In every presidential election, those who cheer for a particular candidate feel like it’s closed curtains on the free world when their candidate loses. Those on the winning side feel the opposite.
Laying that aside, throughout this year’s US election, countless Christians engaged in the same level of anger, vitriolic rhetoric, and political smackdowns in which the unbelieving world engaged. There was little difference save for the words “Jesus” or “God” peppered in.
As I reflect on the kingdom of God, I believe many of us have forgotten who we are and what our citizenship entails. The kingdom to which we belong isn’t reduced to going to heaven when we die. Nor is it trying to make the world a better place by grabbing political power.
The kingdom of God is here right now (though not in fullness). It broke into this realm 2,000 years ago when Jesus of Nazareth — this world’s true Lord — began a divine insurgence. It’s a kingdom that’s not of this world, yet it’s for this world.
To both mourning Americans and celebrating Americans, I wish to remind you that no president ever brought in the kingdom. And no president ever will.
Reality check: You are part of an embassy of a radically different empire. A kingdom that’s not from this planet yet one which demands your full allegiance, total passion, and very life — something that many people (Christians even?) have given to a political party or candidate.
As ambassadors of that kingdom, we can rest assured that God has everything under control. Whether you are in abject fear or delightful relief with the newly elected president, the Lord calls us all to touch the throne on his behalf:
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (1 Tim. 2:1-3)
So wherever you stand today — don’t let your heart be troubled on the one hand, nor place your full hope in any fallen human on the other. Jesus is Lord of the world. Seek first His kingdom, which includes showing this world what the kingdom of God looks like, acts like, and feels like — especially during heated political seasons like the one we Americans have been in.
I have much more to say about the kingdom of God and will do so in the future. Stay tuned.
See also Outliers: How the Political Culture Reflects the Spiritual Culture (written in August 2015).