By Todd Hamilton, Lead Pastor, Elevation Church, Highland Village
Political season is heating up. When it comes to politics, it is important to understand one’s identity. Are you an Independent? A Democrat? A Republican? Do you lean left or right, progressive or conservative? With what party do you identify?
If you are a Christian, your identity is first in Christ, according to what Jesus said is the greatest commandment: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This also aligns with his teachings about seeking first the kingdom of God and denying oneself (Matthew 6 & Luke 9, respectively). Paul says we must set our minds on the things that are above, not of the world (Colossians 3). Christians are followers of Jesus, first and foremost. That supersedes any affiliation with a political party or ideology.
I like to remind myself of this whenever I am tempted to let my politics become what identifies me because I’ve made that mistake before. I made a negative comment about a politician one Sunday while cleaning up the church with some volunteers. One of them held a different political view than mine, and let me know. He and I later met and talked at length, discussing our differences and the one key relationship we have in common – with Jesus. We finally decided if we agree Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life then everything else is secondary.
We agreed to keep what is primary, primary and let the rest be secondary. With that approach, two men with vastly different political views have been friends for five years. It reminds me of Paul’s instruction to, as far as it depends on each individual, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). I guess that means even the political opposition!
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