The election is over. Regardless of whether your candidate won or not, it’s time now to regroup. Most of us have invested too much hope in humans and what mankind can do. We need our hearts redirected as we exit a cutthroat election season. We need to remember some things we may have forgotten:
1. We need to remember there are two kingdoms, the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God.
We have listeners and readers who are citizens of many different nations around the world. The apostle Paul was a citizen of the Roman Empire when he was spreading the gospel from city to city. It was a status that saved him from death on more than one occasion. But for Paul his identity as a Roman citizen was not what defined him. It was superseded, overruled, by his primary citizenship—his citizenship in the kingdom of God.
“Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” – Philippians 3:22
Things can be really bad in the kingdom of man; maybe you’re feeling that especially now with Election Day behind us. When Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians he was in prison for his faith. But even so, he knew the Kingdom of God was on the move, that it was unstoppable. He knew that Jesus was enthroned in heaven, and that he was exercising his authority on earth. He knew that one day Jesus would return and use his great power to finally bring everything under his control. He wanted the Philippians to know it, too, and to rejoice because of it.
Regardless of where the kingdom of man may be headed, the Kingdom of God is always headed in the right direction. It’s always moving forward in triumph. God has given Jesus all authority and he’s using it to claim people from every nation on earth and to bring them into his kingdom.
And his kingdom isn’t limited to one country or one race—it transcends them all. It’s a kingdom made up of people from every nation. It has a citizenship that spans the globe. And if we’re believers in Jesus, that’s our primary citizenship—we’re citizens of his kingdom.
2. We need to remember there’s a fundamental difference between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God.
The citizens of the Kingdom of God glorify the name of God. We praise him; we hope in him; we lift up the name of Jesus. He’s our King.
The world on the other hand has a blind spot. Jesus isn’t on the radar screen. Instead, man is on the radar screen. The world glorifies man, it rejoices in humanity, it lifts up the names of human leaders and human heroes and gives them glory, and its hopes are focused on who human beings are and what they can achieve.
As believers in a democratic society, we need to participate in elections and be part of the political process. But we also need to keep our hopes scaled down when it comes to human institutions, to not put too much stock in what can be achieved in the world through the efforts of human beings. We must instead have great hope in our God and what he’s achieving in the world. Even when governments are at their worst, the kingdom of God is advancing.
Dietrich Bonheoffer was a pastor in the German church when Hitler rose to power. He took a courageous stand when the Fuehrer idea was on the rise and he went on the radio to argue that this was an anti-Christian attitude because it put man in the place of God. When the Nazi’s ordered the National church to de-frock all Jewish pastors he helped form a separate church that refused to buckle under the new pressures. And, in the end, he was executed by the Nazis.
But before all this happened, Bonhoeffer spent a year studying theology in the United States. He had concerns about what he saw in the church here. He wrote that he feared the American church tended to put too much hope in their government. He thought we tended to over-emphasize our government-granted freedom of worship and to forget that it’s GOD who grants us our freedom to worship. He thought we were in danger of confusing the Christian cause with the cause of democracy.
Do we invest too much of our hope in our government? Have we confused the cause we’re called to champion? Do we forget that we can exercise our freedom to worship without the government’s permission because God has set us free to worship?
However thankful we may be to be citizens of a country where we can worship freely—our primary citizenship is in the kingdom of God. That’s our real freedom and the name of Christ is our real cause. We have a God-granted right to praise our God and to declare his Word, and that’s true whether the government allows it or not. That’s how Bonhoeffer lived. It’s the freedom every believer in Jesus enjoys, no matter what country we live in.
3. We need to remember that we’re called to invest our energies in the Kingdom of God.
True, we’re called to participate in the world, to vote, to be involved. But we shouldn’t think that our hopes are hanging on bringing about a fundamental change in how the world operates. They aren’t! And the fundamental man-glorifying God-ignoring attitude of the world will likely not change until Jesus comes to judge the world.
God ordains governments to serve a purpose. They can be better and they can be worse, but they can never fundamentally change the world. There’s only one way real change comes and it’s Jesus Christ. Real change comes when people turn to Christ and receive him as their Savior Lord. That’s when we become citizens of his kingdom. We’re called to be his Kingdom in the world and to be a light in the world.
Our ultimate purpose is to call people out of the world and into his Kingdom, so they can join us in worshipping him and serving him.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
As we exit this long election season and prepare for new leadership, our hearts can be freed of the obsession and perhaps even hopelessness we’ve grown up until this point. We need our hearts re-charged with this great calling—we are the light of the world, called to live in a way that people praise our Father in heaven. If your candidate won on election day, keep in perspective Jesus’ reign was there all along. If your candidate lost, remember, heaven hasn’t lost its grip on us.
The Lord reigns, let the people rejoice! Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Charles Morris serves as speaker on the radio program HAVEN Today. Most of the thoughts above are taken from related broadcasts of the program. Corum Hughes serves as editor of this blog and helps coordinate digital media for Haven Ministries. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Corum lives in Boise, ID with his wife Molly.