One of the greatest mistakes among Christians today in relation to governing and politics is that many mistake them as one in the same. And when we throw our support behind a party or person who speaks “Christianese,” we often are left disappointed or disillusioned when our winner turns out to be “just another politician.”
While we are citizens of America, we must remember that our citizenship is in heaven.
As such, we are obligated to vote according to our citizenship. There are two systems at play of which even some Christians who run for public office may be unaware. And because of this unawareness, fall victim as they are sometimes caught in the tension of the two.
Let’s take the rare view of looking at these systems biblically – the system of governing and the system of politics – each representing a kingdom. The system of governing – the Kingdom of God and the system of politics – the Kingdom of Darkness (i.e., the World).
Can politicians be Christians? Of course. Can Christians be politicians? Yes. However, if they lose their perspective and begin viewing their service politically rather than biblically, it will be to their peril. The system of governing and the system of politics are more spiritual than political.
The two systems have less to do with donkeys and elephants and everything to do with the Lamb and glorifying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Governing is of God. Politics is of the god of this world. It is a worldly system and we can never beat the devil playing by his rules on his turf.
Christian public servants must always have a healthy awareness of the desperate need for Holy Spirit guidance, protection, wisdom, and discernment.
Government was established by God in Genesis 8 and is the earthly authority given by God through people and institutions to rule in order to keep society stable and orderly. In Romans 13, Paul refers to it as “a minister of good” (Romans 13:4).
Politics on the other hand, is the worldly system established by man to gain authority primarily by promoting, influencing and/or forcing acceptance of one’s own views, positions or platforms of a collective group (i.e., party) on others in order to gain control for the right not to minister, but to rule.
It is a “me first, my way” system – reflective of the one it represents.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that politicians are evil, but what I am saying is that the system of politics is. Why? Because it reflects the values of the “god of this world” – Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Though this sounds radical, it isn’t. It is biblical. And until Christians learn to filter everything through the lenses of biblical truth, particularly government in this day and age, we will until Jesus returns, continue to come up short and have lessening impact on the culture.
This is where God’s people get tripped up and will continue to get tripped up unless we take a step back and look at governing and politics the way God looks at them.
A Biblical View
Government is the earthly authority given by God through people to rule in order to keep society stable and
orderly. Would anyone say our society is stable and orderly today? Why isn’t this the case? Because politics,not governing rules the day.
We are reminded in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the father, but is from the world.”
Let’s look at politics through the lenses of 1 John 2:16. Satan’s goal from eternity past is to be like God (Isaiah 14:14). Satan, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) has been allowed by God to rule over world systems, among them, the political system.
There are three absolutes of which only God can lay claim, but ones Satan in his never-ending quest to be like God, consistently and desperately seek for himself:
1. Prestige – God is in a class all by Himself – Satan wants the prestige that is only ascribed to Holy God
2. Position – God alone is the Most High – Lucifer before the fall said he would be like the Most High
3. Power – All power of heaven and earth are in God’s hands – Satan craves and seeks absolute power
So, what does this have to do with politics? Because politics and hence politicians take on the characteristics of the god of this world system. The more believers reflect the character of the Enemy, the less we will reflect the character of God.
The three distinct absolutes mentioned above and desirous of the god of this world are the same desired by politicians who are more focused on promoting and serving self than serving people.
In relation to 1 John 2:16, it plays out like this: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh (desire for prestige) and the lust of the eyes (desire for position) and the boastful pride of life (desire for power), is not from the father, but is from the world.”
The difference between a politician and a servant is that the servant seeks to be vulnerable and humble to be used by God as a minister of good for His people. The politician seeks for him or herself prestige, position and power often at the expense of the good of the people.
Satan’s goal is to be like the Most High and he aptly uses the world systems and people (even sometimes Christians) that God has allowed him to control to never cease trying to accomplish this.
This is why it is important for God’s people as elected and appointed leaders to turn back to Him and consistently put Him
first. There can be no lasting victories using the tactics of the world, nor lasting peace.
Just as it is foolhardy to fight fire with fire and expect to extinguish it, it is just as foolhardy for Christians to take on the characteristics of the Enemy for the sake of politics and expect God to intervene and bless. He won’t do it. And we are seeing this played out in America today.
In every aspect of life, we are in the world but not of the world (John 17:16). Politics is of the god of this world. Governing is of the God of the Bible.
To govern effectively and impact the culture exponentially, we must turn back to the God of the Bible and trust Him enough to run for and serve in office His way as reflections of His glory; and then watch as He empowers us to govern and once again demonstrably impact our culture.
Dorothy Burton is the founder of Christians in Public Service and is a popular conference speaker and author of the book, Why We Fall: The Power of Self-Awareness. Follow her new Podcast, "Making Sense with Dorothy Burton" for provocative discussions on life, liberty and the pursuit of truth in culture, Christianity, public service and leadership. Contact Dorothy:
Published on Saturday, November 16, 2019 @ 1:36 PM CDT