In biblical times, Israel continually struggled with the influence that the Gentile cultures had upon them. Idolatry. Sexual impurity. Trusting in political/national power rather than trusting in God. It wasn’t long before there was little real difference between God’s people and the surrounding culture. The Lord sent prophets to them to turn His people back to Him. He used two primary methods to cause His people to return: natural phenomena and attacks by foreign powers.

I can’t help but see parallels for American Christians. We struggle with being overcome by the culture in which we live (and Christmas is a great example of the cultural tsunami we have to deal with). We deal with idolatry. No, we don’t make little idols out of wood and gold to which we make sacrifices, but there are things that we make ultimate as we endeavor to follow Jesus. Money, of course, is always a concern. But what about comfort, pleasure and security? What about family? What about individualism?Are we any different than the surrounding culture? To what extent have we been compromised?

More than we know, I think.

What scares me is how God will deal with us. He loves us too much to allow us to make anything more important to us in this culture than He is. He loves us too much to allow us be in bondage to the idols of the surrounding society. Only He can fulfill us. This is the way He has wired us. I love the United States, but it’s extremely important for us to know that politics and politicians are not the answer for our national problems. Political solutions are not the remedy—it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. If we think these things are the answers, we will be like Israel, who trusted in political and national power, rather than in God. He will deal with us as severely as He dealt with them. We must trust God, not political power and leaders.

We must trust in God more than money.

We must cause God to be ultimate in our lives, more than our families, more than our safety and security, more than our individualism.

We must love Jesus more than we love our own lives and this present world. There is only one way to get this kind of love—we must ask for it.