Misplaced Confidence: An Unnecessary Cycle

tightrope niagraConfidence is important. It can be the difference between life and death. Consider the number of tightrope world records set by Nik Wallenda. Confidence can drive people to do some pretty amazing things, such as tightrope between Canada and the US over Niagara Falls. And yet, misplaced confidence can cause some people to do some amazingly stupid things. For instance, read the account of northern civilians picnicking at the Battle of First Manassas during the early days of the American Civil War. Their overconfident picnic turned to all-out panic due to their misplaced confidence in their army’s leadership.

I find it humorous and yet disappointing to see so many Christians placing their confidence in a sinful human being to deliver the hope and change they believe is needed in their government or culture. They wouldn’t readily admit to it but their actions, which always speak louder than their words, betray their misplaced confidence. Ironically these same Christians scoffed at the majority of American voters who voted with an eager desire to get a juicy bite of the elusive carrot of “Hope and Change” that dangled from the proverbial stick of inflated pre-election campaign promises.

Many politically conservative Christians have openly celebrated and ridiculed the well-calculated decision by a pompous NYC billionaire to remove himself from a public debate between presidential hopefuls. And yet, in the end, these Christians succeeded in giving their despised pompous billionaire the attention he so desperately craved by ironically proving his point that his physical presence was not required to overshadow the conversation of the debate. These Christians scoff at the idea of electing such a “sinful man” to the office of POTUS as if they were electing a pastor to shepherd their local congregation rather than a president to govern a nation. Again, ironically, many of these evangelical Christians who are currently adamant against voting for this “un-Christian womanizing billionaire” had no problem voting in the last presidential election for an overconfident and hesitantly conservative Mormon millionaire.

Many Christians continue to posture the bold and outspoken opinion that a professing Christian senator from Texas is, “God’s man for the hour,” although this man of seeming commendable Christian character and integrity has not yet procured by any stretch of the imagination the republican nomination for POTUS. One wonders what will happen if he does not get the nod for republican nominee—and there is no reason to definitively expect that he will simply because of his Christian testimony and morals. These credentials alone will not impress the current leadership of the RNC. And these Christians know this but don’t want to admit it. Instead, they have hastily run to Scripture to find passages and verses to bolster their theories concerning their desired nominee.

Many are holding out hope that a calm and professing Christian neurosurgeon will somehow race to the front of the race or at the least get a nod for the VP nomination. Others believe wholeheartedly that a fiery senator of Cuban heritage is the best choice pragmatically because of his inclusive stances on immigration. Still others hold out hope that a bold and brash senator from Kentucky will be nominated for his “thinking outside of the box” constitutional politics and tax reforms. And the list goes on and on of potential nominees. If one could be confident in anything at this point, it would be to confidently believe that nothing is settled by far for the Republican (or Democrat) nomination for POTUS.

And yet the American voter must be confident. And the Christian voter in America must be confident that they are voting for the best individual in their mind whose principles do not violate the limits of their conscience. This is the beauty of the freedom that Americans currently possess. However, the seeming cult-worship mentality that many Christians have for their political hero of the hour—whoever it may be—just needs to stop—or at the very least, needs to be greatly tempered.

hamsterIf Christians do not scale back their platitudes and hopes for any of the proposed candidates for POTUS, they are just continuing to join in the unnecessary cycle of Americans putting their trust in men and joining the throng of proverbial hamsters running in a never ending wheel of uncertainty, misplaced hope and unfulfilled expectations. I admit that I ran in this “wheel of hope” earlier when a Texan governor served as POTUS for two terms. He did not “turn American around.” He never could have on his own—and no POTUS ever will possess such a power.

Of all the legally registered American voters, Christians in America should be using this upcoming election as an opportunity to demonstrate a humble living out of the truth of Psalm 118:8-9—“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” Actions speak louder than words. Actions of confidence in man speak louder than words of confidence in God. The stench of hope in man is beginning to fill the airwaves as election day draws closer. Such should be expected as normative for the majority of Americans yet should be filtered out of the conversation and actions of the Church.

At this point in the political bantering between nominee hopefuls, I would not be disappointed if a certain Texan senator would be heard quoting the oath of office next January 20th. But even if he does take that oath once or twice, nothing he can complete or sign into law will “turn this country around” in the way most evangelical Christians desire. Only God can do that—and God is just as capable to do such a work of grace through (or in spite of) an outspokenly brash New York billionaire, a 3-year Texas senator, or any other individual in America as He is capable of working His will through a 3-year Illinois senator who has been POTUS for nearly 2 terms. Why? Well, first because it’s His call, it always has been and it always will be. Second, because the only way America will be truly transformed is through the Gospel—and this Gospel is not dependent on a Democrat, Republican or even an “Independent” POTUS. God’s Gospel is only dependent on the working of the Holy Spirit as He breaks hearts of stone and transforms them into altars of worship through grace.

Perhaps it’s time for a number of Christians to remind themselves Who their ultimate Commander in Chief is, how He operates and where He resides (i.e. not in the White House). Thankfully His term is never up and His sovereign plan is never thwarted or dependent on fallible American presidents or voters. In other words, if the Church truly prays, “Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, just as it is in Heaven, so let it be upon Earth,” then God will truly answer their prayers. May the Church in America trust and obey as we see God’s “will be done” before our eyes–and may some within the Church in America stop assuming that any of the candidates for POTUS possess the wherewithal and high calling to be called, “God’s candidate.” God has already chosen His Candidate and He is the One we look to for ultimate hope and change. He is awaiting the elected time of His Father to return to this entire earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords (i.e. President of presidents) to rule with perfect grace and true peace, hope and change over His creation.

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