Honor God in Caesar’s World | Pray Vote Pray
Monday— Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for… those that exist are instituted by God. Romans 13:1
Wow! What a verse! But before we start waving our MAGA hats or flaunting our Biden/Harris buttons, let’s take a slow, calming breath and peek into the other camp. That’s right. The guy in the suit jacket we’ve campaigned against. This verse might be talking about him. In order for that to make sense, we need to remind ourselves who penned this verse. It was Paul. The same Paul who was stoned, imprisoned, beaten, and eventually murdered at the hands of his own governing authority—Emperor Nero. Nero is infamous for being one of the most sadistic, brutal dictators in history. THAT’S who Paul was submitting to.
So why would a man who had suffered tremendously under governmental tyranny tell us to submit to it? It was because he understood authority. Jesus did too when He told Pilate, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11). If we’re going to understand where authority comes from, we have to start at the top and work down. God is at the top. He’s in charge of His world. He has authority to raise up leaders and cast them down (Dan. 2:21). His purposes for choosing some leaders and rejecting others may be very different from ours because He knows what happens a million light years from now. He knows how our tiny piece of the puzzle fits with a billion other pieces. That should give us peace in the midst of cultural chaos. We should pray-vote-pray for those who will lead us, but no one has authority unless God gives it.
Final Thought: Are you preparing your heart to accept God’s decision on November 3rd?
Prayer: Father, this year has brought out so much ugliness in people, including me. We’re letting social issues divide us and you hate that. Please forgive me. I place 2020 in your hands and trust you for the outcome. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Luke 20:25
Jett shoved the catcher’s mitt under his brother’s nose. “Property of Lakeview Recreation Dept,” he read from the bold white label splashed across its back “What are you doing with it?” Ten-tear old Jason squirmed under his older brother’s glare. “I..uh…I needed a new mitt. They have lots.” Jett threw the mitt on the bed beside his brother and knelt before him. “Listen bro,” he said. “I know you haven’t been with our family very long, and maybe you didn’t know this. But you can’t take stuff that’s not yours. Remember when the judge said you belonged to us now? That means nobody can take you away from us because you have our last name. Well, this mitt belongs to the rec center. Nobody can take it from them because it has their name.”
When God adopts us through faith in Jesus, we get His name: Christian. But we have to learn what belongs to us as Christians and what stays back with our old lives. Colossians 3 lists some things that say “Property of Satan,” like sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. Then it lists some things that belong to God’s kids: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We all have a master. It’s either God or sin (Rom. 6:16-18). Our life choices indicate who owns us.
Final Thought: Never for a second have you owned yourself. What do your choices reveal about who owns you?
Prayer: Lord, is your mark of ownership evident in me? Am I giving to you what belongs to you or am I surrendering parts of myself to my enemy? Please forgive me for stealing from you. May all my life choices honor you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday— When Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual. Daniel 6:10
POP QUIZ: In the following examples, choose the person who has a God-approved reason for disobeying authority.
- Anna hates the new dress code, so she shows up at work in a crop top and a mini skirt. (No one has the right to control me.)
- Ben hates the new President, so he posts every insulting, derogatory meme he can find. (He’s not MY President.)
- Jok had a bad experience with the cops, so he spray-paints a police car with profanity. (I’m protesting systemic racism.)
- Shel thinks masks are stupid, so she goes off on the salesperson who points to the Masks-Only sign. (I have my rights.)
- Dan learns he must worship an idol, so he goes to his room and prays to God anyway. (I want to obey God.)
If you chose anything other than # 5, you might need some extra-credit assignments. Our out-of-control culture is choosing
#1-4 and that’s not working very well. The problem is that we hate authority. We’re independent, rights-fighting, free-thinking, do-it-yourselfers. Nobody should tell us what to do. Unfortunately for us, that attitude gallops right into our relationship with God. We think He is wowed by our sass. Surely He’ll back down when we tell Him how it’s gonna be, right? Not a chance. Instead, the Lord instituted earthly authorities to teach us how to obey Him, because rebellion isn’t limited to bosses and governments. It spills over into everything. Submission to authorities prepares us for submission to God’s word.
Final Thought: On biblical convictions, we must not budge. On everything else (unless it is sin), we must obey authority.
Prayer: Lord—that word means you are the undisputed Boss. I bow to you, submit my will to you, and obey you. I also commit to honoring those you’ve placed in authority over me. Help me practice humility and obedience. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.” Matthew 5:41
Seth watched from the corner of his eye as a towering soldier clanked toward him, saber slapping against his metal shield. “Oh no,” he groaned to his friend. “Looks like he spotted us. Wish I could grab that saber and—” His friend James nodded, eying the Roman enemy headed their way. “I know. I used to feel that way. But I’ve been listening to that new Rabbi from Nazareth. You heard of Him? He says His followers should go over and above in submitting to authorities. This soldier can order me to carry his stuff for a mile, but I’m gonna go two miles. I’ve been doing that and I got to tell the last one about Jesus. Kinda fun!”
James had discovered a secret we still need to learn. Rebellion and hate don’t have the power to transform bad situations; they only create more rebellion and hate. We’re seeing that played out in the riots and destruction across America. Anger and racism are creating more anger and racism. Jesus has a better solution—overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Governments and rulers may be unreasonable, even wicked. We should respectfully protest or petition for change whenever possible. But the best way to expose wickedness is to contrast it with righteousness. We hardly notice filth on the garage floor. But when it’s on a spotless countertop, we see it for what it is. Evil is best exposed against a backdrop of patience, kindness, and love.
Final Thought: In what areas might you expose evil by responding to it with humility and kindness?
Prayer: Jesus, this is a hard teaching. Everything in me wants to retaliate when someone wrongs me. But that’s the world’s way, and it has never ended well. You’ve called me to a higher way. Give me strength to respond like you would. Amen.
Friday— “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” Acts 5:29
Those words may sound familiar, but it might be for the wrong reasons. They’ve become a little like “I can do all things…”, ripped out of context and used for any number of selfish pursuits. Originally, this was Peter’s response when he and his friends were dragged into court for preaching about Jesus. He knew the cost behind those words. You didn’t sass the high priest and the religious council without consequences, so these weren’t cheeky words. They were a personal vow of commitment.
For over 200 years, Americans rarely needed to use those words. Although far from perfect, America’s foundation was biblical truth. There was a general respect for the authority of God’s word. Not any more. Over the last decade, atheism and its offspring, moral insanity, have taken over our culture. Wearing the label “Tolerance” or “Progressive,” the new anti-God agenda is rapidly dethroning our Judeo-Christian values and replacing them with feelings-oriented laws. Perception is replacing reality. Fear has replaced common sense, even at the highest levels of government. And now it’s coming for the church. Under the guise of public safety, government encroachment is challenging the church’s right to exist apart from it. Pastors are standing up. Christians are saying, “No farther!” But it will come at great cost. This was all prophesied thousands of years ago, and it appears we’re the generation that will see its fulfillment. Are you prepared to obey God regardless of the cost?
Final Thought: If we don’t obey God now, when we have freedom, how will we obey Him when all society turns against us?
Prayer: Father, am I ready to obey you when the government encroaches on my freedom? When the cost is high? What should I do to prepare for that time? May I be found faithful when I stand before you on Judgment Day. In Jesus’ name, amen.