The Bible is full of wisdom and guidance for how to live our lives in a God-honoring way. It can sometimes be difficult, though, to translate this wisdom to our modern-day lives, especially when it comes to engaging the (often hostile) world around us.
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Dr. Lynn Wogamon, author of Standing for God in America: How Christians Can Make a Difference in Today’s Society, to discuss what the Bible says about being an engaged citizen and impacting the world around us in a positive way.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. For many Christians, the intensity of the problems and challenges plaguing our society today can cause us to want to turn inward and focus exclusively on our own little communities of home and our personal relationship with God. But the Bible says a lot about what kind of citizens we should be. Well, we’re excited to welcome Dr. Lynn Wogamon, she earned her doctorate in education from Liberty University, and she’s the author of Standing for God in America: How Christians Can Make a Difference in Today’s Society. Dr. Wogamon, welcome to Family Policy Matters.
LYNN WOGAMON: Thank you so much. I’m very happy to be here.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: You contend that the Bible has a lot to say about what kind of citizens we should be. Well, walk us through that. What are some of the key passages that you found that we need to remember when it comes to interacting with our society?
LYNN WOGAMON: Thank you for that question. I believe that we are called to be very involved in our nation, what’s going on, not just in our homes and locally, but around the country and around the world. God’s word tells us that he watches over His people, He cares about what happens to us. And He wants us to stand firm and to speak truth in all matters. And so as we look at that, many of us are a little bit hesitant about speaking out, because maybe we don’t feel comfortable enough to feel like if somebody asked me a question, I wouldn’t know how to answer it. And so we just remain silent. And so what I encourage people to do is to really get in to study the Bible to see what it says about different topics of interest and concern that we have. Morality, leadership, marriage and family, wealth and resources – the Bible has so much to say about how we spend our money, what we use it for, and the whole concept of welfare and working, and that is such a big part of our nation today. And then as far as our protection, our military, and then those social issues like health care and education, believe it or not, God’s word talks about health care, and it talks about education. And so when we really get in and study and say, “What does God say? What are his truths about these topics?” then we feel more comfortable speaking out and engaging in conversation.
But I would like to also make kind of a disclaimer that as we go out and begin to speak, and to be the difference makers in society, we have a responsibility to speak as Jesus spoke, to speak with compassion, and acceptance of the person, not the sin, not the issue, but with the person. We should never be confrontational person to person, but just speaking truth on topics. I think that’s one of the reasons Christians are afraid to get involved. They don’t want to be considered intolerant, or biased, or bigots. And so we just keep to ourselves. And in the process of that, truth is not spoken, and therefore, falsehoods, fallacies, and things that are anti-what God’s Word says are allowed to grow and be considered the norm and get put into place and policies and all kinds of things that we see in our country today.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: All right, well, you listed off a lot of different things that you say the Bible speaks about leadership, morality, marriage and family, wealth, health care, education, can you pick two or three of those and walk us through how we as Christians should be finding these verses in the Bible, and then also applying those to our lives?
LYNN WOGAMON: Sure. Well, first of all, let’s kind of just take the first one, we’ll talk about morality. And we’ve got several places in the Bible that really speak to morality. Of course, we know, first of all, Psalms and Proverbs give us so much on how we should conduct our lives and how we should live as Christians. We see verses like Mark 7, where he talks about the evil thoughts that come out of a person’s mind. Sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, and all those things, but we also see the opposite of that, that when we follow God’s Word, He blesses us. And we see that all throughout, in Deuteronomy, when God was leading his people, as a new nation, He would say, “If you will follow me, then I will bless you. If you will do these things, then I will bless you.” And so we are called to live according to God’s truth.
One of the things I talk about in the book is that for every action that God condemns, and a lot of people look at all those things for morality as those 10 Commandments, thou shalt not, thou shalt not. But for every thou shalt not, there is a “if you do my will, I will bless you.” So, as we’re told not to commit adultery, the opposite of that is we will receive a blessing when we remain faithful to our marriage partner because we will be blessed with a strong, healthy family. When we are told to avoid gossip, we are rewarded with wonderful relationships with others. And so for everything that He condemns morality-wise, He blesses when we follow His words, and I think we need to be living in that expectancy of his blessing, not just living in fear of doing the wrong thing.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Do you want to pick another one, what’s another topic that you think we need to be looking at?
LYNN WOGAMON: Okay, so let’s look at wealth and resources. We know that Proverbs tells us so much about our wealth, and how to use our wealth. And so we see that we are to, first of all, we are to tithe. We’ve been given that expectation that we give back to God a portion of what He gives to us. We should look at what He gives us as stewards, and the Bible talks about that in I Corinthians 4, he says, “This is how one should regard us as stewards and servants of Christ and stewards of the mystery.” So we’re called upon to take good care of God’s world that He’s given us, we saw even in Genesis 3, where He gives Adam charge of the world. And so we are called to take good care of His world and the things that He gives us, but also to look at them as gifts from Him and not our possessions, but to be used to serve Him and to serve others.
Another thing that we look at as far as wealth is God’s attitude towards work. We see right now a lot of our people are not wanting to work. My son works for FedEx, and they are having a difficult time finding people that are willing to work. They’ll hire them, and in a week, they’re quitting. And so the Bible has a lot to say, I Thessalonians 4 says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and to attend to your business and work with your hand.” Paul tells people, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And that sounds very harsh, but he knows that it’s so important that everyone is involved in the daily activities of the community to be engaged in productive work because that’s where our self-esteem comes from. But it also provides a service for our community. And we see all of that in God’s word. It’s just a matter of getting in there and finding the scriptures.
I’ll give you one other one. Proverbs 24:27 says, “Prepare your work, get everything ready for yourself in the field, and then build your house.” In other words, we’ve got to get our priorities straight, we’ve got to get our work, and then we can build our home. And so there are priorities to everything. And God’s Word speaks to those things very clearly when we go looking for them.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Well, I’m really curious about leadership because that seems to be something that we are grappling with quite a bit, especially regarding candidates who maybe we wonder where all the good leaders are, right? So talk about that. Does the Bible Speak clearly to that do you think?
LYNN WOGAMON: It does, it not only gives us specific instructions, but it also gives us wonderful examples of godly leaders that we can use as a model for who we choose as our leaders. For example, we see in Psalms the concept of integrity, how leaders must be men of character and women of character that they say what they mean, and they mean what they say, and they follow through on their promises. The definition of integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one’s looking. And so just looking for those people who live out what they say, there’s no one way at home, one way at work, one way in the political arena; there’s consistency in everything that they do and say. And so Psalm 41:12 says, “Because of my integrity, you hold me and set me in Your presence forever.” And that was David. And we see David was a king after God’s own heart. He was a leader of integrity.
Another area that we expect our leaders to be just they should show justice and kindness as they deal with people. They should not be deceitful and out for only their gain or only trying to get the people that you know are lobbying for them or whatever if we want to carry it in the political arena. But we want leaders who are just in their dealings with people. They want leaders who are honest; the Bible says, “Loyalty and truth watch over the king, and he upholds his throne by loyalty.” And so we see honesty and loyalty as being characteristics of a godly leader.
And then, finally, we see characteristics of humility. David wrote, “Lord, you know, my heart, you know my attitude, and please, if there’s any wayward thought in me, bring it to my attention.” He was humble before God. And then those characteristics of generosity of being willing to give and give abundantly to those in need. And how do we put all that into practice with choosing leaders with the election process in full swing now? It’s important that we not only look at what a person says, on their platform, on their website, or in their debate, but also at how they have acted in the past. Have they been true to what they’re saying? Have they shown one-way last year and something different this year? What are they like in their private lives? And people say, “Well, that should not matter.” Yes, it should. Because the person who follows God follows God in every aspect of their lives, not just personal, not just private, but in every aspect. And we do have a responsibility to look at how our leaders live their private lives because that’s how they’re going to lead. They’re not going to lead based on their words, they’re going to lead based on who they are as people. And so we have to just not only look at their platform, listen to what they say, but research and see what have they done, how have they lived their lives? How have they voted if they’ve been in an elected position before or in business? How have they conducted themselves? And then make decisions based on that because we must have godly leaders at every level of our government, in our businesses, in our churches, even.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Can we make a difference? I know sometimes we look at the world around us and we go, “Everybody’s lost their minds!” I mean, can we actually be change agents, do you have hope for that?
LYNN WOGAMON: I do. Because one voice speaking out is going to start a ripple effect. When we are silent, I have a quote in the book that says, “A silent Christian is an ineffective Christian.” When we begin to speak up, when we begin to do little things in our homes, in our communities. As we see opportunities to work to speak up, God is going to open more doors and more windows. Paul prayed and asked the Christians to open up doors of opportunity that he could share the gospel. God will take a heart that is open to serve Him, open to make a difference, and He will open doors of opportunity for that to happen.
I just have to say, a year ago, I could never have imagined myself doing interviews on the radio. That was not my thing. I couldn’t even dream of that. But by following the very next thing God gave me to do, being willing to speak out, being willing to write a book, being willing to do that, He then opens the next door. And that’s how God works. He doesn’t work in great ways. And all of a sudden, I’m going to change everything. He works step by step using people. He allows us to be part of the process for our own good. He doesn’t need any one of us. But he allows us that joy and that privilege of serving him in this way.
So what I tell people is start looking for little opportunities that you can make a difference. Get involved, start with your home, turn your home into a place where God is honored if it’s not already, a place where God is honored, where truth is spoken, and begin to live out your personal life and your home life, according to God’s word. As you begin to do that, He will open up doors in your community, in your church, for you to grow and to expand, and collectively, as each of us begins to do that, we will make a difference. And we just pray, God will take the harvest, He will take His word and create a harvest.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Great, thank you so much for that. We’re just about out of time before we go, Dr. Wogamon, where can our listeners get a copy of your book but also follow your work on social media or wherever else they can find you?
LYNN WOGAMON: I will say I’m not really good with social media, but they can get the book and get a study guide for the book – it’s not in the book, but it’s on my website. It’s LynnWogamon.com. I have information there, I do a blog there. So that’s a great place for them to go to see what’s going on and kind of see what I’m writing about, and they can order the books there. The books are also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and some other Christian book outlets as well.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: All right, Dr. Lynn Wogamon, thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.
– END –