“The seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying: ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” –Revelation 11:15
Politics is everywhere. Whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, it has been here, it is here, it will continue to be here. Whether you are aware of it or not, politics affects your life daily, just look around. No matter how godly you are, the daily experience of your life is influenced by the politics of your community: what freedoms you have, what public services you enjoy or don’t, the economy, the laws that govern your society, the law enforcement and judiciary, the security of your environment, you name it. Politics decides everything. It was the American writer Rebecca Solnit who said, “Politics is pervasive. Everything is political and the choice to be ‘apolitical’ is usually just an endorsement of the status quo and the unexamined life.” Or take Thomas Mann, he famously said, “Everything is politics.” I agree with them. Whether you choose to participate or not the wheels of politics will keep spinning and you will live with the consequences.
When politics is mentioned, many limit it to partisan politics. It is a part of it, but politics is bigger than the ideologies or whatever common interests bind political parties together. Politics is the art or science of government. It is concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy as well as winning or holding control over a government. By that definition, those who work in the civil services of various governments where public policies are formulated and implemented are engaged in politics. What Joseph was doing in Pharaoh’s government, what Nehemiah was doing in the Government of Artaxerxes, what Daniel was doing in Babylon under different monarchs, what Ebed-Melech was doing in Babylon, all of that was politics. Why were their political careers recorded in Scripture? It is because politics never goes away and when it is our turn to politicize, we would know how to, if you will accept it, play the game.
The Owner of All Things
“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” – Psalm 24:1
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” – John 1:3
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” – Colossians 1:16
The owner of all things is God. There is nothing that was made that wasn’t made by him. All things were created for Jesus, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. There may be people in different places who are usurping his rights over all creation or who are misusing the power he has permitted them to hold in trust, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is the owner of everything everywhere, politics included. There is no record anywhere in Scripture of Jesus having surrendered his ownership of any or all things to anyone. He is still in charge.
God’s Vision for All Things
While there are kingdoms on earth that pay no allegiance to our King and His Kingdom, their end is certain: The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever! “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he saw an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. It represented different kingdoms with varying degrees of strength and weakness. A rock was cut out, not by human hands. It struck the statue and broke it to pieces and it became like chaff. The wind swept the chaff away, leaving no trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. That rock is the Kingdom of our God that he will himself set up and it will never be destroyed. As the small rock grew and filled everywhere, that is how God intends for his kingdom to grow and fill everywhere. There are snippets of how God intends to do that while the earth persists, that are scattered all over Scripture. You can see that in Moses growing up in Pharaoh’s house, learning the wisdom of the Egyptians and later being used to topple his kingdom; Joseph in Potiphar’s house and later in Pharaoh’s government; Daniel in Babylon under five different kings.
The Christian in Politics
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
The subjects of the kingdoms of this world will work to advance the courses of their kings. We cannot expect them to advance the course of our own king when they are not his subjects. First, their carnal minds are hostile to our God. For our King’s Kingdom to be advanced, His subjects must, like the stone in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, grow and fill everywhere with the knowledge of His glory like the waters cover the sea.
The problem has over the years been that when Christians get into politics, they have compromised their godly stance and yielded ground to the enemy with an attitude of, “If you can’t beat them, you join them.” The compromises have been so rampant and widespread that it has been concluded that, “Politics is a dirty game.” Who should clean it up? Can those who are dirty be trusted to suddenly clean the field? Part of the problem has been a wrong motive for delving into politics in the first place. What should be the reason for all we do, whether eating, drinking, or politicking? It is the glory of God. The glory of God is the end, the purpose, of all things. We can talk about many things that ought to be done, but at the heart of them all should be the glory of God, the advancement of his Kingdom. That is what underpins all God does; that is why he created the world; that is why he placed us here; that is why he saved us: for his glory. If that becomes what holds the Christian, his journey into politics will make a difference.
What should the believer do as he ventures into politics?
- The Glory of God: We have been commanded to do all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). That should be the guiding motive that holds the believer, not money, power, name or fame for self. The Prophet Isaiah says, “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (Isaiah 26:8). What is, or will be your own arresting desire when you venture into politics?
- Pray: Can this be said enough? Don’t be a person who goes into battle and abandons his weapons of war. We wrestle “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). That’s what Daniel used to do and was known for. When those who opposed him wanted to take him down, they found him on his knees.
- Live Above Board: We have been told many times that some of those being prosecuted for corruption are being persecuted for their Christian faith. I don’t argue against that possibility. The problem arises when they also have skeletons in their cupboards that can be used against them. When they x-rayed Daniel’s life, the opposing Babylonians who hated him for his faith couldn’t find anything with which to nail him. That’s why they went for his relationship with God. Joseph did the same in Potiphar’s house, in prison and in Pharaoh’s government. Those examples were written down for us. Emulate them.
- Shine the Light: Dear Christian, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
- Be Valiant for the Right Thing: It is amazing how the children of darkness are bold to advance their courses, even when what they push for is clearly sinful, while believers operate with timidity. Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matthew 11:12). The only way to advance the kingdom of God is by force, just look at Pharaoh before he allowed the Israelites to leave. I am not talking about violent confrontations, but a bold stance for what is godly.
- Be Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves: This command contains the two legs (wisdom as serpents and harmlessness as doves) that the Christian, who in entering into politics, is literally getting into the midst of wolves, is supposed to have. You are meant to have two feet; if you have only one, you will hop and move unsteadily. How far can you travel on one foot? Your life out there must have that balance. Jesus said, “The people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light” (Luke 16:8). Wise up. Know what the serpent knows and yet be gentle as a dove. Maintain the balance.
- Have a Support Base: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Don’t be a lone ranger, you are among wolves. The wild animals like to isolate their prey from the pack and annihilate them. One of the causes of compromise is abandoning your support base and camping with the enemy. “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Have a support base of the Church and brethren who pray for you and can counsel you. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had each other. Who do you have, both within and outside the field of politics. Don’t become suddenly unreachable to the brethren because of politics. Isolation will harm you.
A Final Word to All Christians
Enough of the Church standing by idly and only being reactionary when the deed has been done. Get registered to vote, and vote. Don’t stand by and cry after those who work hard do their work for their king and his kingdom and win. Weeping never saved any man; it will not save you now. If you feel led to contest, by all means pray, roll up your sleeves, and do the hard work of mobilizing, networking, fundraising, aligning, and contesting. Do all for the glory of God.