The word “politics” conjures up all kinds of bad things. In our culture we often use the word “politics” in a pejorative way. For example, many times we’ll say something like, “Well, that’s just politics,” implying that the issue is a secondary concern rather than a primary concern. Or sometimes the charge is hurled at pastors and churches that they are too involved in politics. And what we mean is: we think they have forsaken their primary calling for issues that have nothing to do with the kingdom of God. And woe to the person who chooses politics as his life’s calling. In our culture politicians have less respect than televangelists, armed robbers, and drug dealers. We think that is the ultimate low point—to be a politician.
Now, it’s easy to see why “politics” has become such a nasty word in our culture. The mudslinging that accompanies most elections, the pandering to special-interest groups, and the tendency to allow policies to be shaped by polls rather than principles make politics and politicians suspect. Such realities also cause many Christians to question whether or not we as individuals or together as a group at a church ought to be involved in the tawdry business of politics.
However, politics is simply the art of governing. Politics is about government. So to say that a Christian should not be involved in politics is really to say that Christians have no business being involved in government. Do you believe that? Do you believe that Christians should have nothing to do with our government?
Some people do actually believe that. They argue that since our citizenship is in heaven and we are strangers and aliens in this world, then Christians ought to leave the business of governing up to unbelievers. After all, they say, this world is going to be destroyed one day by fire (2 Peter 3:10). Why should we spend time worrying about the affairs of this world if our efforts are going to be transitory at best? The simple answer is that God has commanded us to be salt in this world (Matthew 5:13). Salt is a preservative. Salt doesn’t prevent decay, but it does slow down the process of decay. Just as salt has to be pressed up against meat to influence, or to slow down the rot of, the meat, so if we are going to influence our culture we have to have contact with our culture—and that means to have contact with our government.
Politics is about the art of governing, and governing has to do with either controlling, directing, or influencing the behavior of other people. So when you ask the question, “Should Christians be involved in politics?” what you’re really asking is this: “Should Christians be involved in controlling, directing, or influencing the behavior of other people?” That is the real question.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How a Christian Should Vote ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.