With the presidential inauguration coming up this week, we are reminded of words concerning king David which carry an important message for those in positions of power and authority today. We know that "...there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God ... For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil" (Romans 13:1 & 3). It is important that we understand that whether we like or dislike our civil authorities (either personally or politically), they nevertheless occupy their positions because our God allows it. Thus, Paul wrote "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers" (Romans 13:1), and Peter tells us to "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lordís sake" (1 Peter 2:13). Civil governments should not be enemies of Godís people, but allies. If and when men abuse the authority entrusted to them, however, using positions of power and influence to encourage evil, we have a responsibility as children of God to cry out against their conduct. God desires the salvation of a congressmanís or presidentís soul as much as He does the soul of a ditch-digger. Heaven gives a definition of "just" rulership in 2 Samuel 23:3; the just ruler rules "in the fear of God." Such a ruler will be blessed by God and loved by his subjects.
In our great land, we enjoy a rare privilege in choosing our leaders. In exercising this privilege, we should use judgement tempered by biblical values, trying to select those whose values most nearly reflect the standards of Christ. Because people who do NOT hold Christian values also have a say in picking our leaders, we sometimes end up with leaders who are antagonistic to godly, holy principles. Thus it falls to us as Christians to do at least three things in dealing with our leaders:
First, let us PRAY for them (1 Tim. 2:1 -2). It is NOT inappropriate for us to pray that our leaders will have the courage to "betray" those who elected them, IF they were elected to do things which are wrong in the sight of God! (This is otherwise known as repentance and conversion.) Offering rich sacrifices taken from the flocks of the Amalekites may have been popular for Saul, but the prophet Samuelís words of rebuke still ring clear through the ages; "to obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:21-22). Just so, abortion, homosexual conduct, gambling, and a host of other sins may be popular with the electorate, but we need to pray that our leaders will rule "justly" in GODíS sight instead!
A second thing we can do, as children of light, is to ENCOURAGE our elected officials to make decisions based on biblical standards of morality. Since we have the privilege of a voice in our own governance, we also have the RESPONSIBILITY to speak up for GOD! Challenging our civil leaders (to do right) is not unholy behavior, but a legitimate opposition and outcry against unrighteous rulership. Consider the good effect saints could have on the governing of our nation if we spoke out as persistently and loudly FOR God and good as do the "lobbies for licentiousness!" In seeking to "lead the leaders" to righteous decisions, we may also lead them to the salvation of their own souls, as well; such was certainly the aim of Paul in Acts 24:25 and 26:28-29!
A third thing Christians can do to help our rulers rule justly (in ways which please GOD) is to PRAISE them when they make godly decisions! Everyone appreciates praise (Proverbs 25:11), and our civil leaders will surely be more inclined toward doing what is right in Godís sight when they know they will be supported and encouraged in it.
We can have a profound effect on the world about us, if we will do what it takes; our leaders can be "as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds" with the help, encouragement, and guidance of Godís people to aid them in the right way. Letís follow the Lordís instruction in Matthew 5:16, and MAKE OURSELVES FELT (in a good way)!