Two weeks ago I wrote these lines :
“Here is my thinking: The Kingdom of God changes the way we think about everything or at least it should. It should change the way I think about my multiple sclerosis, my possessions, my relationships, my anxieties, my citizenship, and my enemies. The list goes on and on.”
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to practice my own words. I listened to a radio news report on how the presidential campaign in the United States is getting cranked up (for an election that is still 16 months away!).
As part of the report, I heard one of the candidates and found myself filled with negative attitudes and dreading what is ahead. These long, seemingly tortuous American presidential campaigns have a way of wearing us out. While I think the Brits, with their short campaigns, do it better, that is not really what I am writing about.
What I want to say is that I had a mind change. I decided in that moment that I would not do what I am tempted to do (and what Americans are good at doing) and that is complain about the whole process, and especially some of the candidates. I have it on good – as in biblical – authority that God has nowhere asked me to do that. Instead he had Paul tell us this:
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Seems to me there is a big principle that I need to get. (And maybe I should say, get again). Instead of complaining about government, I need to pray for those in government. Sure legalism could ask if we have to pray even for candidates, but that would seem to miss the point. If one of these people is going to become President then why shouldn’t I start praying for them right now?I have some strong convictions about the difference between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world. They cause me to take certain stands. But one thing those convictions don’t allow me to do is to neglect my responsibility to pray for those who are in authority or seek to be in authority. And that is a mind change I want to ask you to hold me to.
It is, as God’s will always is, quite liberating!