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Our Primary Objectiveby Duane Mabee on June 23, 2021
The topic I’m about to address came up in a discussion recently and my comments raised some dander. That wasn’t my intent, nor is it my intent to do it again, though I might. I’ve been writing through the topic of revival in the same order as some thoughts given by Daniel Henderson in his book Old Paths New Power, and today’s topic happens to be the one that caused the controversy. So, rather than give my thoughts initially, let me give an extended quote from Henderson.
One of the great diversions today is the belief that electing a specific political party or redefining some social issue will bring real change to our nation. Please hear me. Christians should vote – always. We should graciously speak out on issues that concern us. But the United States and other nations are going downhill like an Olympic luge medalist because of one primary issue – the condition of human hearts. Hearts inform minds. Minds cast votes. Votes shape politics. Politics do not change the social landscape but rather reflect cultural realities. Only Jesus can transform hearts to reset the entire process.
The governments of Jesus’ and Paul’s day were so pagan they make the American system look like a kindergarten recess. Yet nothing was mentioned about this evil state of affairs in any of the messages of Jesus or writings of Paul, except to say that we should pay our taxes and pray for our leaders. That is because Jesus and Paul knew that only the Gospel could change hearts, and changed hearts can change the world.
The great need of the day is for the church to pray for the church. Change starts among God’s people. All other prayer targets are secondary and represent a superficial approach to the essence of revival. (Henderson, p. 226).
Like Henderson, I believe in the American form of government and economic system. I would love to see both functioning well as they were originally intended. I also believe that Christians should work to see that happen. I do not, however, believe that having our politics and economy functioning exactly as we would like them to will bring about the Kingdom of Christ. In fact, given the bent of the human heart, it would likely push back the development of Christ’s Kingdom because we would become comfortable and satisfied with life here and now and forget that we have been called to advance the Kingdom.
Church, our primary objective must be to advance the Kingdom of Christ both quantitatively and qualitatively. Christ told us that our reason for being here is to make disciples – more disciples and better disciples. We are to make sure they hear the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation. We are to do whatever we can to encourage people to receive the gospel for themselves. We are to help them identify with the people of God and learn to obey everything Jesus commanded. When the church gets serious about making that our primary objective, we will see revival. Until the church makes that her primary objective she will be distracted, and the kingdom of darkness will continue to advance at an alarming rate.
The hope of the world is not in politics or economics – though both can be beneficial. The hope of the world will only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ and the life transformation it brings. So, let’s make bringing that hope to the world our heartbeat and passion.