I was thinking back this afternoon on my time as a Seminary student. One of my first classes was New Testament Introduction with Dr. Bob Mulholland. Dr. Mulholland used to ask us these two questions: “Are you in the World for God?” or “Are you in God for the World?”
So, what does it matter? Is this just a clever play on words? Think with me. First, let us consider how these views influence politics.
“Politics” – When we are in the world for God, the political tendency is to elect officials in order to pass laws that we view as “Christian.” Both parties feed off this view of Christian spirituality; “pro-lifers” voting for “Republicans” and “pro-government health care” voting for “Democrats.” But don’t you see the polemic this creates? From this view, there would be no one to represent me – I would have “multiple party disorder.” When the only way for a Christian to be political is to be partisan, compromising, or dishonest we miss the “good news” of Jesus in it’s fullness. Hence, when we act in this manner we are in actuality “in the World for God.”
However, when we are in God for the World, who we are in Christ becomes the political proclamation. We confess that our hope is not in tanks, planes, or military force, the President, Congress, Supreme Court, Wall Street, or even Main Street, BUT in the name of the LORD our God (Ps 20:4). The best thing we can do for the world, is not to vote “Jesus for President,” but to be in Christ.
So let us abide in Christ together and turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6 -ESV)!