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CBN.com Here, there, everywhere. Politicians selling their wares. On every TV screen, every radio, and all over the newspaper. Time to buy and sell a politicians --M adison Avenue style. Package him right (like a new deodorant), point out all his positive salient features (like a new car), have an instant answer for every problem (like Extra Strength Tylenol for headaches), make him or her all things to all men and women, boys and girls (like Santa Claus). When it’s all over and our latest hero has not lived up to the rhetoric and our expectations, and it goes down the drain of disillusionment, we will have to call for someone to disengage our plugged up situation (like the Roto-Rooter man). In the wake of all this lies the trail of the defeated, disappointed and disgruntled. As the tally board says, when all the votes are finally in, there will be the “others” and the “also rans,” assigned to a footnote of history.
What is it that makes people want to expose themselves to all of it? The relentless questions, the scrutiny, and sometimes vilification in the public square. Town after town, motels and hotels, sleepless nights. Bad food, bad judgment, misgivings, the sacrifice of family and often friends, and the loneliness in the midst of the crowd. And often, the pain of defeat, the dream vanquished, the promises unfulfilled, and the wan smile through suppressed tears. He nearly got to the top of the mountain, saw the promised land, and was pushed off. What about all the dashed hopes (and spent money) of all those who followed? All those who were so sure their candidate was “it.” All those who shared the vision and the hope. Is it back to the office, the house, the day-to-day grind? And silently, with a whispered promise to themselves, they vow never to commit themselves to anyone or anything so completely again.
It seems we are living in an age when the people are accepting the packaging more and more, without being honest or discerning enough with themselves and others to admit that, after the pretty paper and bows are stripped off, the box is empty.
Think about all the promises…world peace, no crime, a balanced budget, an end to world hunger.
I don’t want to be pessimistic, but is it possible to keep those sorts
of promises? Try we must, and it’s good to work toward those goals and
ideals; but are the Republicans or the Democrats, the liberals or the conservatives,
the left, the right, or the moderates, ultimately going to usher in the new
millennium. I doubt it.
The Plumb Line
I think there is a criterion, a standard by which we can measure a candidate who aspires to this kind of leadership. I will refer to the characteristics that God outlined in the Bible that produced men like Moses, David and Jesus Christ. If we are looking for a standard of measurement, let’s look to the highest.
First: How can we determine the best choice?
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - - for kings and all those in authority - - that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior.” (Timothy 2:1-3)
As we pray for and receive good government, the benefits of such allow us to live peaceful and quiet lives. What many Christians have in America and often take for granted is not true in many parts of the world. For instance, in Sudan, an estimated 500 Christians are killed every day for their faith. The fact is that our so-called civilized society has seen a century of persecution, producing, according to World Mission Digest, 100,000,000 Christian martyrs. What makes us think that America will be exempt if current trends continue?
Yet it is encouraging to note that many people are taking this admonition quite seriously, as they set aside time for prayer and fasting for this country.
Another benefit of a peaceful society is the freedom to pursue godliness and holiness. And, first and foremost, it pleases God when you pray this way, whether you adhere to the political philosophy of those you pray for or not.
Second: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities (including those in authority), for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
It’s not good salesmanship that establishes leaders, it’s God. But it is the responsibility of the people to prayerfully find out who God’s man or woman is. Leaders are simply the representatives and mirrors of the people who elect them. We get the leadership we deserve. In light of the vulnerability of some of our politicians to corruption, abuse of power, and immorality, that is a sobering thought. What kind of people have we become?
Third: Any candidate holding public office and we, the electors, need to measure leadership by God’s standards.
“He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
(2 Samuel 23:3)
Two traits are required here: (a) Just: Those who conform to spiritual law and are righteous. (b) That they rule in the fear of God and not the constituency; and are responsible before Him, first, for the decisions they make and the votes they cast.
Fourth: Those in leadership need to assume the role of the servant and recognize, “That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes, and sets over it the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)
The haughtiness and arrogance that parades itself before us in the guise of “public servant” is a far cry from the example of servant leadership that is committed to self-sacrifice rather than self-promotion.
Fifth: Men and women of integrity, rather than wheeler-dealers. In other words their word is their bond, and they walk in truth, rather than lies and double-talk… Leaders who will take responsibility for their mistakes, rather than placing blame…A leader like David, who could pray: “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and mind; for I walk continually in Your truth. I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked, whose hand is full of bribes. My feet stand on level ground.” (Psalm 26)
In other words an honest politician, who cannot be bought for any price, because he has already been bought with a price.
Finally, if you want success Mr., Mrs. or Ms. Leader, learn this:
“The Most High rules the kingdom (administrations) of men, and gives power to anyone He chooses. Your kingdom (administration) shall be assured to you from the time you learn that heaven rules. Break off your sins by practicing justice and showing pity to the poor and oppressed; perhaps then your prosperity will be prolonged.” (Daniel 4:26-27)
I am well aware of an alternate society of people, a nation within this nation, who attempt to adhere to these principles. As we abide by the “platform” of this citizenry, we are seeing the hungry fed and the people productive, as they are given opportunity to use their God-given gifts and talents. The possibilities are unlimited, as all are encouraged to rise to their highest potential...and beyond. In addition our “party” has a balanced budget, as we are learning to stay out of debt and balance our checkbooks. Divorce is not an option, because, “you don’t hurt the one you love.” Rather, you are willing to lay down you life for them, by giving, not getting. As a result, crime is non-existent (since one doesn’t rip off those he loves), and there is peace. Unity and harmony among its members are priorities. “Faithfulness and fidelity” is a byword. All of this is a miracle, as God backs up these commitments and principles as a normal way of life in the hearts and minds of the people whose outer lives reflect the inner change. Ultimately, this is the way God wants to run the earth through the dominion of His Son Jesus Christ and the people who call themselves by His name.
They are called Christians, and they pray daily that, with His favor, they
may live out the Kingdom of God. May it continually come!
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