David Beasley

Former Governor of South Carolina

“God created it in such a way that when you break bread, have fellowship, pray together, and serve and love one another, you can’t hate that other person for so long. The walls come down.”

 



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David Beasley is the 113th Governor of South Carolina from 1995 until 1999. During his term, he was noted for ordering the Confederate Flag to be removed from the top of the Capitol. This unpopular decision, which may have cost him his re-election, later earned him the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award in 2003.  For the past decade, David has been traveling the world lifting up the name of Jesus, starting small groups, and counseling leaders.

How do you stay centered on Jesus in your personal life?

I have five primary ways. One is through friends. They help keep me accountable. The second is prayer. Third is scripture. Fourth is helping others. The fifth is incorporated within all of these. It’s the Holy Spirit who guides me through all of these. Jesus is very clear that we need to diligently study scriptures. He’s also clear that these scriptures testify about Him (John 5:39-40). Studying scripture won’t mean anything if it doesn’t lead you into a deeper relationship with God and a greater capacity to love God and love people with all your heart.

How should a follower of Jesus approach the subject of politics?

First and foremost, I believe we are called to be under authority of governance wherever possible (Romans 13:1). Serving in Congress and Governor showed me that there’s substantial power in politics to influence people for better or worse, but I also realized the severe limitations of rules and regulations.

In the Roman empire, 3/5 of the country were slaves at the times of Jesus. Jesus must’ve realized that what the world needed more a new set of laws was a change of the heart. Only when men and women genuinely learn to love one another is the shalom peace that God came for restored. Jesus’s teachings remind me that we don’t need to try and change the world – just ordinary people one at a time. Just die to yourself and allow Him to live through you by the leading of Spirit. It’s so simple you can’t even believe it, and scholars can’t understand that.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a young professional looking to enter politics?

Forget about it. All kidding aside,  the first thing I would tell them is get a band of brothers or sisters around them and pray about it. During my time as governor, I had a small group of friends around me who would keep me accountable to the man I was called to be. One friend in particular they would pray every day with me and speak truth into my life. Moses had Aaron. Daniel had Shadrach, Mishrac, Abendego. David had Jonathan. As someone in the media/entertainment space, how do you remain in the world but not of the world?

A few questions to ask yourself include: Does God want you to do it? How does He want you to do it? How does he want you to be involved? Be the candidate? Support the candidate? Serve the poor and the needy?

The one question you have to ask yourself every day is how do I love my neighbor as myself? How would being a political figure help me do that? If you’re not asking that question, you’re not fulfilling the purpose of life (Matthew 22:34-40). Every story, scripture must be read in light of loving others. All 613 commandments depend on those two commandments love God and love others. The big ten commandments must be read in light of the big two commandments.

What is the greatest problem in America today?

I believe the greatest problem is alienation, or simply, a lack of love. I often encounter a belief that if we only had the right leader in place or the right policy in place then things would go well. While all those things are important, I believe the love we have for one another is really what makes the difference. 

I’ve asked countless people including seminary students and professors this simple question: “Who wrote First Thessalonians?” The answer 100% of the time is Paul of Tarsus. They’re wrong. The answer is Paul, Sylvanus, and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1). Paul, like Jesus, did everything with love amidst a band of brothers. This band of brothers even describes their relationship with the Thessalonians as a nursing mother tenderly caring for her children (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

How do you approach discipleship in your life?

The work of Jesus the man is discipleship. The work of Jesus the Christ is the cross. As none of us are worthy to die on a cross for another person’s sins, it’s the first work that He’s teaching us to replicate. In my life, traveling with companions and leading retreats at my home in South Carolina are two of the primary way I seek to disciple leaders.

I also believe it’s the Spirit that Jesus is asking us to be discipled in. Every human being is attracted to that Spirit. Jesus said lift me up and you will attract others (John 12:32). When we recognize the full authority of the Spirit who gives life (john 6:63), we will come to understand the great secret throughout the ages that no one has ever done anything of eternal value apart from the Spirit (John 15:5).

Finally, I would say that we need to exercise patience. Jesus is “The Way” which means that many of us are on “The Way” to Jesus. Some may see him as a person. Others, a prophet. And still others, a Son of God. Jesus spent 1.5 years with Peter before He got it and declared Christ as the Messiah (Matthew 16:16). Too often we discount people because they rather than letting the Person of Jesus and the Spirit of God continue to work in their lives.


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