“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God…” -1 Peter 2:9-10
Politics are near the top of the unspoken list of “untouchable” topics in the church today. When it comes to discussing political viewpoints, there is a prevalent belief among Christians that you shouldn’t dare to cross THAT line. What likely started out as a well-meaning intention to keep peace and unity intact, somehow evolved into an all out ban on discussing political views. For many people, it just feels too personal. Is this complete separation of faith and politics healthy though? This kind of thinking can lead to double-mindedness, with political views conflicting with Biblical truth. Political party platforms have become a golden calf for many (Exodus 32). When your political ideology becomes more important to who you are than what God says about you, you allow your true identity to be stolen from you. Being a Democrat, Republican or an Independent (or a party in your country), is not the most important part of who you are. Do not let your political beliefs define and consume your identity! There is so much more to who you are than how you vote! Let’s open our eyes to the truth about our identity in Christ and put our political party in the back seat where it belongs.
Many people adhere to their party platform like a set of religious morals. They say, “I am pro-life” or “I am pro-choice” as if that alone states the most valuable aspect of their identity and moral character. How many of us stop to actually examine the values of the Republican or Democrat party in light of our relationship with God? Of course many of us do, but in a major election year, are we focused more on our identity as a believer in Jesus or as a believer in gun rights or climate change? There is no better time to stop and take a pause from the cacophony of political rhetoric to tap into the voice of Jesus than right now. God does not define you by your political party. Our identity is rooted not in the governmental ideologies of this world, but in his kingdom that is not of this world. The Apostle Peter exhorts us by saying, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God” (1 Peter 2:9-10). As believers in Jesus, we are not just citizens of the United States (or another country), but we are citizens of a “holy nation.” Together, every believer in Christ makes up a “chosen people” no matter what your earthly ethnicity or nationality is. Therefore, our political party affiliation here on earth cannot be the most important part of our identity. Our true identity is rooted in the kingdom of God.
What is the kingdom of God? First of all, we know that God’s kingdom is not a physical place on earth. It is present in a heavenly realm that we do not see with our physical eyes. When Pilate asked Jesus if he was the king of the Jews, “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’ ” (John 18:33,36). The scriptures also tell us that Jesus is the king of kings and the lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). This means that King Jesus has more power and authority than any other king or ruler on earth. When Jesus would illustrate what his kingdom is like, he often spoke in parables. While teaching about the immense value of finding the kingdom of God, Jesus shared these two stories: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-46). Not only does Jesus rule over all the nations of the earth, but his kingdom is so valuable, that it’s worth giving everything you have to find it. In Matthew 10:39, Jesus says, ” Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” To find our identity in the kingdom of God, we must first give our lives completely to Jesus. We must hand over our political party to him and every false thing we have placed our identity in. The good news is that when we do this, we will truly find ourselves. We will discover the life we were made for.
Of course, I am not saying that it is wrong to be a part of an earthly political party. I myself am a part of a particular party. However, we cannot place our identity in this. When we elevate our political views above who we are in God’s kingdom, it clouds our thinking. Some of us have become so consumed by our politics that we can no longer clearly hear the voice of God. Since everything we do and say flows out of what we believe about who we are, our political beliefs can cause us to stumble in discernment. The Apostle Paul said, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Some of the views of each political party are set up as arguments that oppose the Word and knowledge of God. When a tenet of our party platform sets up a value that conflicts with God’s Word, what do we do? As children of God, we must take it captive and make it obedient to Christ as Paul teaches. Especially in confusing times such as these, it is extremely important that we submit all of our politics to Jesus and listen carefully for his voice. He will affirm our identity in him and direct our steps.
When we free ourselves up to hear the voice of God clearly, we will be able to embrace our true identity in his kingdom. Since God is our loving Father and we are his beloved children, who he says we are is what’s most important (John 1:12). You are not just a liberal or conservative, but you are “God’s special possession.” Take a moment to picture in your imagination a special object that you own. What do we do with special objects? We usually take very good care of them and often put them on display for others to see. Even in the midst of all the political chaos, God is taking special care of you. He wants to polish you and put you on display. In his sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Not only are we special to God, but we are also bright shining lights in this world. He wants to put you on display to shine and show his kingdom of light to the world around you. Let go of any political views that hold you back from becoming this light the world so desperately needs to see right now. If our joy is found in our identity in Christ, then we can resist the temptation to become completely consumed by politics. Don’t let this thief rob you of your light any longer. As election day approaches in the US, let’s choose to anchor our identity in what God says about us instead of what the world says. We are a chosen people who he has called into “his wonderful light!” Let’s rise up and shine!