Read 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Recently, we read here about the powerful witness of the Christian life that chooses not to grumble. Paul tells us that by choosing not to complain or argue, we “shine like stars in the universe” (Phil. 2:15). We discovered that God enables us to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit rather than normal human responses like whining and fault-finding.
Today, we identify one specific arena in which I believe God wants to heighten Christian witness and transform our complaining tendency into focused prayer. But, be careful. It is an area where the media camps out in ridicule. Emails get forwarded. Cartoons poke fun. People are rallied. If you have read today’s Bible text, you may know that I am talking about the subject of citizenship . . . your attitude towards and relationship with government and its leaders.
Do you know what the New Testament teaches about citizenship? Even though we find a couple of rare examples where God’s people concluded “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), people like Paul encourage us to:
- Submit to government as God’s servants (Rom. 13:1-5)
- Pay taxes willingly (Rom. 13:6, 7)
- Demonstrate respect and honor towards those who lead (Rom. 13:7)
- Pray for those in authority (1 Tim. 2:1, 2)
Rather than being constantly up in arms with government and its leaders, God wants us to participate in the process through voting. But it is also His desire that we “live peaceful and quiet lives” (1 Tim. 2:3) and pray “without anger and disputing.” That kind of life stands in contrast to the contentious attitude generated in our culture today.
By choosing to pray for government leaders rather than complain about them we communicate a trust in the One who stands above those visible figures. (Is. 40:22-24)