Today marks the end of the most memorable election cycle in U.S. history. I’m feeling a variety of emotions as this saga draws to an end, maybe some of you can relate: I’m excited to move on to what’s next, I’m nervous for the reaction people will have to the election results, I’m surprisingly at peace with however things turn out, and finally, I’m hopeful God has good plans for us going forward as a nation. I’ve made a commitment to tune out the negativity, pessimism, fear, and disgust because, frankly, it’s not helpful to any of us. Instead of dwelling on those things, let’s focus on these helpful instructions from the Apostle Paul.
Pray for your leaders
The scriptures clearly teach us to pray for our leaders. Paul expressly tells us this in his letter to Timothy.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.”
– 1 Timothy 2
Notice that the desired result of these prayers is that we would live peaceful and quiet lives. How many of us live in anxiety and fear because of political issues? How many of us resent our leaders? How many of us incite each other to fury over policies we are passionate about? Are we living in peace? The Christians living under the leadership of Rome at this time didn’t picket the emperor. Their only recourse was to pray for him.
Submit to your leaders
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
– Romans 13
We might be tempted to think that doesn’t apply when the president, or governor is not our preferred choice for the job, but Paul is writing this at a time when there was no choice. To make matters worse, Paul wrote this portion of scripture at a time when Nero was emperor of Rome. In addition to burning Christians alive like human candles, he’s the guy who fed them to wild animals in the Coliseums. Obamacare, or illegal immigration issues pale in comparison to what these first century Christians were dealing with! I’m not suggesting we blindly follow our leaders when they violate God’s word, or lead us into actions that are expressly contrary to the ways of God, but we can spend our days hopelessly lost in debate over how and why this policy is Godless and that law is contrary to what the Bible says and miss Paul’s entire point – pray for and support your leaders.
Have Confidence in your Leaders
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.“
– Hebrews 13
It’s most likely the writer of Hebrews intended this passage to be applied to spiritual leaders, but that shouldn’t exempt us from following the same principle in regards to our civil leaders. Imagine what the president could accomplish if he/she felt like the people in our nation were actually behind him/her placing their confidence in them as God’s appointed leader. It goes both ways whether the president is Democrat, or Republican. What if Christians everywhere were known as those who respected and supported their leaders? Something tells me this would be good and it would produce a lot more fruit than the constant barrage of criticism and personal attacks!