by Brad Clarkson
Leadership Development & Worship Arts Pastor
The beautiful complexion of autumn is on vivid display around us. The cycle of life, death and change reminds us that staying the same isn't an option. Look outside. Look in the mirror. God is constantly remaking everything. Ultimately, you will either look like Christ, or that dying person you see in the mirror. If you truly believe that life in Christ is a life of abundance, then open your hand and release those things that aren't supposed to be held. We choose what we cling to, temporal shiny things in a passing landscape that hold us back, or God's guiding hand that leads us forward. Trusting God means embracing change.
In every election I can remember, politicians define their candidacy by describing the change they want to see in the world. Usually their success in politics depends on how widely their vision for change resonates. You'll never hear a politician say, "Elect me and I promise to keep things the same." A good leader will envision a better version of the way things are and convince others to make the the sacrifices necessary to get there. Unfortunately in this election, our presidential candidates struggled to cast a vision for the greater good.
The secret ballot is the most fearful and powerful weapon of our democracy, and every citizen owns one. However, contrary to what our American idealism would have us believe, our vote does not have the power to truly change this country or the world. It's ultimate purpose is to give us what we want, it will never solve the problem of our selfish heart. The ballot gives the majority their heart's desire, the minority is neglected by design. Only in our biblical response to God's great love, can the individual realize the desire of their heart (Psalm 37:4) And that's why politics is not the answer.
Change is a fickle thing. Each of us can quickly describe the change that we would like to see in others, but we are very resistant to the process of change in ourselves. Revelation teaches that God, the one who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, is the divine catalyst for change. The lone constant in the universe is calling us from darkness into light. That's change. His kindness compels us from sin to repentance. That’s change. Christ himself modeled change in His passing from life to death to life. That's change.
So let us commit to pray fervently for our country. Scripture teaches that it pleases God when we pray for our leaders. Pray for Donald Trump as the governing authority for this country transitions to him. Pray for Hillary Clinton as she grapples with the heartbreak of losing the election. Whether you are celebrating or grieving the results of this election, do it with humility and in consideration of scripture's call to consider others higher than yourself. Let us move past pointing at one another and saying “the problem is them." The problem isn't them. it's not even us collectively, it's you and me. The problem is our sin that makes us selfish and resistant to God's most precious gift, true heart change through Christ. We have willfully wounded one another with our weapons of man-made change. It's time to change the change we seek.
Every morning I drive past two churches on my way to work. I'm certain that the first church is celebrating the results of this presidential election. I’m also certain that the second church is grieving those same results. Since 1995, Steele Creek Church of Charlotte has been deeply immersed in the mission of racial reconciliation. Come be a part of that mission with us every Sunday. No doubt, you will sit beside someone with a different perspective. This coming Thursday night, November 17 at 7:00 PM, the Worship Ministry is hosting a night of worship, prayer and reconciliation and you are invited to bring your neighbor and join us. Our plan is to love God, and love each other. Because that's what we do!
As you are surrounded by God's handiwork in this season of autumn change, be reminded that the God of the universe is beckoning you toward change. It's all around you. In the midst of the static hear Him say, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Take comfort in this scripture as you consider what's happening all around you. I'll leave you with this:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.