We have all been watching the news with anticipation, fear, and confusion these past several weeks as it appears that our nation's financial situation only continues to get worse.
This, of course, all came to a head on Friday when Standard and Poor's dropped the credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA+. For the first time in our nation's history, our ability to pay our debts was called into question and Washington has been left scrambling.
We all must face the fact that the only way out of our situation now is to raise taxes and cut government programs. This all means, of course, a drop in the standard of living that so many Americans have come to enjoy in the past several decades. How significant a drop is yet to be seen.
So how should a Christian respond to all of this? Our society that has been so strong now appears to be weaker, and we must ask what is right for Christians to do in this situation?
Fortunately for us, this is not the first time Christians have faced difficult societal times. The events of recent days bring to mind another period in history when Christians found themselves asking the same types of questions that we are asking today.
In 410 A.D., the unthinkable happened; Rome, the impenetrable city, was sacked by the Visigoths. This left many people in the Roman Empire terrified at the notion that their great empire that had dominated the world for nearly a thousand years might not be indestructible.
Responding to this peril, the Great Saint Augustine of Hippo went to his study and began writing "The City of God." In this classic, he reminded the church that even if the earthly rule of Rome was imperiled, it was the City of God that would ultimately triumph.
So even though Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire, Christianity was not a political position, but a spiritual one. He fixed his eyes and encouraged others to fix their eyes not on the city of Rome but on the New Jerusalem.
I think a similar response is very appropriate for Christians in America today. Our hope is not in Washington, our hope is in Christ.
And while we love being Americans and are proud of our country, we must realize that our hope is in a much greater citizenship, our citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ. Ultimately, the hope of this age and the age to come is Jesus. As long as people fail to recognize Him as supreme, it doesn't matter what kind of program or administration we have in place in Washington, our nation will be broken.
So what is the right response? Well, I would encourage you to continue to stay engaged in politics, continue to watch the news and to think about these issues through the lens of the Gospel.
But realize that the only real solution to our nation's issues is that we the people would humble ourselves before the Lord and recognize the supremacy of Christ in all things.
That happens and will continue to happen when local churches boldly love the Gospel above all else. When the church lives like the church is called to live and not like the world, our nation has a lot of hope. Until then, we can only anticipate a continued demise.
So if you really care about this nation, love the word of God, love the local church, and live out the Gospel with an intense passion.
The City of God is where our ultimate hope lies and until the New Jerusalem is fully realized, may our continual prayer be, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy Kingdom Come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."
Jason Dees is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Covington. He can be reached at 770-786-9031 or www.firstbaptistcovington.com or www.facebook.com/jasondees.