Monday, July 8, 2013

Living Peaceful Lives

Have you noticed that we tend to find verses that support our views and gravitate towards them? Have you noticed that we tend to downplay, ignore, or rationalize away verses that we don't like?

Well, it is sometimes not a very popular viewpoint to encourage believers to pray for elected officials whose views believers disagree with. It's sometimes not very popular to encourage believers to live quiet and peaceful lives. These views are Biblical, however.

1 Thessalonians 4:10-12-Paul instructs us to live quiet lives, mind our own business, and work with our hands, to win the respect of outsiders and not be dependent on others. Romans 12:18-Paul instructs us to live in peace with everyone, as much as we can. Hebrews 12:14-Paul tells us to live in peace with everyone and to live holy lives. 1 Timothy 2:1-4-Paul tells us to petition, pray, intercede, and give thanks for kings and those in authority, so we can live peaceful/quiet/holy/godly lives. Hebrews 13:17-Paul tells us to trust in our leaders and submit to their authority, so we will make their work a joy, not a burden.

When I challenge you to pray for our leaders (church and government), notice that the scripture says pray *for*, not pray *against*. Praying that God will smite the leader or that God will change the leader's views to match your own is not praying *for* them, it's praying against them. Praying that God will guide their decisions, speak to their hearts, and show them His way to solve problems, is praying *for* your leaders.

Living quiet, peaceful, hard-working lives will attract the notice of officials. They will notice that those Christians aren't causing problems and those Christians are doing radical things like helping the poor, widowed, and orphans (which helps out the government). They will notice that those Christians aren't protesting every move that they make and causing more problems for them to deal with. And pretty soon, they will start asking "Why? What's so different about those people who call themselves Christians?"

"But I don't agree with the choices my government is making."

I'm pretty sure that the early believers didn't agree with the decisions the Roman government was making (such as killing Christians in gruesome ways). The Romans, Hebrews, and 1 Timothy passages mentioned above were written during the reign of Emperor Nero...You know Nero? The guy who had Christians torn apart by dogs? The one who crucified Christians? The one who used them as human candles during the night [That claim needs a source site to verify it]?(Another source). An extreme anti-Christian persecutor?

If the early Christians were to live quiet/godly/peaceful lives, praying for and submitting to their leaders (including Nero), I'm sure that Christians in the U.S.A. (where we have the freedom to practice our religion, even though other people practice other religions & even if the government is not naming Christianity as the state religion) can do the same.

Our God is a powerful God. One day, every human will stand before Him and answer for their deeds. He sees the injustice in the world. He has a plan to help: it's called "His people." We are to care for those on the margins of society. Yet, we aren't to try to overthrow our government, instead we are to live peaceful lives and that is what will get noticed.

I challenge you to ask God how you're doing on this. To meditate on these verses. To listen for God's voice in what to do. God speaks with one voice.

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