TOP 10 THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW
(But Probably Doesn't) by Keith Giles
Number 9 - "The Kingdom of God is NOT the American Dream"
You'd think it wouldn't need to be said out loud, but more and more I find
that there is a blurred line in American Christianity between "The American
Way" and "The Kingdom of God".
Maybe it's the feeling that America is God's new Israel? Or maybe it started
with The Dallas Cowboys being "God's Favorite Football Team"? Maybe
something that's been brewing since the first Boston Tea Party? I'm not
really sure, but I do know that today we have a serious problem separating
good old American Values from the Gospel that Jesus died to proclaim.
If you've ever doubted someone's eternal salvation because they voted
Democrat in the last election, then you may have a problem in this area.
Yes Virginia, there WILL be Libertarians and Green Party members in Heaven.
You'll probably live next to one, knowing God's sense of humor.
The Kingdom of God and the American Dream are not the same thing, and in
fact, they are two opposing viewpoints which are in conflict on many levels.
Believe it or not, Jesus did not come so that you and I could engage in our
"Pursuit of Happiness".
The American Dream is founded on the concept of every person's right to the
pursuit of happiness. Whatever you can imagine would make you happy you are
free to pursue it with all your heart. That's your right.
The Kingdom of God is founded on the concept of laying down your life, your
idea of what will make you happy, in favor of receiving what Jesus knows
will really make you happy.
Following Jesus involves laying down your life and giving up your rights. It
means full and complete submission to God because you recognize that His
perfect will for your life is a million times better than anything you could
ever dream up, or pursue, on your own.
Jesus didn't ever instruct any of his disciples to fight for their
God-given, "Inalienable Rights", and neither did Paul the Apostle. In
they both encouraged their disciples to live humble lives, serving others
and not demanding more because they deserved more. Paul even specifically
told those followers of Christ who were slaves to remain slaves, even if
they were being mistreated.
Historically, the early Christians didn't fight for their rights as
citizens, they took it on the chin, and in the Lion's den, and in the arena.
They literally would rather die than to take another person's life.
Simply put, they followed their Lord and Savior, Jesus in His example of
non-violence and submissive service to those who hated them and mistreated
them. Does that sound like the American Dream to you?
Repeat after me: "Politics and Christianity are not the same thing",
American Dream is not part of the Gospel", "George Washington and
Jefferson did not die for your forgiveness of sins", "Jesus was not a
Are we trying to make God in our image? Do we want a version of Jesus that
fits into our way of life? Or are we willing to conform our life into His
It's interesting to me that the scriptures reveal to us a Jesus who was not
so preoccupied with Earthly political discussions. "Render unto Caesar what
is Caesar and unto God what is God's" was pretty much the only true
political statement He ever made, if it can even be called that.
In his time on Earth, Jesus didn't seem so concerned about the politics of
the day. Nor did He talk so much about current events, other than to
reference the collapse of a tower in a nearby village where a few people had
However, Jesus WAS interested in a political system, a new way of life
called "The Kingdom of God". In fact, it's pretty much all he ever
It might shock you to consider that Jesus probably cares less about what the
upcoming Presidential Candidates are saying on their campaign trails than He
does about what you and I are doing with our actual lives.
Many of us, if we're honest, know way more about the views and values of our
particular political perspective than we do about God's Kingdom. But, Jesus
urged us, His followers, to "Seek first the Kingdom of God."
It's not that Jesus wants the Kingdom of God to influence or even to compete
with the political systems of our nation, as much as he wants His Kingdom to
influence and change you.
Do we share His views of the poor? Are we even aware what His position is on
economics, or foreign relations, or peace-making, or consumerism? Are we
actively, seriously, continually seeking after the things of The Kingdom of
Perhaps we're more comfortable with a blue-eyed, six foot tall, Republican
Jesus who conforms to our political and social ways of living. Probably.
But, is that really who Jesus is? Or have we now made God in our own image?
Which version of Jesus are you holding on to? Which way of life are you
currently pursuing? Is it the life Jesus describes in the sermon on the
mount, or is it something pretty close to the life you would have lived had
you never heard the Gospel at all?
The polls are open.
Giles is a pastor, writer, teacher, and house church
planter in Orange, California. He is also the associate
director of Soul Survivor USA. You can visit his blog and
sign up for his weekly e-newsletter at his blog: www.keithgiles.com
make a comment concerning this article you can
either make a comment in community
- or email your
comments to the author. in some cases, the
authors email address is missing, so please
comment in community.
to ginkworld: if you are interested in
submitting and article, please visit our "add
your voice" page and submit your