The battle for the soul of the nation—I came across this phrase the other day, and I instantly clicked on the link, expecting to read something profound and deeply spiritual. Imagine my disappointment when I realized it was only the slogan for the Biden/Harris presidential campaign.
This did get me thinking, though. There is indeed a battle for the souls in our nation. And it is inherently deeply spiritual—not political—though we certainly see it playing out in the political arena.
Our spiritual enemy is very real and exists to spread darkness over light, master lies over truth, sow seeds of discord instead of peace, create confusion where there was once clarity, burn to ash what was once beautiful, gleefully seize upon disunity in place of unity, declare what is wrong right, enslave those who were free, and seek death over life. We all see this in our own lives and in the nation as a whole.
But as the family of Christ, we already know the end of the story—this enemy is defeated. Christ has already won the spiritual battle through His perfect life, death, and resurrection. He is Light, Truth and the Prince of Peace. He is a God of order and wisdom who trades ashes for beauty. He calls us to be one in Him, and only He has the authority to declare what is right. He sets captives free. And, He has defeated death once and for all, for all of us who trust in Him.
Biden and Harris have it wrong—the spiritual battle has already been won, and that certainly wasn’t the work of any political leader.
But in one sense, they’re also right. As the spiritual battle plays out in the political arena in 2020, there are real battle lines and completely divergent beliefs held by the candidates that could lead our country in very different directions.
There is truth vs. lies
One side of the political debate believes that a boy or man who says he feels like a girl can be a girl—and that he can take girls’ spots on their sports teams or share their showers with them at school. They call those who disagree “bigots” or “haters.” But the truth is, no matter how many hormones he takes or life-altering surgeries he has, a man cannot be a girl. And a man cannot become a girl no matter how many politicians declare it to be so. So, on election day, will we stand for the truth, or for a mountain of lies?
There is right vs. wrong
One side of the political debate believes that children should not be free to pray or express their Christian beliefs in school. This same side believes that healthcare professionals should be forced to participate in abortions or “gender transition surgeries” even on children—regardless of whether the procedure is in the child’s best interest or against the professional’s faith. Yet, for a believer, prayer is like breathing, and our obedience to God’s Word must come before any politician’s agenda. On November 3rd, will we pursue right or wrong?
There is freedom vs. captivity
One side of the political debate works hard to hold men and women captive to a sexual agenda that only leads to physical brokenness, mental and emotional anguish, and damaged relationships. Just ask our friend James Shupe who became the nation’s first legally-declared “non-binary man,” and has now found real freedom in Christ alone. Political decisions have real consequences in real lives. For the sake of our neighbor, I pray we choose freedom over captivity on election day.
There is life vs. death
And of course, one side of the political debate praises death as a “choice,” adding their stamp of approval as lives made in the image of God are destroyed in the womb. Political leaders truly hold life and death in their hands as they make decisions that further the devastation of Roe v. Wade or pass laws that save as many lives as possible. Even worse, Kamala Harris believes every state in the nation should get her “permission” to pass a pro-life law. For me, this decision is clearest of all. On November 3rd, I will choose life over death up and down the ticket.
As we prepare to vote this year, I pray you rejoice with Family Policy Alliance® that the spiritual battle has been won! We do not have to trust in or rely upon any political leader to defeat evil, “save the nation,” or save souls.
But I also pray that we recognize the battle lines that do have spiritual implications for ourselves and our American neighbors we are called to love. So when we vote, let us not vote for any particular political leader, but let us vote for truth, right, freedom and life.
For citizenship worthy of the Gospel of Christ,
Vice President of Strategy
I mentioned in last week’s email that in addition to our Statesmen Academy® conference, Family Policy Alliance hosted the annual gathering of state leaders from around the nation – including almost 30 of my counterparts from other states. In addition to a wonderful time of fellowship, we undertook an exercise digging down into the core of our organizations. In other words, the “why” of our existence. Take a moment right now and think about why Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota exists.
You might think it would be an easy exercise to answer why we exist, but it really becomes a challenge if you follow the question to its root. The group of roughly 30 Executive Directors were broken out into six smaller groups to answer the question. Here is an example of how our group’s conversation went.
Group Participant: We exist to advance God’s kingdom in the area of policy.
Participant: Because we live in a fallen world and God wants us to take a stand for biblical truths.
Participant: Because the Bible is the source of truth and we need to spread the news of salvation and good news of the Christian life though our work.
Participant: Because we love God and we love our neighbor as ourselves.
Here’s the really interesting thing. A number of groups came up with the same final answer. I had the sense that many of us in the room were a bit surprised where we ended up, but if you think about it, that answer makes perfect sense for an organization such as ours founded on the truths of the Bible.
So, we had the answer to “why”, but what did that mean for how we conduct ourselves? How should “love God and our neighbor” be lived out at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota?
My first takeaway was that love needs to be foremost in all we do. As love is the fulfillment of the gospel, we need to love God above all and take His direction in all we do. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is commanded to place God first, and then let the operational work we engage in flow from Him, not the other way around.
The second takeaway for me was the “love thy neighbor” part. There are two distinct pieces here. First, we need to demonstrate God’s love to our allies, ministry partners, business leaders, churches and legislators who stand with us – our brothers and sisters in Christ. As Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
The second part of “love thy neighbor” is much harder. We need to be winsome and mirror God’s love to those who oppose what we stand for – a sometimes very difficult and arduous task. It is very easy to become so focused on achieving objectives, no matter how biblically-based and laudable they may be, that we lose the character of Christ along the way. If we do, we lose one of our most powerful witnessing tools. Displaying Christ’s love in today’s broken world of animosity and division will is certain to prompt people to pay attention and wonder who or what could cause us to love those opposed to us and our beliefs.
As it states in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love”. We must be Christ-bearers in all things, in the policy world and in all other facets of life. Let’s make sure we are bright lights in this often dark world, so that all may see our love of God and neighbor. That’s the answer to “why”.
President and Executive Director
Let me introduce you to Sasha, our German Shepherd. Sasha is the most loving dog our family has been privileged to own, and she is immensely spoiled. She has been part of our family since puppyhood and is a key member of our family “pack”. Like most German Shepherds, she sheds enormous amounts of fur all year long, which has effectively killed a few vacuums over the years. She’s smart to the point of being scary sometimes, although she doesn’t always use that brain for constructive purposes. Finally, she’s an elderly lady of 12 years old and still in great health, so we are blessed and hope that she will be around for many more years.
Aside from bragging about our furry family member, what does this have to do with Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota? Two words: unconditional love. Sasha has had a significant effect on all our lives, but the thing that has struck me over the years is her unconditional love. Even when she can tell I’m upset at her, such as when she chowed down on the raw hamburgers I had set aside for grilling, she was by my side wagging her tail a few minutes later. That example, and many more over the years, has given me a glimpse into what true unconditional love means.
Unconditional love is hard. As humans, we gravitate toward those who love us back. However, I maintain that Paul meant it when he wrote in I Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
We have many people and organizations that directly oppose Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota and all of us who share our Christian beliefs in the public square. It’s tough to love them when they advocate for abortion, the aggressive LGBTQ agenda, or want to limit religious liberty for Christians. But love is the order of the day.
In these situations, we still must love the people, while being open about our disagreement on the issues. So today, I ask you to pray for people who stand opposed to us. Ask the Lord to change their hearts and speak truth into their lives. Take a lesson from Sasha. Unconditional love is a powerful, life-changing force. Let’s make a difference by showing the world that Christ’s love can change anything!