Before I get to my answer to this question, let me begin by stating why I think we are seeing many Christians ask this question right now. It’s pretty simple: fear. There is a perception among many Christians that we (collectively) just lost. Since we lost we now wonder, what’s next? I can understand this to a certain degree. None of us like to be overwhelmed by fear. So I’ve got great news for you today: you didn’t lose!
You didn’t lose because we never had what we think we had. Put more bluntly, I don’t think America has ever been a “Christian nation,” nor is that even possible. So while the good news is that we didn’t lose I guess the bad news is that we didn’t win (even if you voted for Obama). That’s because putting the primary object of your hope into a government is a very unChristian thing to do.
Jesus stated this pretty obviously. John 18:36 tells us that “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.'”
Christians in the early church didn’t get to vote on the emperor they wanted. They would have had very little temptation to mix themselves up in the affairs of the government. For us today in America, this is one of the trickiest lines we must walk. We must support our government through prayer and proper involvement as we are able while never taking our focus off of our service to the Kingdom of God. When we slander Barack Obama and the role he plays as president we don’t do that well. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, Obama is president for four more years. Consider Paul’s words in Philippians in light of what we’ve seen and heard from Christians this week:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing,Â so that you may become blameless and pure, â€œchildren of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.â€ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16a
That doesn’t sound like us recently. Or consider Paul’s words in 1 Timothy:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all peopleâ€” 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 people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 2:1-4
Again, would that be said of Christians this week?
Many Christians feel it is their right and responsibility to run around telling the world that the sky is falling and that all Biblical prophecy in the book of Revelation (which very few Christians know how to make sense of) is coming true in our midst. It’s not. But I’ve got even more good news for you. God doesn’t need Mitt Romney in order to carry out His will. He doesn’t need President Obama for that matter either. God is still sovereign and is still in control. So if you really believe that… RELAX.
Let’s pray for our leadership and look to see how we can make the government less-needed because of the incredible role that the Church can play in our country. We can take care of the poor. We can offer people hope. We can show the world the life-altering love of Jesus Christ and the revolutionary Kingdom He is building in our midst. The really great news for Christians is that we don’t rely solely on the power of Caesar to bring change. The power of the sword will never trump the power of the cross.
As Greg Boyd has said,
“The kingdom of God is not a Christian version of the kingdom of the world. It is, rather, a holy alternative to all versions of the kingdom of the world, and everything hangs on kingdom people appreciating this uniqueness and preserving this holiness.”
So is the result of the 2012 election a sign that we have entered the end times? No. If you think America has suddenly fallen into chaos you need to travel and see more of the rest of the world. By this logic, it has been the “end times” for them for generations now. (As an aside, I’m pretty sure every generation since Jesus has concluded they were living in the end times).
While this election isn’t a trigger for Armageddon, your reaction to it is a demonstrative sign of which Kingdom you are living in.