I ran across an article posted by a friend who wrote what I have been thinking for a while as I watch and wonder from the sidelines politically. For Randy and I “and our house”, we have always striven to put God first in our lives. God is not a compartment of our lives. God IS our life, all of it. God created us, sent His Son, Jesus, to save us, and loves us unconditionally.
God wants a relationship with us that is focused on Him because of His love for us. When we are one with Him, evil cannot hurt us. When we abide in Him, evil cannot not snatch us from God hands. This is not to say that evil will not try hard to separate us from God in various ways with very limited power.
God reveals Himself to us in ways that are indescribable and nothing short of miraculous. God has a plan for us that He reveals to us in small bites, at each stage of life, in ways we can swallow, as we walk in His Presence and grow in His character. We know we have not “arrived” until we meet Him face to face! We believe God always wants the best for us. Even in bad times, God works out good for bad for those who believe He can. That’s why we can praise Him through tears and rejoice in Him with smiles. HE is God and we are not. We are not perfect but we know, without a doubt, we are perfectly forgiven. There is NO ONE like our God!
Therefore, it is troubling to see and hear some believers lump the current political ideology with what we believe about God. God is God alone. Jesus is our only Savior and Lord. No one can take the place of our God! We worship and praise God alone.
The following article, written by Nick Newman, says it well. So, I am including it with our passage today because it seems to fit what Jesus is saying to these religious leaders who have not only lost God but don’t want Him in their hearts or guiding their minds any longer. They only live for themselves.
“I have seen a lot of people talk about the damage of the prosperity gospel over the last few years but not many are talking about this new breed of “patriotic gospel” that is appearing in the local church.
The patriotic gospel reads John 3:16 as “for God so loved American” not “for God so loved the WORLD”.
The patriotic gospel holds the cross and the flag up as equal sacred images.
The patriotic gospel puts my earthly citizenship and my heavenly citizenship in equal standing.
The patriotic gospel has me sing songs about how great America is in a church service designed to exalt the God.
The patriotic gospel allows me to treat those who vote differently than me poorly and justify it by defending my “religious freedoms”.
The patriotic gospel looks to a president as if a man other than Jesus can save our world.
I love the country that I live in but I think it’s time somebody starts calling out the golden calf. If the constitution and the Bible hold the same authoritative weight in a believer’s life, we are in trouble.”
The article makes sense and I see it becoming prevalent among believers who are struggling to make sense of what is not our job to explain. Jesus says, “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” To God we give our lives. To our government, we simply obey the man-made rules that prevent anarchy, (based on “The Ten”), vote with God-given wisdom, and pay the taxes due.
But, all our worship, with all our being, belongs to God alone.
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So, they left him and went away.
THINK ABOUT IT…
The answer Jesus gives was and IS amazing when you really think about it. There is no one like Jesus. God is not the same as the government. God is God alone.
Do we really believe that what we believe is really real? Take all the time you need.
The political climate of that day was even more oppressive than we live with now. You had the right answer then, you have the right answer now. Help us to love like you love. Help us to think beyond ourselves to others’ interest like you, dear Jesus. Help us to live for you with all that is in us, holding nothing back. YOU are God alone…and we are not. There is no one like You. No. One.
In Jesus Name, Amen