I believe in political involvement. I believe in social action. I believe in taking responsibility for our world. I believe in rolling up our sleeves and getting involved and being agents of positive change. But I also believe that our greatest battle is a spiritual battle – not a political battle or even a social battle – and we do our country a disservice when we neglect the spiritual battle at hand.
Paul explained to the believers in Ephesus that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
What? Organized cosmic powers of darkness? Demonic forces arrayed in heavenly places? We’re supposed to take this stuff seriously?
Absolutely. We ignore the spiritual realm to the peril of our own souls.
That’s why Paul exhorted his readers to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:12-13). We are in a spiritual war.
Again, I am not downplaying earthly realities one bit.
I am not saying that we’re not fully responsible for our actions. We are, and we can’t say, “The devil made me do it.”
I am not saying that some Democratic policies are not downright evil or that some Republicans are not downright corrupt or that some of our government’s decisions are not downright dangerous.
And I am absolutely not saying that instead of voting and petitioning and speaking up and taking stands we should just stay home and pray.
But I am saying that we have seriously neglected prayer.
I am saying that we have focused way too much on natural things and not nearly enough on spiritual things.
I am saying that we – speaking on behalf of many Christian conservatives – have put too much trust in the Republican Party and, for some, even in President Trump. Our hope must be in the Lord, and only He can bring about the changes our nation so desperately needs.
Let’s remember that we have a common enemy, the devil, also known as Satan. He hates blacks and whites alike. He wants to destroy men and women alike. He despises gays and straights alike. As Jesus taught, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).
He wants to destroy America (along with every other nation on the planet), and he cannot be defeated in the ballot box.
We must do war against Satan and his minions, and we do it first through devoted prayer, which ascends to the throne of God and results in extraordinary divine intervention. We also do it by sharing our faith with others, preaching the gospel without compromise or apology, calling a lost world to turn to Jesus and be transformed. (Yes, I really believe all this. Do you?)
And we do it by living out our faith – in our personal lives, in our families, in our church communities – without hypocrisy and without compromise.
That’s how America will be shaken, and nothing short of a great awakening will stop (or even slow) our nation’s headlong race to destruction.
Do we really think that the Supreme Court can stem the tide? That Congress can do it? That the president can do it? That passing a specific bill or enacting a certain law will reverse our course?
Again, we should get involved politically, and what our political and judicial leaders do is of great importance. But let’s not kid ourselves. There’s only so much these elected (and unelected) officials can do. The real changes that need to occur in our country can only occur by the Lord, working in conjunction with His people.
Likewise, our national wounds and divisions are too deep for a human cure. We need the Great Physician.
When I speak like this, I understand that some will misread this column and hear ominous talk of “dominionism,” as if I’m calling for some type of forceful, Christian takeover of society. Be assured that that is the last thing on my mind.
What I’m calling for is simple and clear. It is for followers of Jesus to seek God’s face in prayer with a deep sense of urgency, asking Him to have mercy on our nation.
It is for us to humble ourselves before Him in deep repentance for our own sins and failings.
It is for us to renew our commitment to the Great Commission and to focus once again on winning the lost and making disciples.
It is for us to shine like lights in dark places, confronting evil and injustice, helping the poor and the hurting, making a tangible difference for good wherever God has placed us.
It is for us to live in the light of eternity, recognizing that what we do (or don’t do) in our time on earth will have implications in both this world and the world to come.
In short, it is for us to take the Bible seriously, and that means submitting to God, resisting the devil, and pushing back the forces of darkness by the power of the gospel.
Not only can it be done, with God’s gracious help, it must be done.