When you watch CNN, Fox News, or whatever news source you prefer, how do you feel once you’ve clicked the “off” button? Hopeful? Encouraged? Thankful? Reassured? Or do you feel enraged? Fearful? Tense? Pessimistic?
Sometimes we let the fear of losing our liberties, our personal well-being, and a prosperous future get the best of us and we look to political solutions for the answers. And no doubt, it matters who pulls the levers of power in public office; from our city planning commissions to the highest office in the land and everyone in between. As Christians, we express love to God and our neighbor by pursuing that which is good, beautiful, just, and true, so how we engage as political citizens ought to reflect that reality.
At the same time, however, we must remember that, “the king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). In other words, God is providentially working out his purposes in and through those he has placed in public office. This is why the Christian’s political philosophy can be most succinctly summarized in three simple words: “The Lord reigns.”
God’s providence in government ought not to lead us to passive withdrawal. Instead, it ought to nudge us into faithful action. The God who ordains the ends ordains the means. And the some of the means by which he works out his purposes are by his people praying for those who govern them, serving in public office, and ministering to our elected leaders.
You may not be able to persuade your representatives to pursue justice and righteousness, but you can pray.
You may not be able to serve in office, but you can vote.
You may not be able to directly bring the gospel to those serving in elected leadership, but you can send missionary-ministers to them.
As you consider your role as citizen of two kingdoms, ask God to reveal to you what your role might be in seeking the welfare of your city, state, and nation. Then step out in faith with your time, resources, giftedness, and mind to live in ways that glorify God and serve your neighbor.
And most importantly remember that our hope is not in who occupies the seat of power or in what policies pass and fail. Our hope ultimately lies in our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who promises us that “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).