7 Things Christians Must Not Do After the Election

My fellow Christian Americans, Last night, Donald Trump won the election and will become the 45th President of The United States of America. This mourning — I mean, morning — I saw a lot of sad, angry, rude, happy, anxious, fearful posts and faces.

I was disappointed months ago when the nominating process was over because both candidates embodied different anti-Kingdom values. The choice between a bullet and a noose isn't much of a choice, after all. I'll leave you to decide which one got elected.

We're Christians. We already have a King. He was King yesterday, and He's King today. Since we're citizens of a Kingdom that will never end, here's what we simply cannot do as we occupy this Republic that most certainly one day will:

  1. Do Not Panic Breathe. Neither Trump nor Clinton can destroy your reward. We elected a president, we did not install Emperor Palpatine. I understand that you may feel afraid, concerned, or upset. Grief is a perfectly acceptable and normal response. Panic is not — not for God's people.

    Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory... (Deut. 20:2-3)

  2. Do Not Gloat Half of you got what you wanted yesterday. Half of you did not. If you did, do not gloat. Spiking the ball and proudly declaring that "we got our country back," betrays your idolatrous allegiance to the wrong kingdom and the wrong king. If you voted for Donald Trump and you are happy today, act like a Christian. Seek to understand your brothers and sisters who did not.

    Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet 5:5)

  3. Do Not Judge Half of you did not get what you wanted yesterday. I've read your mean tweets ... "How could anyone who loves Jesus vote for this man." I understand your bewilderment, but these are your brothers and sisters. Jesus' injunction against judging them means that you can't allow their vote and your loss to break your fellowship. Love like a Christian.

    Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. (Matt 7:1-2)

  4. Do Not Hate Some of you are angry. Righteous anger only takes a little sin to turn into hate. You cannot hate those with whom you disagree. If you voted for Hilary, you cannot hate the Trump voter — not if you love Jesus. This is your opportunity to feel what they felt 4 and 8 years ago. If you voted for Trump, you cannot hate the Hilary voter. This is your opportunity to practice humility in your temporal electoral victory. Love like a Christian.

    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

  5. Do Not Fear Jesus doesn't want us to be afraid of anything we face in this life. We all must remember that King Jesus is King Jesus, and he's in charge of the world. Here are some words Paul wrote to a church ruled by tyrants:

    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)

  6. Do Not Get Cynical Cynicism is just cowardice with sarcastic clothes on. Christian, you're called to engage the world, your neighbor, your political opponent, and even your political ally with the gospel of Jesus. Cynicism says, "There's no point" to gospel proclamation, acts of mercy, and social responsibility. Resist the temptation to get cynical.

    Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:8-10)

  7. Do Not Stop We are citizens of heaven, called to build the Kingdom of God and make disciples at all times, under any administration, with all our hearts, so that all the world can know King and Savior of all creation.Do. Not. Stop.Do not stop praying. Do not stop proclaiming. Do not stop repenting. Do not stop believing. Do not stop fellowshipping. Do not stop hoping. Do not stop giving. Do not stop loving.

    And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:9-10)

Miscellanies: How I'm Beating Anxiety

There's a future version of Adam Mabry that I'm working to become. He's better, smarter, wiser, more loving, and host of other things that I'm not at the moment. You probably do this, too. Heck, the Bible does. The Scriptures hold out the hope of resurrection and the perfect, glorified future that goes with it. But in a city full of do-ers, in a country full of do-ers, we can become quite discouraged that we haven't yet gotten this one done. It's discouraging to think that you're not yet what you could — or should — be.

Enter anxiety, depression, sadness, and self-loathing. How do we beat this?

The Psalms give a clue, many of which are simply poetic reminders of what God did a long time ago — parted the red sea, made the world, established the kingdom of Israel. I can imagine being a faithful Israelite in, say, the 5th century B.C. could be depressing. On the one hand you had promises of a coming messiah, on the other a present situation that looked more like Hell than Heaven. But here's their genius that is helping me:

Past Providences Fuel Present Praise.

Instead of freaking out about the gap between what is and what is to come, they rejoiced at the journey from what was to what is. Instead of wondering if God would be faithful tomorrow they remembered that God was faithful in every yesterday.

The anxious temptation to reject God because I don't see what He will do is subverted by the memories I have of what He has done. His past providences are like gasoline on the fire of my present praises. My present praises shape my heart to trust God's future graces ... Graces that one day will be past providences.

4 Ways Rest is Resistance

"I've got 10 lonely seconds to justify my whole existence." That's what Harold Abrahams famously stated in the movie Chariots of Fire. He ran, chasing his worth. We're just like him, I'm afraid. So much of our doing — heck, of my doing — is a chasing. But in the gospel we find an invitation to rest in the finished doing of Jesus. Which begs the question ...

How do we do that?

Answer: We resist. And that's where sabbath rest comes in. So, here are four ways rest is an act of resistance.

Rest is Resistance Against Anxiety

God's people can resist the anxiety built in to the system of performance-based religion, production-based value, and market-based human worth by resting. Taking a day off differentiates us from the system. The practice of leisure and levity are super important here. Anxious people can't laugh. Conversely, laughing people can't remain anxious.

Rest is Resistance Against Autonomy

There is a self-actualization arms race that pressures Western people to "be their most authentic self." No longer do we find our meaning, identity, and purpose within the society, the family, the church, or the group. Now we all bear the pressure of discovering and deploying our authentic individual self — something which the Bible never commands us to do. When we rest, we're resisting the false gospel of the autonomous self and remembering that we're a part of a different people. Namely, those who've found rest in Christ. Those who have laid down their striving after their ten seconds, as it were.

Rest is Resistance Against Coercion

The whole system of self-discovery, self-governance, and self-value that this world offers us is not just oppressive. It's coercive. The demands of the boss, of the game, of the kids' soccer, creep into the time of rest. Therefore the practice of sabbath is an act of defiance against these demands. It's saying a strong, clear "no." Practically, this is where the sabbath practice of avocation (or hobby) comes in. You can put your hands to something that isn't your job because you're free in Jesus to do so.

Rest is Resistance Against Idolatry

All of this frenetic, never-ending doing is rooted in a kind of idolatry. Like the false god-king Pharaoh demanded the Israelite slaves never stop working so he could enjoy rest, the false gods we worship do the same. The career god demands we skip vacations to climb the ladder. The perfect-family-god cries out to us to us to give our lives over to our children in unceasing labor. Jesus isn't like the false gods.

Jesus is the only God who has already done the work of redemption, of acceptance, and of justification, and offers us the fruits of his labor as a gift. Rest is an act of faith where we remember that we're on the receiving end of grace, not the producing end.

Rest is hard for driven people. I know, because I'm driven. But we must resist the rush and return to rest.


Omnicompetence is the New Pride

"Just as there is no way we can serve both God and money, so there is no way we can (openly or secretly) believe in our personal omnicompetence and at the same time believe in Jesus as the Savior of sinners."(1) When you ask people about pride, few consider it a bad thing any more. School pride, national pride, (insert social cause here) pride ... pride has been moved off the moral no-no list in modern American Newspeak. That makes it very hard to locate. But, locate it we must. Just because we've become more cozy with the sin of pride doesn't make it any less that — sin. And I think I may have found where this particular devil has been hiding out: Omnicompetence.

Omnicompetence is not a word, but if it were it would describe our (my) deep, personal conviction that I can do pretty much anything, and that I need very little help. "I've got this," is its confession. "I can handle it," is its mantra. And, "I'll be alright," is its rather unformed eschatology.

I can see omnicompetence when I skip reading the Scriptures because I'm busy.

I can hear omnicompetence when I lie to a friend who asks how I'm really doing.

I can feel omnicompetence when I'm short-tempered with others and difficult to get on with.

Omnicompetence is the new pride. It's the way we modern people have made a virtue of personal utility and a vice out of humble needfulness. It's the rebranding of the one sin that lies at the root of all the others, and makes the heart so hard that it refuses to ask for help. In fact, if you're a devout believer in your omnicompetence, Jesus came to empower you, perhaps, but not to save you. I mean, you've got this, right?



Omnicompetence is the ultimate expression of practical atheism. But, take a minute to examine it up close. If you look deeply into the shiny surface of this idea, you'll begin to see the fissures. Those small, nagging ways we fail, falter, and miss the mark. Omnicompetence has a real problem with recognizing sin, and the humble vulnerability that such a recognition produces. But, like paint over rotting wood, omnicompetence can't hide our true nature for very long. No set of skills, no matter how great, can ever overcome our deep need for help.

For grace.

Lord, help me part ways with the belief in my omnicompetence — my pride. Hold my neediness before my eyes long enough to cause me to voice my need for the Savior.

(1) Alec Motyer, Isaiah by the Day, 93.