[On Sunday] I preached on "Living in the Fear of God" from 1 Peter 1:17-21. While preparing my message last week, I happened to find a sermon by Ray Ortlund Jr. on this text. In discussing the fear of God, he quoted a Puritan pastor who said, "The worst anger in all the world is nothing compared with God's tiniest displeasure." He added this application:
If the whole world rages at you, you'll get over it. If you antagonize God, you have a problem. Christians do not fear what the world fears - political upheaval, for example. Christians don't panic when other people do.
During my sermon I noted that many people are extremely angry about the upcoming election. It's not only Christians who are angry, but I know a lot of angry Christians. Let me rephrase that. I know lots of Christians who get angry very easily when talking about the election, especially if they are talking to someone who disagrees with them. I know. It has happened to me several times lately.
What does this anger that lies just below the surface mean? I think it means that we don't fear God very much. If we feared God as we should, we would not lose our temper when talking (or arguing) about the election next Tuesday. If we truly feared God, we would not so desperately fear what might happen if "our man" doesn't win.
There is such a thing as righteous anger. But the line is between righteous and unrighteous anger can be pretty thin. And a tight election can push us over the line before we know it.
So here's something to think about as this long week unwinds before us. Stand by your man. Speak up for what you believe in. Do not be silent.
But do not let your passion dominate your heart. Remember that it is God who raises up one man and brings down another (Psalm 75:5-6).
We must do our part and then remember that this election rests in the hands of Almighty God. Fear God and cast your vote. If you feel yourself getting angry, do a quick heart check and ask, "Do I really fear God as I should?"
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