Turn the National Tide Away from Sin and Toward God
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2012 19 Mar
Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Charles F. Stanley's book, Turning the Tide: Real Hope, Real Change (Howard Books, 2011).
The United States faces many crises, from financial troubles and escalating crime to corrupt leaders and families that are falling apart. If Christians don’t pray and act to help reverse the destructive tide that is sweeping across our nation, the tide may eventually sweep away the freedoms that American citizens now enjoy.
Here’s how you can help turn the national tide away from sin and toward God:
Pledge your allegiance to God first. Make your relationship with God your top priority in life, and develop a habit of seeking God’s guidance for your daily decisions – including the decisions you make about how to impact your government. Regularly confess and repent of your sins so that nothing blocks you from growing closer to God each day and recognizing His voice speaking to you. Place your confidence and hope for a better future in God and His purposes, rather than in fallible government officials and changing laws.
Pray for God’s guidance. Recognize that the problems facing our nation are all spiritual problems at their roots, even though on the surface they must just appear to be diplomatic, economic, etc. Keep in mind, too, that God knows how to solve the problems facing our nation much better than any one person does, since God’s perspective is not limited as human perspectives are, and God is the source of all wisdom. So pray regularly for the wisdom you need to figure out specifically what God wants you to say and do to help solve national problems.
SEE ALSO: The Church in a Post-Christian Culture
Live faithfully so you can represent Jesus well and inspire people to grow closer to Him. The people you want to impact are watching you closely to see how you choose to live as a Christian, so do your best to be the kind of role model God wants you to be. Also, be sure to speak and act with both truth and love when trying to impact people. Take a stand on issues that you sense God calling you to address, but be sure to do so in a way that doesn’t disgrace Jesus’ name or hinder other people from developing saving relationships with Him. Keep in mind that the greatest way to fight unrighteousness is to point people toward the righteousness that they can gain only through relationships with Jesus Christ.
Study the past to learn from it. Read about the history of the United States, including the story of how it was founded on Christian principles. Notice how Americans have both failed and succeeded, and how those failures and success have related to how faithful they either have or haven’t been at various times. Ask God to teach you the lessons He wants you to learn from studying history. Pray for God to help you and all Americans return to His purposes and work to fulfill them.
Deal with financial problems. Help with financial problems such as debt and unemployment by getting your own finances in order (paying off debt, sticking to a budget, giving generously, etc.) and encouraging others to do the same. Become an advocate for wise financial management in the government, and hold government leaders accountable for their financial decisions.
Help bear people’s burdens without making them dependent. Reach out to people in need with compassion and be willing to help them, but do so in ways that empower them to live independently rather than becoming dependent on you or others to meet all of their needs for them. Help people in need learn the skills and work ethic they need to support themselves once they get out of their current crisis.
Exercise your freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly. Use the freedoms you have as an American to make your voice heard, saying “no” to what is wrong and “yes” to what is right. Don’t let opportunities to take a stand against immorality pass you by – but when you protest a problem, be sure to also point people toward a solution. Also, be sure to relate to people out of love, rather than anger. People who disagree with you will receive your message much better if you present it in a loving way than if you alienate them with anger, and they’ll be drawn to Jesus in the process.
Choose faithful government leaders and hold them accountable. Get to know the views and lifestyles of people who are up for election to government offices. Pray for guidance to know who to vote for – people who are governed by God before they try to govern other people. Look for objective and verifiable evidence that candidates possess good moral character. Communicate with government leaders in office, asking them questions and sharing your views on the legislation on which they’re working.
Stand against pride and embrace humility. Guard yourself against prideful attitudes in your own life, and pray regularly for God to show you your life from His perspective. Acknowledge God’s sovereignty in all situations, and pray for God’s will – not just your own – to be done in every national issue that concerns you. Be willing to admit that you’ve made a mistake when you’ve done so, and that you don’t know something when you need to learn more about an issue. Seek God’s guidance often, and trust Him to show you what to say and do. Be willing to obey God, even when you don’t understand why He is leading you in a certain way.
Gain wisdom from God’s Word. Make a habit of reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible, letting God’s wisdom from it soak into your soul. Ask God to use what you read in the Bible to guide you to the ways He wants you to impact the nation, and to transform you into the person He wants you to become. Understand biblical principles and make you’re personally living by them so you can best voice your opinion about how national issues should be handled.
Pray for government leaders. Intercede in prayer regularly for the government leaders you know, praying specifically about the various issues they’re working on, and asking God to guide them to learn and do His will.
Keep going. Never give up your efforts to help turn the national tide from sin to God. Remember that God has promised to forgive people’s sin and heal the land, if people like you keep praying and seeking His will for the issues that face the nation. Believe that God will work through you to accomplish good purposes as you work to be a good citizen and a faithful Christian.
Adapted from Turning the Tide: Real Hope, Real Change,copyright 2011 by Charles F. Stanley. Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Shuster, Inc., New York, NY, www.simonandschuster.com.
Charles F. Stanley is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than 35 books, with sales of more than 6.5 million copies. He has been senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., since 1971 and has served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
SEE ALSO: Restoring America God's Way
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: March 19, 2012