In late October of 2019, I had a vivid dream that stirred my spirit. It was a bit disturbing and unsettling.
In the dream, I was invited to do some sort of invocation before the men and women of Congress. I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t know if I want to share what is in my heart.”
I was very nervous about standing before these political leaders. It seemed that there had been a lot of conflict, fighting and animosity between them. And yet there were so many things that were unattended to—things like the opioid crisis, the situation at the border, rising costs in health care and the tragic murders, persecution and even beheadings of Christians and other groups around the world.
Nervously, but with great respect and humility, I addressed those before me and said with deep conviction, “Some of you have a profession of faith in, and some respect for, the Ten Commandments. Yet some here are operating under the spirit of murder, either by commission or omission.”
I thought about “the woes” found in Matthew 23, particularly verses 23 and 24, so I asked, “Should you neglect the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith? And then the Lord Jesus Himself said, ‘Blind guides, you strain out a gnat and you swallow a camel.’”
Then I concluded: “I may never be invited back. But do you really care about your people? Or are you only concerned with your own power and influence?”
I began processing this dream with my family and staff, and recently shared it during a gathering of pastors. Many of them agreed it was such a reflection of what is happening now in our country and especially in the recent, tumultuous saga we found ourselves embroiled in only days after God gave me the dream. It was a landscape of bickering and infighting that reminded me of Josephus and what he wrote about the fall of Jerusalem to Rome.
Division, Then and Now
Josephus was a first-century Jewish historian who personally witnessed the tragic destruction of Jerusalem and the desecration of the temple. He wrote that the Jewish people had “turned their hands one against another.” Families were divided and communities were in conflict. The political and spiritual divisions and fighting in Israel caused instability. weakening and ultimately, in 66-70 AD, Rome conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. The political divisiveness and the spiritual division from within gave way to attack from without.
The similarity to our situation today in the political realm, as well as in the church, is uncanny: a dividing and conquering from external pressures and outside influences is causing instability in the church—and our heart is waning. It’s so important for us to align ourselves with the Lord and set aside our various ideologies and differences so that we can begin walking in authentic unity. Unity is not uniformity, but rather unity in our diversity. But our primary focus is to fix our eyes on Jesus, our highest common denominator, the Author and Finisher of our faith. How can we, as the church, be a blessing to others if we can’t come to that place of humble posture in our own relationships, with God and with one another?
Regardless of our personal preferences, politicians of choice or political persuasions, I think we agree that we need the intervention of God in the church and throughout our nation if we’re going to see the church of our nation be a blessing to the nations. It will take us coming together at the cross of Christ and becoming part of something bigger than ourselves.
Discernment: God’s Gift to Solomon
In my dream, I was acutely aware of our need for the gift of discernment and the wisdom of God given to Solomon. When two women came to Solomon both claiming to be a certain baby’s mother, God gave him wisdom and discernment to know which of the women truly loved and wanted what was best for the child. He could hear beyond their words to understand the heart (I Kings 3). As the church, we need a new level of that same kind of wisdom and discernment.
Years ago, a pastor friend from the underground church in Vietnam shared how, at one time, he was praying for God to give him all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. This was not a selfish prayer of someone seeking spiritual power, but the humble prayer of one who sought to serve the Lord with every ounce of his being, and to be a leader with wisdom. Through this process of prayer, God reminded my friend that one often neglected gift is the gift of discernment, and He began revealing the importance of this gift.
We’re coming into a season where we must hear and obey the voice of the Father in greater measure. We need prophetic clarity and wisdom. There are many competing voices in our culture, and even in churches, declaring their version of truth. Many sound convincing. But as the body of Christ, we must look to the Head, who is Christ, ask for His discernment, so we can discern real truth.
Only through the Holy Spirit given gift of discernment will we identify, like Solomon, who really cares about the baby? Who really cares about our community and our nation? Who are those who want to cut us apart and who are those crying out not to cut the baby in half?
We need the wisdom of God so that we can discern beyond what we hear from external influences. With all the politicking, political jockeying and people trying to attain a position of influence, we need to be the plumb line of healing and hope, righteousness and justice, lest we set ourselves up to fall.
In the political climate we live in, we need to keep our feet on the ground and our hearts before the Lord. We need to discern the seditious spirits from without and within. We must resist the murderous spirit that promotes a disrespect for truth and authority, and opens a Pandora’s Box of anarchy and lawlessness. It’s imperative that we, as Christians, surrender our personal preferences and ask God to give us the ideologies of God’s Kingdom, not man’s.
For the rest of this article, please visit dougstringer.com.
Doug Stringer is the founder of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, with chapters, centers, partners, affiliate ministries and a global coalition and network of organizations and churches impacting communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches, training and responding in times of crisis, as well as encouraging and equipping leaders globally. Doug is an internationally known author and communicator who speaks to thousands of leaders annually on topics such as compassion evangelism, persevering, courageous and transformational leadership and community transformation.