Don't Put Your Hope in Princes

Author: Julie Simpson
November 11, 2020

Election day has come and gone. We’ve gotten some results, whether you think they’re legitimate or not, about who will most likely be our next president. Some of us are disappointed, frustrated, or afraid, while others are hopeful about the next 4-8 years. 

Every time a big political event happens, we are tempted to put all our hopes and dreams for a good future in the hands of our political party. When our candidate loses, we fear the worst. When our candidate wins, we are hopeful for a while, only to be disappointed at the lack of any real change. And in 4-8 years, a person from the opposite party is elected and undoes most of the miniscule change that was accomplished anyway.

The failure of politics and government to affect any real progress leaves many disillusioned and cynical about the possibility of a better world in the future. As well it should, because worldly politics rest on worldly men and women. Sinful, broken hearts create a sinful, broken system.

But church: we don’t have to put our hopes in worldly princes. 

A Better Citizenship

 

Christian hope for good government is a good and natural thing. We want the Kingdom of God to be seen here on Earth, for the equality, justice, and thriving of all people. We long for an end of injustice, suffering, poverty, hunger, and hatred. This is the heart of God in us. 

It is also rational to believe that as Christians, it is our civic duty as members of an earthly nation to vote for the people and things we believe will best bring about justice, peace, and prosperity in our country. We should participate as citizens and render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. 

But we must not forget that our primary citizenship does not reside in this temporary nation state. As Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:20, “we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.” That means that no matter who is in the seat of power in our country, our dedication, service, and focus should not be in building up this kingdom, but in working for the Kingdom of Heaven. 

A Better Hope

 

Not only does this reprioritize our allegiances, it redefines our hope. Even if our party is in power, they will never be our saviors: “…we are eagerly waiting for him [Jesus] to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control." (Philippians 3:20-21)

That is our true hope: not that some ruler or government will manage to overcome the brokenness of the world and bring about utopia, but that Jesus will come and root out brokenness at the very source -- our own weak and sinful selves. No one can bring about paradise when we are not worthy of it or ready for it. Our hope is that we will be remade for it, so that our sin won’t ruin everything like it did in the Garden. 

The same power He uses to remake us will “bring everything under his control.” He is the only perfect one, and we have hope that one day He will bring His perfect rule to earthly governance.

But you argue: so now what? Do we stick our heads in the spiritual sand and ignore the realities of the politics around us? No. We aren’t called to wait around with our doors locked and eyes closed to the world in which we’ve been placed. Rather, because our primary citizenship is to a Kingdom that will never spoil or fade and is one day coming in glory, we can work as servants of our King without cynicism or disillusionment or discouragement.

What does this Kingdom look like? It looks like striving for unity in the church and the Church, recognizing your common allegiance with your brothers and sisters above and beyond political leanings. It looks like loving your neighbor, showing up to meet their needs regardless of the sign they had in their yard. It looks like telling everyone you know, though your actions and your words, about the hope you have, the only true hope that they, too, can have in Jesus.

A truly good future is coming. Not in the election of a specific party, not even in the continued thriving of our particular nation, but in the ruling of a perfect King. And if our allegiance is with Him, let’s work with diligence and joy in the assurance of our citizenship in His Kingdom that never changes, never fades, and will not fail to come. 



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