All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God. So those who are against the government are really against what God has commanded. And they will bring punishment on themselves. Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers; only those who do wrong fear them. Do you want to be unafraid of the rulers? Then do what is right, and they will praise you. The ruler is God’s servant to help you. But if you do wrong, then be afraid. He has the power to punish; he is God’s servant to punish those who do wrong. So you must yield to the government, not only because you might be punished, but because you know it is right.
This is also why you pay taxes. Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work. Pay everyone, then, what you owe. If you owe any kind of tax, pay it. Show respect and honor to them all. ~ Romans 13:1-6, NCV
You have heard it said that God is a God of order. The Bible clearly outlines for us that God is our ultimate, sovereign authority. It also outlines additional layers of authority. Followers of Christ are to live by Christ’s example. Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially as Christ exhibited His love for the church, which constitutes His body. Wives are to respect and support their husband’s leadership as it’s modeled after Christ (Ephesians 5:21-32). Children are to honor and obey their parents. This is a spiritual order for the family unit that is manifested in our physical lives.
However, for all of us living in the world – if you’re still breathing, you’re living in the world – our households are subject to various levels of worldly authorities. Municipal, state and federal governments, inclusive of all the laws and policies instituted by these governments, have a very real impact on our lives day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.
Some people may think the political process in the United States is foolish (I admit there are foolish aspects to the shenanigans that take place throughout any given campaign cycle), but I consider myself lucky to live in a country where I can have an impact on my government at multiple levels. If my children were not being taught well in school, I could engage the teachers, administrators and all the way up to elected officials depending on the nature and scope of the problem. If I were to be falsely arrested and charged with a crime, I would have a legal recourse against the arresting officer, the police department, the city, and even the law used to victimize me. If I don’t like the priorities of my federal government or the way government programs have been administered during any particular administration, I have the right and the option to express my displeasure with my vote in the next election. By the same token, if I appreciate the leadership of the administration, I can express my support with my vote.
It may sound wonderfully “Christian” to say, “Vote for Jesus,” but Jesus isn’t interested in your vote. He ‘s interested in those who obey the call on their life and obey His teachings. (John, 17:6, 1 Peter 1:2). Abdicating your responsibilities as a citizen is not something Jesus supports. He has already told us to get up and walk. Get up and talk. Go out and tell the world about Him and His truth. In regards to government, He told us to do whatever our government requires of us, while continuing to do what God requires of us – knowing that our duties to God trumps all other duties (Matthew 22:21). Jesus has instructed His followers to be ACTIVE participants in the world we inhabit in order to better SHOW the world who HE is.
If you think eschewing your right to vote is an expression of your “pure” beliefs, then your beliefs are not as fully formed as you think they are. Anything you believe deeply should be a part of the way you decide to vote in any election that impacts your life. Your true beliefs should never cause you to silence your voice. Those who keep silent in anything of consequence either have no real opinion, no real strength or no trust in what they profess to believe.
Make them ready for Your service through Your truth; Your teaching is truth. I have sent them into the world, just as You sent me into the world. For their sake, I am making myself ready to serve so that they can be ready for their service of the truth.
“I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As You are in Me and I am in You, I pray that they can also be one in Us. Then the world will believe that You sent me. ~ John 17:17-21