How wonderful it would be if our governmental leaders really possessed the power to restore our nation to vibrant health. Yes, leadership is important, and God has truly ordained government. But does government—even when staffed by highly competent and trustworthy people—have the necessary tools and leverage to restore America to true greatness?
To best answer that question, we first need to agree on what the problem is that has reduced our nation to its present chaotic state. Listening to some of our current candidates for President, you would think our only problem is the perceived incompetence of our current leadership. If true, the solution would be relatively simple: replace those in power with others who have the courage and skill to lead us with optimism and hope.
However, as followers of Christ, we know the real problem with America runs much deeper than inadequate political leadership—the heart of our problem flows from our sin natures. Sin has permeated each of us so that, apart from Christ's redemptive work in our lives, we inevitably will live selfishly for ourselves, and our nation will be the worse for it.
One of my heroes, William Wilberforce, came to this same conclusion more than 200 years ago. In his book, A Practical View of Christianity, Wilberforce says that true Christianity alone has the power to bring life and health to a nation. But what interferes with it working, says Wilberforce, is what he calls “the disease of selfishness” which finds its way into all classes of society, from rich to poor.
Former President John F. Kennedy apparently also understood the need for selflessness if our nation were to prosper. In his inaugural speech, JFK challenged Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
The goal for selflessness is clear. But how can we pull it off?
Individuals can pretend to be selfless for only so long. Sooner or later, our flesh—our sin nature—will rear its ugly head, and chaos will return in force. A more permanent change requires transformation of our hearts and lives by the power of the Gospel. Only through revival of the church and spiritual awakening will we ever really experience true selfless love for our neighbors that alone can bring joy and health back to our nation.
So those of you who are tirelessly praying and working for revival and spiritual awakening in your communities are engaging in the most critically essential activity possible. Let us not despair, but keep going in the power of the Spirit for His glory and the blessing of our nation!