What is wrong with America? Have you been wondering that? As another election approaches, many Christians are concerned about the direction that America is heading, and we should be. But sometimes we get confused about what America really needs. We think that if we can just vote the right political leaders into office, they will get our country on track. I need to tell you that politicians are not going to save our country.
Don’t get me wrong. As Christians we should take our responsibility to vote seriously. We should vote in the leaders who most closely reflect Biblical values on abortion, marriage and many other issues. But even good laws on those issues will not save our country.
You see, we trust in the wrong solution, because we forget what the real problem is. America does have political problems, but it has a much bigger problem than politics. America has a spiritual problem. The solution to its spiritual problem is not a changed government but changed hearts. In 1 Timothy 2, God gives an interesting command about how Christians should relate to the government.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
What does God command “first of all.” He commands that we pray for our government leaders. This includes the leaders that we disagree with. It includes the leaders that we didn’t vote for. When God inspired the Apostle Paul to write these verses, there were some awful government leaders in power, but God told Christians to pray for them.
Why does God want us to pray for our leaders? So “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Good government leaders make it easier for us to live in this way. I’m afraid that “peaceful” does not describe most of our political conversations online or in person. Let’s focus on having those conversations in a way that is “pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.”
Then notice what it says that God desires! Is God’s desire that the government would be reformed and that Christians would have perfect freedom? That is not what it says. Sometimes that is God’s plan, but sometimes God decides to put terrible governments in power (Romans 13:1). Just look at China and North Korea. More than political change, it says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Remember, the solution to America’s spiritual problem is not changed politics but changed hearts. And it is our hearts as Christians that need to change first. What if American Christians stopped worrying so much about politics? What if we worried more about people in our communities who are not following Jesus? What if we really did pray “for all people?” What if we actually believed that Jesus can save anyone? Then we would begin to see true change in our nation.