Jesus made an in interesting statement in Mark 8:15. He said:
“Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
He warned His followers of two types of leaven, which symbolize two ways of thought. The leaven of the Pharisees is pretty obvious. It is the religious way of thought that seeks to control people through rules instead of a personal relationship with a loving Heavenly Father. It is impersonal and powerless. What is the mysterious leaven of Herod, however? The leaven of Herod is the the political way of thought – The Political Spirit.
The political spirit is similar to the religious spirit because it also focuses on control, however it operates very differently. The leaven of Herod primarily operates by fear,manipulation, and through the hidden agendas of deceptive leaders. People with the the political spirit form coalitions and maneuver things to their advantage to gain power.
The political spirit often ends up destroying the people it is trying to control. This is important to understand right now as we are seeing the leaven of Herod play out before our eyes as both political parties compete for power in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic. While there are good people in both parties who have the best interest of the American people at heart, there are also those who are using this epidemic to push their own agenda.
This became clear to me recently as I was reading through the story of David and Absalom. In this story, Absalom’s half-brother Amnon raped his sister Tamar. This angered Absalom like it would have angered any of us. Absalom’s anger wasn’t wrong. What was wrong was how Absalom processed the offense toward his brother and father, King David. His offense led to him seeking control through deception and manipulation. The story of Absalom perfectly illustrates the political spirit. Let’s take a deeper look.
After King David found out about Amnon raping Tamar he didn’t respond right away. He didn’t arrest Amnon, throw him in jail, or have him disciplined him in any way. The Bible doesn’t say why David didn’t respond immediately. Mostly likely, he was in a state of shock. He probably felt a multitude of emotions including hurt and anger towards Amnon, while feeling great sorrow and empathy for Tamar. He probably just needed time to figure things out, but Abasalom didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt.
Absalom thought David was either too weak or too indifferent because he didn’t respond to Amnon’s sin in in a strong way. He was infuriated so he decided to take matters into his own hands and he murdered Amnon! This was horrifically wrong, but as bad as that was, the worst was yet to come.
Absalom used his charisma and deception to turn the nation of Israel against King David so he could seize the throne. The rest of the story is one of further betrayal, unnecessary bloodshed, and additional heartache. Much like our current political leaders, Absalom used the events of the day to gain control and become king. The heart of Absalom is revealed in this verse in 2 Samuel 18:
18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King’s Valley. For he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom’s Monument.
Absalom built a monument to himself to promote his greatness. My personal opinion is he never found his worth from his own father so he had to promote himself. This is contrasted with his father, David who didn’t self promote. 2 Samuel 15:25-26 says that David was willing to give up his throne to Absalom if it was the will of God. David even commanded his military leaders to not lay a hand on Absalom after he rebelled. Why? David was a man after God’s own heart. He cared more about people than himself and his political agenda. We need more of this today.
I’m not going to address either political party or attempt to give a solution to the current economic, health, and social problems. That would miss the point of the article. My point is that we need to pray that our leaders lay down their political agendas and do the right thing.
In life, we need to lay down our agendas and do the right thing. We don’t need to manipulate to gain advantage, but seek first the kingdom of God and let Him promote us in due time.
When people have the heart of God, they can disagree and still be agreeable. The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, not war (James 3:18). So what are some practical steps to defeat the political spirit in our own lives.:
- Know we are in Christ. When we got saved, we entered into a new kingdom with unlimited resources. When we remember who are source is, we can stop looking to others for self worth, money, promotion, etc.
- Prayer – Jesus said to pray for your enemies. One of the best ways to cultivate love in our hearts for others is to pray for them.
- Giving our enemies gifts – When we bless those who persecute us with gifts, it does something to our heart. It puts a love in us for them because we invest in them. It causes us to see them the way the Father sees them.
I’d encourage you to begin to put these steps in practice. Learn to cultivate the heart of the Father in your own life and agree with me that the Holy Spirit will touch our political, business, and media leaders so they develop the heart of the Father also. To learn more, check out this message.