Each year, on the third Monday of February, we celebrate Presidents Day to honor U.S. presidents, past and present. Instead of kings who wield absolute power for entire lifetimes, America was established as a nation ruled by the people. The government’s ability to wrest power from the people was reined in by an ingenious system of checks and balances. But what is often missed by pundits today was the expectation of our Founding Fathers, all of whom held great reverence for God and Scripture, that leaders possess a moral compass, and that virtue, justice and righteousness were essential for government not to trample on the God-given rights of the people.
George Washington warned America in his first inaugural address never to depart from its founding principles, which he clearly believed flowed from God. He declared, “the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”
Christians share the same spiritual obligation our Founding Fathers felt to express our faith in the political and public sphere. Here are three reasons why:
1. Political involvement demonstrates love for our neighbors.
Jesus told us in Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is to love God with all that we are and he went on to say that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
As Americans, we are allowed the unique opportunity to influence our laws.
Using our voice and our vote as Christians to influence the political landscape of our country is one way we can show love to our neighbor. Good laws and a well-run government are essential to produce a flourishing society. Obeying these two commandments includes seeking legislation that protects the sanctity of life, religious freedom, marriage and family, and that compassionately cares for those in need. Engaging in politics allows us to effect change and is essential for believers who love their neighbor.
2. Political involvement demonstrates reverence for God.
Paul writes in Romans 13 that Christians should respect and be subject to their governing authorities because “there is no authority except that which God has established.”
The Bible explicitly expresses an obligation to our government that is derived from God’s authority. As Americans, we are allowed the unique opportunity to influence our laws. For Christians, this means we must bring our biblical worldview to the public square. If we begin to remove ourselves from politics, this opens the door for moral decay and culture shift, inevitably changing the direction of a government that honors God.
3. Political involvement shows respect for the Bible.
2 Timothy tells us that, “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
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“Every good work” definitely includes leveraging our faith to influence politics in a way that seeks to build God’s kingdom on Earth. Believers must understand a biblical worldview speaks into every aspect of our lives, including some of today’s most controversial issues.
So, hopefully, this Presidents Day gives you an extra moment of rest but also time to reflect on — and be grateful for — how our nation’s leaders have exercised their faith while serving in government. Let their example encourage everyday citizens like you and me to let our faith impact our nation, too.