In times when it seems like Christian values are not enjoying very much political clout, then Christians sometimes comfort each other with statements that are intended to be focusing. We'll say things like:
- No matter who is president, Jesus is king.
- We've just got to trust God. He knows what's best.
- Just have faith.
- Who needs the donkey and the elephant when you've got the Lion and the Lamb.
All of these pious sounding phrases are true with respect to our spiritual salvation and the cause of Christ. The church is going to be fine no matter what the political climate is. In fact, it does just great in the face of persecution. The church survived Nero and Domitian, and it can survive Clinton or Trump. Christ's power to save is not encumbered in the least by any political leader. As a Christian this does give me comfort.
However as an American, I find no comfort at all in these ideas. You see, I do trust God to keep His promises, but God never promised a glorious future for America. America is not ancient Israel, and it is not the church. America is not God's special chosen nation. God has not promised that everything will be "okay" for America. Yet many Americans presumptuously seem to think so. In fact, America is becoming increasingly hostile toward God so what makes us think that His favor in the future is in any way guaranteed? The USA could be completely disbanded and distributed among her enemies, and it would still be true that "Jesus is King".
God's control of nations is not in doubt among His followers. We can rightly point to Romans 13:1 and know that governing authorities have been instituted by God. However, this does not just apply to America. He has allowed a great many nations to rise and fall over the centuries. Why should we think America is any different? Why assume that the leaders chosen are automatically the ones that God thinks are in America's best interest?
Most people accept the principle that "choices have consequences" to be a sound, even biblical observation. Over recent decades it seems that America has made an awful lot of choices with our votes, time, money, priorities, and various other ways that have slowly diverted the country further and further from godliness. There is eventually a price for that.
I am a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, and that is my first loyalty. However, I am also an American, and I want good things for America's future. It's not a lack of faith in God that causes me to worry for America. It's a lack of faith in America based on her recent past.
So what should the concerned American do?
- Pray - This is the biggie. Pray for our current leaders. Pray often and sincerely. Pray that God will send godly influences into their lives. Pray that God will give them wisdom to lead well. Pray for the American electorate to choose wisely.
- Vote Moral Issues - You live in a country that freely gives you the opportunity to influence its direction through the very easy process of voting. If all of the God-fearing Americans out there would let their votes be counted, then it would be a blessing to our country. Why cede control willingly to the ungodly? I'm not at all saying that you have a christian obligation to vote. However, I am saying that the country would be better off receiving the counsel of the godly. I personally wish you would bless us in that way by casting votes guided by godly values.
- Bring Others to Christ - This is one of the most important things we can do in life because it makes a difference that stretches far beyond this life. This one is much bigger than current events and politics. However, as a pleasant side-effect, the more godly people there are in the world, the greater capacity they have to influence every aspect of the world in positive ways - including, but not limited to the moral compass of society. Remember that Sodom and Gomorrah might have been spared if Lot's efforts at evangelism had been only slightly more effective.
- Don't Think That "Politics" Is a Bad Word - Don't be afraid to have civil discussions about political issues and candidates. It does matter, and it is okay to discuss. Just keep it civil and respectful. Godly people will still arrive at different conclusions. Let's try not to look down our noses at each other even if we don't see eye to eye.
- Care - Some people seem to take pride in not caring about politics as if it makes them somehow superior to those who do pay attention. They'll say things like, "Why are you so worried about an election when you should be worried about ______________?" Yes, there are other things that are more important that shouldn't be neglected. However, we have the capacity to care significantly about more than one thing at a time. Just because "x" is more important, does not imply that "y" is wholly unimportant. It is okay to care about the direction of the country that serves as your home on earth while you await your home in heaven.
What are your thoughts on how we can bless our nation's leadership with godly influences?