October 8: “The Gospel, Politics, Patriotism, and Eternity”

10 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Jeremiah 10:1–11:23
Colossians 3:18–4:18
Psalm 78:56-72
Proverbs 24:28-29

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT): “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Rant Warning:

It has never been more evident to me that the distorted American version of Christianity is in serious trouble. And maybe that’s a good thing. Because perhaps authentic biblical Christianity can grow out of the ashes of that worldview.

“Christians,” who have never led a single person to the Lord, continue in their pattern of not sharing the Gospel. Yet, they rant about every bad thing going on in our government and in our nation. Whether in person or on social media, they are on edge and are ready to spew their views on everything going wrong and what should be done about it. 

We could only wish they had as much passion for pursuing holiness and sharing the Gospel … without the attitude. After all, if more people genuinely gave their lives to King Jesus, our nation could be turned around at the heart level. Then, the craziness would begin to dissipate, one life at a time.

But as it stands, Christians aren’t being looked upon favorably by the world. They see us as combative simpletons who aren’t honest enough to recognize that we aren’t as perfect as we think we are. 

We understand that the world does not like Jesus, and so it will not like Jesus in us. But it seems that the world currently doesn’t like Christians, not necessarily because of Jesus, but because so many Christians are being jerks. (If you think I’m being a jerk right now, just read the book of Galatians to see how the Apostle Paul wrote to a church that was robbing the Gospel of its power.)

We could really learn from Colossians 4:5-6

Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT): “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

We need to be so cautious in how we live and how we talk around unbelievers. We need to live in such a way that we are seen to be serious about following Jesus. Yet, in so doing, we are demonstrating His love and kindness toward everyone. We should also be ready at a moment’s notice to share the Gospel with unbelievers.

As it is, so many American Christians are militantly fighting for a country that appears to have the marks of God’s judgment upon it. They aren’t on their knees praying for revival. They aren’t winning the lost at any cost. Instead, they have laid the Gospel aside, believing it to be impotent, and have thrown all of their energies into politics … something that has never won a single person to the Lord.

I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t be in politics or speak into it. Daniel was in politics (Daniel 2:48). So was Joseph (Genesis 41:37-40). Yet, Jesus has ultimately given us the Gospel to turn hearts to the Lord. But it seems that far too many Christians are much more passionate about politics and rarely, if ever, share the Gospel. Obviously, they don’t believe it is powerful enough to changes lives and to change a nation.

And the result is that the lost world is watching and listening. Their hearts are growing hardened to anything we have to say because of how we are behaving ourselves. I believe it is possible to be patriotic, to stand up for what is right, to share our convictions about what we believe is wrong, but to do so in a way that ultimately does not rob the Gospel of its saving power in the lives of the people who desperately need it.

We aren’t going to turn a nation around by being jerks and living in such a way that we are losing the respect of unbelievers. We do it by following Jesus’ example as we observe how He behaved around unbelievers. If we look closely enough, the only people He got angry at were the religious folks who looked down on “sinners” (read Matthew 23.). Contemporary American Christianity has a lot more Phariseeism in us than we might realize.

Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT): “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to be so careful in how I live. Enable me to see where my behaviors or my speech (or my social media posts) are not in compliance with the standards you have set in your Word. Remind me that unbelievers are not won to You when I’m a jerk. Instead, they are won when I am living out your principles in such a way that they want what I’ve got. So, help me to walk very cautiously in these trying days as I balance patriotism, politics, and the Gospel. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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