To listen to many American Christians, you would think the Constitutional rights which we hold dear are life, liberty, and the pursuit of complaining about the government.
We are blessed to live in a country in which we as citizens are responsible for electing our leaders, and I believe it is the duty of Christians who live in such a country to not only pray for their leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–3), but to vote and stay engaged in issues that matter.
But there is a danger that in our political engagement we forget two factors:
1. We are citizens of Heaven.
Let’s not get so caught up in this world and this election cycle, in particular, that we forget we are only “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). Our primary citizenship “is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
Thus, while we, as patriotic Americans, care about our nation and preserving liberty, our affections are above (Colossians 3:2), and our greatest energy on earth is invested in obeying the Great Commission of Christ (Matthew 28:19–20). There is a real danger in getting so wrapped up in politics that we fail to even share the gospel.
2. We are commanded to give thanks.
Let’s not get so caught up in what is wrong with our nation that we fail to give thanks for the good—and to be people characterized by gratitude to God. God commands us, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (2 Thessalonians 5:18).
Paul told the Philippian believers that murmuring and complaining would negate their Christian testimony: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14–15).
Yet so often our voice is heard only in an outcry against what is wrong or negative. Some are so critical of our leaders, and our current president in particular, that they can’t be grateful even for the good things he does.
For instance, in the past fourteen days, President Trump has
- Taken steps to safeguard students’ constitutionally-protected right to pray in public schools.
- Proposed rules to ensure all religious organizations are treated equally by the Federal government.
- Proclaimed a National Religious Freedom Day.
- Made the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision a National Sanctity of Human Life Day.
- Spoke at the March for Life rally (the first sitting president to have done so).
Over the past three years, President Trump has championed religious freedom in numerous ways:
- During his first year in office, President Trump signed an Executive Order upholding religious liberty and the right to engage in religious speech.
- President Trump signed an Executive Order recognizing the essential contributions of faith-based organizations and establishing the Faith and Opportunity Initiative.
- The Administration continues to unequivocally stand up for religious liberty in the courts.
- President Trump reversed the Obama-era policy that prevented the government from providing disaster relief to religious organizations.
- Last year, President Trump hosted a Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom event at the United Nations and called on the international community and business leaders to work to protect religious freedom around the world.
- The Administration has stood up for religious liberty around the world, partnering with local and faith-based organizations to provide assistance to vulnerable religious minorities.
Yet, to listen to the news, and even to the political conversations of many Christians, you would have no idea that the current President has done anything good!
To be sure, there are many challenges facing our nation—including a disintegration of morals, the advancement of ungodly agendas, and a turning to paganism. My only hope for America’s continuance as a place of freedom is if God sends a revival, and I pray daily that He will.
But meanwhile, let’s be people who see the good and give thanks for it.
Let’s give thanks, first of all to God, for the blessings of freedom and the opportunity to openly proclaim the gospel.
And let’s give thanks to our government officials too—local and national. Let’s make sure that the only time they hear from us isn’t when we are registering a complaint.
Yes, we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, but while we sojourn here, let’s be good and grateful representatives of our King.