In this series, we are shedding light on five myths that have handicapped the church from influencing the world. When Christians understand their role in God’s kingdom here on earth, as well as how God moves and acts on their behalf in all areas of influence, we can bring Heaven’s life into every situation around us. Recently, I heard a Christian leader use the following argument as why we should not overly concern ourselves with this present life:
Myth #2 –Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world, therefore good government doesn’t really matter to God.
Fact: God wants us to have good government, and to be at peace with those around us. Where people in a community do not see the same truths, there is no harmony. Even in the bleakness of exile, God instructed His people to pray on behalf of the place where they lived because it was a benefit to them when it flourished. Likewise, Paul wrote to Timothy:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2).
Paul urged the church to pray and intercede for leadership and everyone in places of authority, so that we could live in peace and so practice holiness and godliness. To put it quite simply, God WANTS us to have good government. We can be assured of His will in this and thereby pray in faith.
*Note again, it is through prayer and intercession – spiritual weapons – that we are instructed to influence the political and cultural scene. In obedience to the Spirit, we should also take action when prompted, such as exercising our freedom in voting and other peaceful exertions of the truth of God’s laws. But the primary way we influence government, media, and every other part of society is through prayer.
I believe, as one who has been seeking His face steadfastly these last several years specifically in this realm that our current cultural devastation is largely a failure on the part of the church to recognize and stand in her role. The good news is, where there is failure, it can be redeemed.
However, what about scripture that speaks to God’s sovereignty over nations?
“He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste” (Job 12:23-25).
God uses everything – even the evil men do – to His good purposes. Certainly He has done this in my own life. However, I do not believe it was God’s will that I live in rebellion to Him; it is only by His grace that He redeemed that awful period of my life. Likewise, while I don’t believe it is God’s will for His church to be in apostasy and for lawlessness to flourish in any nation, He uses the most heinous of leaders for His purposes. Certainly World War 2 and the establishment of Israel demonstrated this.
There is also scripture that speaks of God deliberately hardening the hearts of leaders, such as Pharaoh (Exodus 9:12). Again, I believe where there is already resistance to Him, God will use this and even delay softening the heart for His ultimately good and kind purposes. However, the church is always to pray for individuals to be conformed to God’s will, and it’s always right to intercede for their salvation.
In every nation where evil has reigned in the last few decades, Christians could have simply attributed it to the Last Days and taken a passive stance on prayer for government. Had this happened, there’d be no fall of the Soviet Union, no revival in places like South Africa and Papau New Guinea, no restoring of families from East Germany to their loved ones in the West, no end to genocide in places like Uganda and Rwanda, no Great Awakenings, etc. etc.
What role will you play in the peace and preservation of humanity by obeying the scripture requirements to pray for government?