Losing Faith in the Elected

If you live in the United States, you’ve probably had enough of the political shenanigans and spite leading up to election day. Division along political lines has never been more virulent, and you may be wondering: is this the best America can do?

While it’s almost impossible not to feel somewhat discouraged and/or angry with the current political landscape, Christians must always remember one thing: God is in control. With all that’s happened in 2020, it’s easy to worry and lose focus on the sovereignty of God -- especially in light of the upcoming election. So if you’ve been feeling conflicted or worried about the leadership and future of this country, let’s take a few steps back from the social and political chaos in 2020 and look at the words of Paul from A.D. 56-57:

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” Romans 13:1

Is it really possible that this verse written nearly 2,000 years ago can still apply to us today? Even with all the political nonsense and corruption in our nation? What if we don’t agree with the person who might be elected? What if the administration’s ideas are not in line with Scripture?

Of course this verse still applies today. And it’s not a simplistic Christian virtue written during easier times. When the apostle Paul wrote these words, the Roman Empire was under the reign of Nero Germanicus, one of the most evil rulers in history. This tyrannical leader lived a life of gross and blatant sin. He’s thought to have set his own city on fire so he could build a better palace for himself. He murdered members of his own family and brutally tortured countless Christians. It was under Nero’s horrible reign that Paul was martyred for his Christian faith and message.

So while the situation in our country may look bleak, just imagine how the Christians in Rome reacted to this section of Paul’s letter while under the rule of such a vile political figure. And like those Christians in Paul’s time, we may wonder why God allows certain leaders to rise to power – questionable leaders whose conduct or objectives are unbiblical, or even evil leaders who are completely anti-God.

In our finite understanding, we don’t have all the answers. But the Bible does teach that Christians should strive to cooperate with the leaders that God has established. That doesn’t mean we must endorse all their policies or approve of every decision they make. But as long as they don't cause us to deny our faith in Christ, believers are responsible to maintain biblical righteousness in a hostile culture, while also showing respect for leadership. This may be very tough to accept at times, but the Bible does assure us that God has a plan and purpose for all things (Ephesians 1:11).

For example, in Isaiah 45:1-3 we read about Cyrus. Cyrus was a heathen Persian king, whom God appointed and granted great power. Remarkably, God moved Cyrus to free the Jews from captivity in Babylon, and even financed their efforts to rebuild the temple back in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). God’s use of Cyrus as a “shepherd” for His people illustrates the truth of Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; He guides it wherever He pleases.”

Another example -- and perhaps the most extraordinary -- is found in John 19:11. As Jesus was being questioned during His trial, He said to Pilate, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.” Here the Lord Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, affirmed that He was under the authority of a secular political figure! Pilate had been appointed to this position according to God’s sovereign plan. And in turn, God had granted this ungodly leader the authority to order the beating and crucifixion of His own Son.

This scenario hardly makes sense to us from a human standpoint, but God allowed this in line with His will and eternal plan. And it’s through Jesus’ death that we have received the greatest gift ever given (Acts 2:23-24).

So if we begin to lose hope in our situation, our leadership, and/or the future of our country, what can we do? First, remember that God is in control, and then:

Focus on prayer for our leaders.

As believers, it’s not our job to worry or yield to despair. And we shouldn’t become angry or spread hatred towards any particular political figures. Rather, we should focus our energy in prayer for God's will to be accomplished in great ways -- regardless of what administration is in office. And we should pray for peace and unity in this nation, regardless of the election’s outcome. Remember, our trust is in God, not in human politicians. We can trust God to use or change any circumstance for His glory.

Paul encouraged believers to pray for their leaders in 1 Timothy 2:2. And God even told the Israelites in exile to pray for the welfare of evil and pagan Babylon (Jeremiah 29:7)! So what are some ways we can pray for our leaders?

- Pray for their salvation.

- Pray for their minds to be open to God’s guidance.

- Pray that they will surround themselves with wise, godly advisors.

- Pray that their hearts will be convicted to make honorable decisions.

- Pray that they will promote biblical principles and unity in our nation.

Our new political leaders will impact our families, our churches, our workplaces, and our towns and nation. We should continue to pray, trusting that our sovereign God will orchestrate all circumstances for His greater glory and His eternal purpose.

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t be anxious about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

- Ron Reid

(As a footnote, we know many of our readers are not located in the USA. Praise God that He has blessed the spread of this ministry to many countries. No matter what political situation you face in your home country, you can rest assured that the message of Scripture remains the same: God is higher than any earthly authority and works all things together according to His plan.)

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