In light of what I wrote in an earlier post on this subject, how then should we live as Christian citizens?
1. Trust in God, Not in Government
First of all, we as Christians should put our faith in God, not in government. Our nation’s motto is “In God We Trust” but we seem to be turning from God. Today people have misplaced faith, putting too much faith in government to solve all our problems, and not enough in God. God said through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:5b, NRSV):
Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the LORD.
Similarly, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah when he said (Isaiah 31:1):
How terrible it will be for those people who go down to Egypt for help. They think horses will save them. They think their many chariots and strong horsemen will save them. But they don’t [put their] trust God, the Holy One of Israel, or ask the Lord for help. NCV
For example, Matthew was a tax collector until called by Jesus, who transformed him. Matthew gave up his dependency on the government and put his complete trust in Jesus, without reservation. Zaccheus was a tax collector in Jericho, who repented when Jesus spoke with him, immediately giving up his evil ways. So let us trust in God, not in government, not our job, or anything else.
2. Be Good Citizens
Second, as Christians we are to be good citizens, pay our taxes, obey the law, and show respect to our rulers, which Paul said in Romans 13:5-7, NCV):
So you must yield to the government, not only because you might be punished, but because you know it is right. This is also why you pay taxes. Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work. Pay everyone, then, what you owe. If you owe any kind of tax, pay it. Show respect and honor to them all.
We should pray for our leaders, as the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy and us in 1 Timothy 2:1b-2, NRSV):
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.
We should also pray for our country, that this nation will be led by godly wisdom and not by human wisdom, as we read in Psalm 33:10-12:
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage. NRSV
3. Be Involved Citizens
Third, we have a right and a duty to speak out on practices and government policies that we feel are immoral, unjust, oppressive, or just plain wrong. We as Christians have a special responsibility, and we can make a difference. One Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, almost single-handedly managed to have the British slave trade ended. It took most of his lifetime, he took a lot of abuse, but he persisted and with the help of God was finally victorious in banning that terrible practice.
So vote in every election, stay informed, and let your representatives know where you stand on issues. Nothing is going to happen unless we make our politicians accountable. We have a government that is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. But if the people don’t participate, then it becomes a government of the special interests, by the special interests, and for the special interests. The kind of government we get is up to us.
In conclusion, we must never put anything ahead of God, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we are expected to be good citizens as I just described. So let us be shining examples of what it means to be Christians in America, seeking peace, justice, and a moral society.
We as a nation have been blessed by God with the best form of government ever devised, with abundant natural resources, and a godly heritage. Even with all of our problems – and there are many – the dream of people from all over the world is to come to the United States. Despite its shortcomings, it is still the best place in the world to live.
However, let us do everything we can to prevent this country from going down the wrong paths that we seem to be following. Wrong paths that deny our godly heritage, continue to squander our resources, and lead us towards an immoral, unethical, and unjust society.