As this post is being written, we still don’t know the official results of the U.S. presidential election. We don’t know the state of the Senate either, with two runoff elections slated to take place in Georgia in early January. But that’s not even the half of it in American politics.
More troubling than the presidential election itself is the fact that politics has infiltrated nearly every aspect of American life. We now talk about pro sports from a political perspective. Movies, television, et al are now viewed almost universally through the lens of political correctness. Even our churches have become political arenas in which to judge everything from social justice to morality.
It’s not supposed to be this way. Politics are not supposed to be the center of life. We Christians should know better. There is a time and place for politics in the Christian walk. Yes, we should be informed of the issues and vote accordingly. But we should not allow politics to dominate our lives.
If you are a Christian whose daily thoughts are dominated by politics, here are the top five reasons to do some soul-searching, change the way you think, and come up with something else (preferably spiritual) to occupy your thoughts and attitudes:
1. Politics Exist Because of Sin
“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.” (Rom. 13:3+4)
In the passage recently made famous by Christians promoting blind obedience to government, it is clear that human government exists to promote good and punish evil. That’s the reality of human government. It exists because sin exists. If there were no sin, there would be no need to promote good and punish evil.
What’s the point? Sin will always exist. Therefore, the need for human government will continue to exist until Jesus returns. Nothing will change that. Moreover, politicians are sinners like the rest of us. From now until the second coming, politicians are going to lie, cheat, steal, etc. to get what they want. Go ahead and vote, but recognize that your vote will not change human nature.
2. Politics Have Become a Spectator Sport
“Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, No; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” (I Sam. 8:19+20)
If U.S. politics ever were pure, they aren’t anymore. It’s no longer a matter of which parties and/or individuals will actually be good for the country. It’s now about which team will win. Politics in this country has become a spectator sport, and that’s not good for you or me.
In 1 Samuel, Israel decided they wanted a king so they could be like every other country. At that point, God’s people absolved themselves of personal responsibility and placed it in the hands of a ruler. When we treat our own politics like a spectator sport, we are doing much the same thing. We are joining a team. We are absolving ourselves of responsibility and placing our collective hope in the hands of politicians who only care about their team winning. They don’t actually care about what they are doing to the country.
3. Politics Are a Temporary Diversion
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6+7)
When all is said and done, both politics and human government are a temporary diversion. The only government that truly matters is the one headed by the LORD and manifested in Jesus himself. It is far more important for us to focus our hearts and minds on Him and what he wants than to get bent out of shape over politics and what the government wants. You and I will not stand before government leaders in absolute judgment. We will stand before Jesus.
4. Politics Are Naturally Corrupt
“When you sit to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before you: and put a knife to your throat, if you be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.” (Prov. 23:1-3)
President Ronald Reagan once said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
We chuckle at that quote, knowing that the government generally breaks whatever it touches. But why is that so? Because government, by its very nature, is corrupt. It is so corrupt that Solomon warned his sons to be very cautious when interacting with political leaders — and he was a king himself!
The corrupt nature of politics is such that we should be very suspicious regarding all things government. Rarely does government have the best interests of people at heart. Why would we expect otherwise? Indeed, obsessing over politics is akin to obsessing over corruption. Then we wonder why we get so bummed out when our leaders turn on us.
5. Politics Will Enslave You
“But Jesus called them to him, and said unto them, You know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but Whoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and Whoever of you will be the chiefest shall be servant of all.” (Mk. 10:42-44)
Last but not least, you will become a slave to politics if you obsess over it. In the New Testament, Jesus warned his disciples of the reality that political leaders turn the people they rule over into servants. The disciples were warned not to treat the church the same way. They were not to lord over their fellow believers, but serve them.
We couldn’t have a clearer contrast between human politics and God’s design for leadership. If we want to truly be like Jesus, we ought to be serving one another in love. That’s extremely hard to do when we see all of life through a political lens. Politics creates masters and servants. It creates enemies where they shouldn’t exist. By contrast, God’s grace makes servants of us all.
It’s easy to obsess over politics given that it has infiltrated so many aspects of life. As a Christian, don’t allow yourself to be led down a path of obsession. If you’re already obsessed, it’s time to turn off the news, stop reading the paper, get yourself off Facebook, and take any other actions necessary to get politics out of your daily thinking. Spend the time you save in pursuits that will ultimately draw you closer to God.