Voting for the King
Can you check “none of the above” on the ballot? Just days away from the strangest presidential election in modern memory, many Americans find themselves in the uneasy position of supporting neither candidate.
This raises the question once more of how Christians should relate to their government. Here are a few things to remember:
1. We have an obligation to respect our leaders. The apostle Paul said, “Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” (Romans 12:7, NLT)
This means that even when we disagree with our President…or Congress…or State Legislators, we have a duty to extend to them a measure of honor because of their position. We may freely disagree with them and openly express that (a privilege of living in our nation), but we should always do so respectfully. And we should pay our taxes.
2. Our leaders were placed in their positions by God. The apostle Paul also said, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.” (Romans 13:1-2, NLT)
This concept is especially difficult for those of us who live in modern democracies where the people vote for their leaders. How can God appoint a leader when the people are responsible for voting that person into office? But consider the time period when Paul wrote these words. It was a time when men would often gain power through military prowess, political intrigue, and good old-fashioned bribery. And yet God is able to work through the endless details of life to accomplish His grand purposes in history. Even in a democracy.
3. Jesus is still the King of Kings. The highest authority in our land is not the President. The highest authority will always be our God. In Acts 4:13-31, there’s a very revealing conversation between the Jewish political leaders (who hated Jesus) and two of the apostles, Peter and John. The Jewish political leaders commanded these two men to stop teaching people about Jesus. Peter and John refused (respectfully, of course). Here’s what they said: “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
In other words, Jesus is a higher authority than any of our political leaders. That’s why He’s given the title “King of kings” (1 Timothy 6:15). He deserves our complete and unwavering allegiance. And if (or when) the government expects otherwise, we must still obey the King of kings.
As voters, we’ve been forced into an awkward position this November. I’m fairly certain my ballot won’t give me an option to vote for Jesus, and yet He’s the one I want to rule our nation. Until that time, we simply wait and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”