As I read the passage, I was especially struck by four of the verses, in which two ways of life are contrasted:
Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord. They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.In the waning days of an annoying, negative, and debasing political campaign, these verses .
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.
Instead, Christ frees us to look beyond ourselves and our temporary self-interest, to love God and to love neighbors, wherever those neighbors are and whoever they are, be they in the inner-cities of still poverty-wracked cities or those who live under the dominion of humanly-created religiosity.
The apostle Paul, writing to the first century church in the Macedonian city of Philippi, urges believers in Christ: "Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others."
Then he describes the only way we can muster enough guts to live this way: "Let the same mind [the mind of love and self-sacrifice] be in you that was in Christ Jesus..." (Philippians 2:4-5)
To change our world, first we ourselves must be changed.
And for that happen, we must allow Christ to invade our lives and take control of our thinking and our doing.
This will never be a perfect world. We will never build utopia on earth.
Until the day Christ returns, unforgiven sinners will keep sinning and worshiping themselves or their favorite idols, be they materialism, security, status, leisure, power, sexual intimacy outside of marriage, or whatever.
Sinners forgiven through their repentance and belief in Jesus Christ will struggle to resist the temptation to sin, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, until that same day.
That's why we Christians must, in Martin Luther's words, live in "daily repentance and renewal."
But our lives, both in this imperfect world and in perfection in the world to come, will be dramatically different and we ourselves will be different when we remember the truth of Jeremiah 17:5 ("Cursed are those who trust in mortals...") and Jeremiah 17:8 ("Blessed are those who trust in the Lord...").
Jesus Christ, Who took the punishment for sin that you and I deserve, death, on a cross, and then rose from the dead to give new lives to anyone who dares to confess their sin and believe in Jesus as their only God and Savior, their only hope, proves that the Lord can be trusted.
Trust in Him.
Presidents come and go.
Kings and kingdoms rise and fall.
Fortunes are made and lost.
People live and die.
Only the God we know in Jesus is immortal.
Only the God we know in Christ has shared our lives and deaths so that we can be free to live with Him, now and in eternity.
Whether President Obama or Governor Romney wins the presidency in the upcoming election really won't mean a thing if you and I don't put our trust in Jesus Christ alone.
Christ is the game-changer.
He is the life changer.