political party, though they too must be wary. But to the church at large. And we in our commitment as individual Christians, followers of Christ.
However we might vote, we follow only one Lord. One politic, that which is in Jesus and God’s kingdom in him. Not two. That’s impossible. We either follow Jesus all the way, or not at all. Not easy, but the Lord will help us and see us through as we endeavor to do this with others. As we take up our crosses, the hill by God’s grace that we are called to be willing to die on. In and through Jesus.