Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Things Of Emporers

Our service to Jesus should not be a struggle. Our life here should not be a struggle. We should not be filled with worry and fear over things that will not matter for eternity. We need to learn quickly what is important and what is not. We also need to learn what belongs to God and what belongs to the Emperor. What I mean by this is very simple.

Days before the crucifixion Jesus was teaching in the temple. In their continuing attempt to trap him, the leaders of the people sent in a couple of spies to try to trip Jesus up on his teaching. The best way was to play the national card against the occupation. They asked Jesus about taxes. The trap was a good one. If he said the Jews should pay it then the radicals would reject him and stir the people up against him. If he said not to pay the Roman tax they would accuse him of treason. Jesus destroyed their trap with something we still don't get:

“Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.” (Luke 20:25, CEV)

Jesus was not political. He did not involve himself in civilian affairs. His purpose was the Kingdom of God not the kingdoms of man. Yet, at the same time he drew our attention to the fact that while we are here we have certain obligations to the authority that is in place.

For some reason many Christians want to force the government to govern by God's standards, but it is a man-made government. Remember when the people called for a King, rejecting God as their king. Samuel was upset but God told him to go ahead and he warned the people what a king would demand. Those demands have not changed, even with an elected government. God does not desire to operate through man's government or even a representative. His desire is to deal with us individually, in a personal relationship. Yes, he is in control of governments; he will raise them and lower them; he will use them but he will seldom deal with his people through them.

God has his own servants for dealing with his people. Through apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, God deals with his children. Yes, we must give to the Emperor what we owe him. Our government pays for our roads, schools, hospitals, military and so many other things that we benefit from. As long as we are here we need to lend them our support, encourage them, pray for them. We vote according to the Spirit and not our personal desire. But we do not exist for this. This is a system we are part of only because we are here. We do not belong to it. We do not live according to this man's government. We live by the Word of God, empowered by the Spirit. We are the Body of Christ, citizens of the Kingdom of God.

When God wants to provoke change he will do it through the hearts of his children. He will do it by calling them back to him, reminding them of his holiness and righteousness. He will convict hearts in prayer meetings and provoke a spirit of generosity. A nation changes, not through its government, but through the Church that seeks the face of God. Revival happens when the Spirit moves us to pray and gives a heart to seek God's holiness. Revival happens, not through government but when God's people run from evil and clean to what is good. God does not force himself on anyone through governments and when this has happened in the past it was wrong and it was abused.

If change was brought through government Jesus would have become Emperor, but he did not. Instead he went to the cross and became King of kings and Lord of lords. Listen to the Words of Jesus and understand the Church is not what we have made her to be but something more, something greater, something of great power and righteousness. It is time to leave the Emperor to play his role while we fulfill ours. It is time to stop with struggling with things that are not important, not our concern, not of the Kingdom.


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