Expressions of faith: Following Jesus

Rev. Monterey D. Lee, Sr.

We are living through perilous and paralyzing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches. We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith is now at state. It is time to be followers of Jesus before anything else, i.e., political party, race, ethnicity, or gender. Our integrity in Christ must precede every other identity. Your call to follow Jesus Christ means that you are called to be the best version of yourself God made you to be.

We pray that our nation will see Jesus through you as His followers. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13:35.

When politics undermines our theology, we must examine ourselves. The church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ. The government’s role is to serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, and rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior. When political leadership undermines Christian theology, faith leaders must stand up and speak out. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.” It is the duty of the Christian leader, especially the pastor, to speak the truth in love to our churches and to name and warn against temptations, racial and culture captivities, false doctrines, and political idolatries. We do so with humility, prayer, and a deep dependency on the grace and the Holy Spirit of God.

As followers of Jesus, we choose to live our lives with Christ at the center. As the church we gather, pray, worship God, sing, read scripture together, and share in the Holy Sacrament by bread and wine. Together we proclaim that Jesus is Lord.

What does that mean for our daily lives? Who is Jesus Christ in your life? What does our loyalty to Christ as disciples require of us? Are we a people of respect? Do we respect each person we meet and take the time to truly consider what they are saying? Do we stand for Jesus Christ at all times? Do we pay attention to people’s feelings and thoughts giving voice only to help and not hurt?

Do we practice forgiveness seeking to forgive and forget the hurt and pain from others? Do we suspend judgment, seeking to love and not condemn? Scripture declares: “Don’t judge others, and God won’t judge you. God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them,” Matthew 7:1-2.

I invite you to take a few moments to ask yourself these questions: Are you truly a follower of Christ? Do I truly represent the body of Christ? Do I show the love of God to every person I come into contact with? If so, then “Let your light so shine before men that they should see your good works and glorify the Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

(Monterey D. Lee, Sr. is the pastor of the Celebration Christian Center, Inc., located at 1215 9th Ave N Nashville, Tenn. 37208. For more information, visit their website at www.celebrationchristian.online.)