It has been interesting to note how Christians who fiercely opposed Obama before the election are promising and promoting prayers for him after the election. We have to ask ourselves where we will find the motivation to pray for someone whose election we opposed and many of whose policies we will likely oppose in the coming years. For many this will be an opportunity to heed Jesus’ command to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
John Fonville, at the Gospel-Driven Blog, has written about something that most have forgotten when it comes to how our hearts handle the election results. He reminds us that only the gospel can motivate prayers, honor, and thanksgiving for a politician whom we’re tempted to disdain and with whom we disagree:
We should pray for President-elect Barack Obama, House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. We should thank God for our leaders, respect and honor them (1 Tim. 2:1-2; Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17). These exhortations are an issue of humility and submission to authority, ultimately God’s authority (Rom. 13:1).
But, thus far in the discussions no one has zeroed in and made explicit how such humility, obedience and submission is possible. For example, there are many Christians who did not vote for Obama and while knowing God is sovereign and understanding their duty, they still struggle with their attitudes.
If struggling believers are to bring themselves to pray for, respect, honor and thank God for Barack Obama it is critical that they keep the gospel central in their thinking and affections (which for some is harder than others; sort of like being genuinely happy for someone else’s success without coveting or wishing ill-will on them when you are currently experiencing hard times).
Genuine evangelical submission, humility and obedience are impossible apart from union with Christ. And without a continual steady stream of gospel truth, no one will be empowered to give true obedience from a humble heart but rather only strained, legal compliance to the letter.
It is very important for pastors to understand, teach and remind their congregations that the only powerful and effective way to live this kind of godly life is through the gospel (i.e., a gospel-driven life).
Amen! Well said. Please read the rest of John’s thoughts here.