For far too long, I have been fretting about what the future of this nation means for my daughters. I have prayed tirelessly over our future leaders, over our laws, over this godless culture, over this coming election. I obviously want my daughters and their children to be raised in a safe and wholesome society that honors God. The word does say in I Timothy 2:1-2 that we should pray for all those in authority so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life and so that is what I was trying to do. And yet, what I saw where things getting worse instead of getting better.
Then the Lord revealed something to me through prayer groups and intercession that changed my whole outlook. He showed me that I have been focusing and putting too much trust in this nation. I have been putting my trust in men and thinking that if only the right leader was elected, things could turn around. That kind of revelation rocked my world as I have loved this country since the day that I immigrated here decades ago. This revelation shook my foundations as an American patriot. My heart sank, but as I continued to pray and search the scripture, my heart found hope.
He has shown me several things in scripture but this week, I was moved by what I read II Chronicles regarding Hezekiah. What struck me was what this king of Judah did when he first came into power. II Chronicles 29 teaches us that in the first year of his reign, Hezekiah set himself to cleanse the temple of the Lord. Think about that for a minute. He did not restructure alliances. He did not build up the military might. He did not change governing laws. He cleansed the temple and the reason that he did it is revealed in verse 10 where it says, “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us.” Hezekiah was going to get himself and his nation right before God before worrying about anything else.
In the age of grace, and post Jesus fulfilling the requirements of the law, what does that mean for us? God has been showing me that we need to cleanse our temple, both at the individual and the corporate level. He has taken me through a process of examining, and reexamining my heart and priorities (I have still work to do). But he has also showed me that while we fret over candidates, and transgenderism, and guns laws (the list goes on), we have ignored the fact that the American church, with some exceptions, is dead.
Now, I know that many will say, “How can you say that? I go to church. I teach a Bible study. Our congregation is growing.” I will say, that is what I thought too. But when I look at the early churches in the books of Acts, I see churches that were on fire. People lived their faith, day in and day out. What I see in the American church is that we live our faith one day a week. The rest of the time, we are fretting over our professional advancement, on our kids professional advancement, and on how to maintain our comfortable lifestyles. Our churches are active maybe one or two days a week, but the other five days our churches are empty and lifeless.
Our churches are constantly pointing the finger at the sin made by unbelievers who don’t know any better, and fails to look or consider the sin within its own walls. For example, while we rail on the fact that babies are being aborted, what are we doing to reach out to women and help them provide for their children?Are we the type of church that a young, scared teenage girl would go to for help if she got pregnant out of wedlock? For every aborted baby there is a father who failed to provide. What are we doing as a church to teach boys and men how to be fathers? Are we showing grace, and mercy, and the love of Jesus or are we just bringing down judgement?
So instead of focusing so much time on praying for our nation and the coming election, God has changed my focus to pray for the body of Christ. He does not want a church that is lukewarm. He wants a church that is on fire. He wants a church that is reaching out to the poor, healing the sick, taking care of the elderly, providing for the orphans and widows, releasing people from bondage. He wants a church that is fasting and praying and interceding continually. He wants churches that are busting out the seems most days of the week doing His work. Because when that happens, we are truly living for His Kingdom and showing ourselves worthy of that citizenship. This country may one day fade away, but His Kingdom will live forever.