During my husband’s Q & A event last week, the second question out of the box had to do with this year’s election and the continuing “drama” that surrounds our candidates. Whether we like it or not, this is the topic everyone wants to discuss. When it comes to this year’s election, there is a lot more shade than light. Is there some biblical advice to consider for the weeks ahead? I’d like to suggest three “P’s” for Christian politics.
First, each Christian should consider his or her priorities in this political climate. When you leave a conversation, a party, a luncheon, or the office, what will matter most? Is your witness more important to you than your political position? Do you want your candidate to win more than you want Jesus to be glorified? The answers may seem obvious, but, if the people you spoke to were judging your level of passion, what would they think? Would you rather talk about Trump or Clinton more than Jesus? Can you talk about Trump or Clinton and bring Jesus glory in the process?
This is actually an important time to witness. Our nation and government matter, and Christians should care about the election. At the same time, do we act like a president is more influential, powerful, or important than the King of Creation? Paul was teaching Timothy how to handle the Roman government when he said, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1–2). I don’t think the words “peaceful, quiet, godly and dignified” are going to apply to the political rhetoric this month. Paul would strongly “urge” us to make certain they do apply to our Christian witness amid the rhetoric.
The second point I would make is this: Who do you really believe has the most significant “power” in this world? There is no doubt that our leaders make a difference. We should vote for the people we believe are most capable to govern our country. At the same time, we need to remember that God’s power is supreme and can be trusted. I think Daniel would give us that message today. He knew what it was like to be governed by people who didn’t care about the will of God. Daniel placed his trust in God, saying, “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21).
God has all power, but he gives people the power to choose. This election, we should use the power God has given us—but understand that ultimately we can trust God to give or remove power according to his will and purpose.
Finally, we need to honestly consider our “purpose” in politics. I wait for the chance to vote for a person who understands that his or her purpose in politics is to serve. The arena can be a difficult place to maintain a Christian witness. Even as I type this blog post I wonder if there is a person reading these words who will step into the political arena with a commitment to use politics in order to serve God. That person will have a difficult time surviving in that arena unless they are fully reliant on God.
Daniel faced the lions because he knew his only purpose was to faithfully follow God. When his faithfulness landed him in the lion’s den he didn’t try to fight, he tried to stay faithful. When King Darius approached the lion’s den he called to Daniel saying, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel was able to answer, “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him” (cf. Daniel 6:20–22). Daniel knew the lions had enormous power to kill but understood that his purpose was to continue to serve God faithfully. His faith and purpose had eternal significance. Ours can too.
Most of the people I know are watching the news, the Internet, and the debates wondering how things could have come to this in our country. Our priorities are not reflected. Our power seems to have diminished. And our purpose in the political scheme seems diminished. None of that is true. Our light is most visible when the darkness invades. Is our Christian witness our number one priority? Do our words and attitudes indicate our complete trust in the power of God? Is our purpose to serve God and minister to others, even when an arena is filled with lions? God will remove kings and set up kings—and he will give wisdom to those who have understanding (Daniel 2:21).
In the meantime, God’s people need to stand with Christian priorities, trust God’s power, and fulfill the purpose God has given us to accomplish. What if God plans to raise up a Daniel in the days ahead? What if you are a Daniel? When King Darius realized that Daniel had survived the lions he gave this message to his ungodly culture:
May that be the message we send to our culture today. Amen?
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