The Word of God is so pregnant with life that sometimes a single verse can transform our thinking. Recently, my mind was opened to a whole new world of thoughts when I heard a pastor quote James 1:20: “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
Like never before, I saw the massive mistake that many Christians have made by getting entangled with political mindsets. Please allow me to explain.
Human governments, with their systems of laws and leadership hierarchy, are necessary for the safety, well-being, and prosperity of a culture. And in their wisdom, the founding fathers of the United States established a balance of power to stave off the natural human thirst for supremacy and control.
This balance of power has thus far kept our nation from descending into chaos, but the political process is often characterized by the base elements of human nature. Nasty attitudes, cutthroat competition, and arm-twisting manipulation are all too common.
The need for Christians to enter the political process is evident. Elected officials make the decisions that affect not only our everyday lives, but also the future of our nation. The very real danger, however, is that we become corrupted by the very process we are trying to change.
And so, we come to James 1:19-20:
But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19b-20 (NASB)
To put it differently, we might say, “the attitudes and methods of humanity do not achieve God’s kingdom purposes.”
Why does it matter what methods we use to advance our cause? Because, ultimately, ungodly means will backfire. Rather than establishing a righteous future for our children and grandchildren, unwise actions will only make matters worse.
Author Philip Yancey said it well:
C. S. Lewis observed that almost all crimes of Christian history have come about when religion is confused with politics. Politics, which always runs by the rules of ungrace, allures us to trade away grace for power, a temptation the church has often been unable to resist.
My friends, this is why we humble our hearts to fast and pray! The last thing we want to do is abandon the superior power of God’s grace for the inferior power of the political arena.
Rather than being corrupted by the world’s system, we are using kingdom means to achieve God’s purposes. And as we seek heavenly wisdom for earthly problems, the Holy Spirit will enlighten our hearts, form our attitudes, and direct our actions.
Personal Reflection: Have I allowed my heart to be hardened by the coldness of the cutthroat world around me?
Prayer: Jesus, please forgive me for using worldly means to achieve good purposes. Help me understand the dynamics of how Your kingdom works.
1 Timothy 2:1-8