In the United States we now have the 45th president in our history. In the eyes of many citizens, this 45th president can do little wrong. To many others, he is considered an illegitimate usurper to the position.
Those who support the president call on the others to demonstrate their patriotism by following where he leads. Those who are contrary to the president consider it their patriotic duty to oppose him wherever they are able.
What is interesting is that when the 44th president was in the White House, many on each side flipped their scripts to what their opponents now declare. Surely as Christians there has to be a way of being a citizen that would have applied to the past president as well as to the new president.
This is the way I want to explore. Thankfully, the Lord provides counsel to his children on how we are to relate to those in authority over us. We may differ on some issues and details, but these are the steps I plan to take with President Trump. These are also the steps I tried to follow when President Obama was in office.
1. Remember to Pray for the President
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
–1 Timothy 2:1-2
Our prayers should be that the president leads in a manner that allows us to lead a peaceful, quiet, godly, and dignified life. You may also peruse the book of Proverbs and pray for the things that the Lord says about how he regards kings and leaders.
2. Remember our Pilgrim Status
Our ultimate allegiance is not to the United States, her president, or any earthly power. Our primary devotion is to the Lord. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We are citizens, first and foremost, of his kingdom.
When the authorities ordered Peter and John not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, Peter responded with these words that identify a Christian’s chief authority.
Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heart.
Later in life Peter admonished the church “as strangers and pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11, KJV)” to abstain from fleshly passions and to have an honorable conduct.
US Presidents may sit in office for 4 or 8 years. As a Christian, our Lord sits on his throne and will reign forever. We should live as if we are only passing through this world and this country.
3. Remember the Will of God
Peter also reminded us that we are to be subject to our leaders. This subjection does not mean that we are to violate our Christian conscience. Peter has already addressed that in Acts 4. However read carefully the words he did leave for us.
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God…
–1 Peter 2:13-15
Keep in mind that Peter wrote this about and during the time of the Roman emperors. One of these would soon sanction Peter’s execution. Yet he still was an earthly subject to that emperor.
4. Remember the Prophetic Ministry
Being subject to earthly leaders does not mean that we are to buy everything they are selling. John the Baptist provided the example of being a prophet before an ungodly ruler.
John had been saying to Herod, “it is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herod had stolen his brother’s wife and John confronted him about it. Keep in mind that this prophetic ministry may come with a high price tag. Herod had John imprisoned. Then through the scheming of his illegitimate wife, Herod had John beheaded.
I tremble when I hear “Christian” leaders attempting to silence men who carry out this ministry because they fear not having a seat at the king’s table. John the Baptist had his head placed on a platter on that table. He didn’t strive for a seat.
In summary, pray for the president. Live as a pilgrim with an ultimate allegiance to the Lord of Lords. Live on earth in subjection to the earthly leaders since this is God’s will. Speak a prophetic word when our leaders act or lead in unrighteousness.
This will be pleasing to the Lord.