Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his Republican presidential campaign yesterday and endorsed former President Donald Trump. His decision leaves Mr. Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley as the last major candidates remaining in the race ahead of tomorrow’s New Hampshire Republican primary.
His announcement is making headlines not just because it could change the race for the White House but because that race will change our lives. Whatever your partisan position, I’m certain you’ll agree that America will be a profoundly different nation if President Biden is reelected than if Mr. Trump or Mrs. Haley win the election.
And yet, in a very real and foundational sense, the ultimate destiny of our nation is less in their hands than in yours and mine.
A government “unbridled by morality and religion”
Today is the fifty-first anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the tragic Supreme Court ruling that permitted babies to be aborted legally in this country. Though it was finally overturned due to its flawed legal reasoning, many states continue to permit this gruesome practice. And chemical abortions, which are difficult to regulate, are now used more than half of the time.
Human laws reflect the preferences of fallen citizens as enacted by fallen legislators and adjudicated by fallen judges. Accordingly, they cannot produce a just and moral society. At best, they restrain our worst impulses (though twenty-two mass shootings in the first twenty-one days of the new year belie this hope).
From abortion to adultery, pornography, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and a host of other legal sins, America’s secular governance gives us the right to do things that are profoundly wrong.
What, then, is the path to our best future?
The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. . . . Peace, justice, humanity, charity; these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of a Divine Grace.
We need a Power beyond ourselves to enable us to be who we should be.
“The first duty of every soul”
In his daily devotional last Friday, Dr. Duane Brooks quoted P. T. Forsythe: “Unless there is within us that which is above us, we shall soon yield to that which is about us. The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master.”
C. S. Lewis agreed. In The Problem of Pain, he wrote:
We are only creatures; our role must always be that of patient to agent . . . mirror to light, echo to voice. Our highest activity must be response, not initiative. To experience the love of God in a true, but not an illusory form, is therefore to experience it as our surrender to his demand, our conformity to his desire.
Both were reflecting Paul’s observation: “The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh” (Galatians 5:17). The apostle elaborated with a description that could be taken from today’s news:
The works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these (vv. 19–21).
To avoid them, we must “keep in step with the Spirit” (v. 25), submitting every day to his cleansing, leading, and empowering (Ephesians 5:18). When we do, we manifest the “fruit of the Spirit,” his “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).
God’s word promises: “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).
The choice is ours.
“There are five Gospels”
Rodney Smith was born in a tent and raised in a Gypsy camp. He never attended school, not even for a single day. He became a Christian in 1876 and the next year was invited by General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, to join him in his evangelistic work.
Known as “Gypsy” Smith, he became one of the most effective evangelists in history. He was based in Great Britain but made more than forty trips to the US, Australia, South Africa, and other countries. His powerful preaching influenced the lives of millions.
Smith claimed, “There are five Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian—but most people never read the first four.”
When people read your “Gospel” today, what—and whom—will they find?
NOTE: Did you know that Easter Sunday falls on March 31 this year? That also means Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day. Since the Lent season begins so soon, I encourage you to request Awaken My Heart, our new Lenten devotional, today.
Monday news you need to know
- Here’s how the NFL playoff bracket looks after divisional round games
- US sees over 90 weather-related deaths as dangerous cold continues
- Tara VanDerveer is now the winningest coach in college basketball history
- Is Kim Jong-un really planning an attack this time?
- The world hasn’t seen cicadas like this since 1803
Quote for the day
“What we need is not more learning, not more eloquence, not more persuasion, not more organization, but more power from the Holy Spirit.” —John Stott