Politics is real. It influences our life and living from before we are born till the moments after our death; from the minute we wake up each day to the moment we go to bed. It affects our health, our homes, our jobs, our resources and our families.
But before we discuss politics and all that it represents, it is important that we revert to God’s original purpose for man.
GOD’S FIRST MANIFESTO
God owns the world. He is the Prime Minister, the monarch and the President. He has set out his manifesto in the bible and this includes issues bordering on governance, health packages, tax, youth empowerment, participation of women in politics, job creation, etc.
God created us and gave us a clear mandate to “be fruitful; and multiply; and replenish the earth; and subdue it; have dominion… over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1: 28). God’s purpose is for man to govern but we fell out of purpose. Man submitted his dominion to the devil and through the ages, God’s consistent agenda has been to re-establish His government on earth through man. He wants to restore man to the position of dominion and government as originally ordained. That was why He sent his son, Jesus. Isaiah 9:7 talks about the government of Jesus as one that will be characterized by righteousness, justice.
One thing we need to be conscious of: political entities cannot help or save anyone. They are not the savior of the world because that position has already been taken. The salvation for all mankind has already been manifested in Jesus Christ. God knew that our world needed saving long before any national government was ever founded. He demonstrated to the world that redemption could not be accomplished through the power of man, his economic strength, his military might, or his politics.
To put this in better perspective, the very many things that individual citizens could derive from the government are things that only God can provide:
- Security/protection – Psalm 91: 4-7, Prov 18: 10, Prov 3: 23-26
- Economic stability – Deut 8: 18
- Health – 3 John 1-2, Isaiah 53: 4-5
- Justice – Isaiah 9:7
- Peace of mind – John 14: 27, Leviticus 26: 6
The kingdom or government of God is righteousness and peace. Our call to government is a call to give the world back its form, bring the righteousness of God to a sinful world. We’re to bring the knowledge of God to the world. Christians are not called to preach the chapters of the bible but to daily establish the attributes of God-righteousness, integrity and excellence. We were specifically born and called as Christians for such a time as this in our country. Our purpose is to set a new agenda for governance in our nation based on the principles of God’s government (Isaiah 61).
THE DUTY OF CHRISTIANS IN POLITICS
Is it really possible not to participate in politics?
There is a quote I like, which has been credited to many people including Jim Lovell, the Astronaut on the Apollo 8 and 13 missions to the moon; Mary Kay Ash, founder of famous beauty products; Author/songwriter Carroll Bryant, among other people. “There are three categories of people in the world: people who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who wonder what happened”. Irrespective of the category under which you fall, you have still participated.
Obey – This is our first duty as Christians. We have a responsibility, even mandated by God, to be subject to authority, to obey the laws of our land and be good citizens (Romans 13:1-7)
Pray – Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4). Christians are the salt of the earth; the unseen ones whose impacts are felt by the results. (Matthew 5:13)
Act – In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus calls on his disciples to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in the world. What he means is that Christians are called to bring out the flavours and colours of God right here in our homes, universities, businesses and even in our country’s politics. By being the light, we have to actively illuminate our spheres of influence.
POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS OR ELECTIONS: THROUGH THE CHRISTIAN’S EYE
Perhaps, the real question we wish to ask might not be if Christians should get involved in politics, but if Christians should lead? The answer is clear, if Christians do not step up and be decision makers, someone else will. While we may see politics as a ‘dirty game’, remember no one has ever gotten clean by standing outside the bath tub and speaking the word to our bodies or even praying for it; it requires us to get in it, pick up the tools, and clean it.
Throughout the bible, it was established that political appointments either came from God or were allowed by God. It is God who sets up kings and deposes them. (Daniel 2:21). The biblical stories of appointment of judges, kings, priests and eventually Jesus all show that God is actively interested in governance of nations.
God places His people at different positions, even in government, to perpetuate His plans and obey His instructions. We are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. Have we ever wondered what will have happened to Gods people if Mordecai was not working in the palace of King Ahasuerus or if Esther did not become the first lady?
YOU AND I
Today, Christians are daunted by the very purpose of creation and have begun to redefine God’s agenda. We suggest that the kingdom or government God intended is in heaven not the kingdom of the world. On the contrary, God’s idea is that we establish his kingdom (righteousness, justice, peace) here as it is in the heaven.
The bible, through Paul, acknowledges the role of government in assuming authority over people, hopefully for good. The government collects taxes, keeps the peace, administers judgment, etc. How else can these be best done, if not with inspiration from God? And who else is better suited for these tasks if not people with the spirit and fear of God? Not only is politics just one area where we need to represent God here on earth, it is also a platform upon which we can carry out God’s command to give a voice to the voiceless (Proverbs 31:8) and help those in need (Ephesians 4:28).
This is a wake-up call. The world is waiting for the Christians. Our world is crying for order, for government: Order in business, in entertainment, in education, in all the dysfunctional aspects of life. It begins by you fixing what is not working around you, taking initiative, speaking up against evil, injustice and mobilizing others to do so. We have to show a better example than the world has known. In the seeming murky waters of Nigerian politics, there’s room for the Christians. Our commitment to imbibing excellence and all the attributes of God and his government will stand us out, establish our influence. Consider the story of Daniel: he was chosen for having the excellent spirit by a debauched government, he served and did not spoil himself with the king’s meat. The question for us is not whether Christians can cope in the murky waters of politics; it is whether we even show the example of what God wants in his government. It is whether we are better than the APC-PDP tribe of politicians we criticize, it is whether we are even in sync with God and understand his agenda for our nation. It’s whether we have such an excellent spirit, competence, basic honesty and all the values that God wants to see in leaders.
Proverbs 22:29 – “Seest thou a man diligent in his business. He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men”. He will not stand before kings as the waiter or butler. This passage means he will operate in the league of kings of other nations, and that can only be because he is a king himself. Success in business, at work or in politics ONLY happens when opportunity meets preparation. Joseph became Prime Minister of Egypt because there was a need in the land and he was found competent to meet the need. In similar manner, the current Vice-President-elect was chosen to serve because there was a desperate need for someone with integrity and credibility, someone with intelligence and capacity to support the structure that was being built for this country.
The real question today is “when the opportunity comes for you to serve your country in one political office or the other, will you be found competent? Will you be prepared?”