Photo by: The Washington Post
The first two debates are now history. The debates have been helpful to hear the candidates and learn their positions. They have also been helpful to see how the candidates interact with each other. Many people have written about the debates, but no one has asked the question: “What can we learn about ourselves from the debates?” Here are several questions that we can ask to help us make these debates personal.
1. What is the most important thing in my life?
The debates, thus far, have focused a lot upon our economy. The candidates in their own way are saying that money is the most element for being a happy, contented citizen. Is this correct? God says: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
When money becomes the main focus in our life, it keeps us from focusing upon God. Jesus understood this when He said: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
The Lord desires our focus to be upon Him, anything else can quickly become an idol in our life.
2. Do I have a fear of man or a fear of God?
The candidates use the debates to state their positions to please a certain group of people. The candidates develop a fear of man because they are looking for votes. We can often be controlled by the fear of man as well. The Bible says: “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) The fear of man keeps us from pleasing God. It keeps us from serving God fully.
True freedom is found when we have a fear of God instead of a fear of man. When we fear God, He is the one that we need to please. “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7) Unlike the politicians, the opinion of others should not enslave our thoughts and actions. We find true freedom in submission to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
3. Do I build people up or do I tear them down?
The debates have illustrated the great art of tearing down another person to build up one self. We find this to be great entertainment. We cheer for “our side” to win. Is it Biblical to tear down another person? Is this pleasing to God? Do we have the habit of running over people? There are many examples in the Bible of people who made it their goal to tear people down. Ahab hated Elijah. Saul was out to get David. Satan wanted to destroy Jesus’ ministry.
Unlike the candidates, we are to seek to build up others. The word “discourage” has the idea of taking the heart out of a person. Encouragement means “to put the heart into a person” Barnabas was a biblical character who encouraged others. He encouraged the early church by his example. He encouraged Paul by befriending him. He encouraged the church at Antioch by his teaching. He encouraged John Mark by helping to restore him after his failure. Love means to encourage others. We don’t see a lot of love in the debates, but do we see this love and encouragement in our own lives?
4. Am I self-centered or God-centered?
By listening to the debates, you would think that Americans are the most self-centered people in the world. Our politicians keep trying to pander to what each of us wants. They appeal to our selfish nature. I haven’t heard President Kennedy’s quote: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
It is easy for a Christian to develop this attitude of self-centeredness in this culture: however Christ has called his disciples to a life of self-denial. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). Our lives are to be centered upon Christ. Our goal is not to follow our desires, but His will.
5. Am I more concerned about my physical well-being or my spiritual well-being?
One of the greatest issues of the debates and this campaign is the health care crisis in this nation. Yes, we do have crisis in America concerning our health care. The physical health of Americans in general is quite poor. However, the greatest crisis is not the physical well-being of Americans, but our spiritual well-being.
How healthy am I spiritually is a question, that we often neglect. God is very concerned about our spiritual health. He has given us His Word as food that will nourish our soul. Here are some questions to help us evaluate our spiritual health:
- Do I truly desire to walk with God daily?
- Do I read the Bible with an open heart and mind?
- Am I quick to obey the commands of Christ?
- Do I quickly confess my sins to God?
- Do I love God with all of my heart?
- Do I love others as God loves me?
There are two more debates in this election cycle. However, let’s not just look at President Obama and Governor Romney in these debates, but also we need to think about our own lives and our relationship with God
“Dear Lord, I am thankful that I live in a nation in which I can worship you freely. I also thank you for the great salvation that I have in your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to view this life from your perspective. Help me to center my life upon you because it is easy to take my focus from you. While you are working in my life, please guide the leaders of our nation to make wise decisions. Amen”