Prioritize Your Heavenly Citizenship
It’s presidential-election year in America; and before you know it, you’ll be casting your ballot for the next commander-in-chief. Whatever your political persuasion, I’m sure there is one thing we can agree on: The election process seems to grow uglier every four years, and our resources for making clear choices have become untrustworthy.
The presidential debates on television quickly spiral downward into the mud of each candidate’s personal history, assiduously dug up by opposition research.
The polls that pundits depend on to take the political temperatures of Americans have become increasingly useless. The 2016 election polls gave Hillary Clinton a 70 percent chance of winning. Some predicted her chances were as high as 99 percent. They weren’t even close.
Additionally, the news media—the conduit that is supposed to communicate the candidates’ policies—has become so biased most Americans don’t trust it. Nearly 60 percent of Americans have lost faith in journalism. Even worse, politics is driving Americans apart. Family and friends can’t even discuss their convictions with one another without fighting.
As we enter this election season, which some are calling the most important of our time, we must remember that, as Christians, our faith isn’t sustained by the person who occupies the White House. Our faith is rooted in Jesus Christ, the One who sits at the right hand of the Father. This means God has given Jesus all authority and power!
The apostle Paul wrote, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1–2). Our lives should be influenced by the pattern of heaven, and a heavenly priority should occupy our earthly concerns. If you view the world through the lens of politics, you’ll always deal with anxiety and worry unless you alter your perspective.
I’m not advocating apathy toward politics. Quite the opposite. It is our right as Americans to have our voices heard and to vote according to our religious convictions. Few Christians in history have enjoyed such freedoms; so let’s put our rights to work. But we must never forget to make our citizenship in heaven our priority, where Jesus Christ, our King, is in control.
When we acknowledge where our true citizenship resides, we are empowered to be better citizens of our earthly country and to be more tolerant toward others. Tolerance is the ability or willingness to allow the existence of opinions with which we disagree. This ability is necessary for our great republic to function.
Tolerance does not mean we stifle our opinions; it means we allow other opinions. We know Christ is in control and that His truth will always rule over human opinion. That knowledge makes tolerance possible and enables us to live in confidence, rather than in fear.
King David himself dealt with both political and personal adversity, yet Israel’s famous king chose confidence over fear: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps. 27:1). When we prioritize our heavenly citizenship, no matter what the political outcome, we can say with confidence, “Whom shall I fear?”
When we recognize Christ’s authority, we can leave our local polling places with joy, not anxiety, knowing God has orchestrated the outcome.
I have learned over the years that if my political conversations reflect my joy in the Lord, people are more likely to talk about the real issues. I hope you’ll join me today, at the beginning of 2020 and before the election cycle reaches its zenith, in saying, “Lord, you are the One in control of all things, and I will set my mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” After all, He already has set His King on His holy hill (2:6), and He is the One who will rule forever and ever.