I’m glad the elections are over! Don’t get me wrong, I believe the exercise of our votes is the most fundamental act of a functioning democracy, and it’s a responsibility that we need to take seriously.
At the same time, a week is about as much of social media political frenzy I can handle. All of a sudden, everyone has a degree in political science. The coffeeshop political pundits come out in full force. Dubious exposé about various candidates surface, and sound bites suddenly defined a whole person’s life. Of course, elections come with its own share of funnies:
“Everyone told me to vote wisely, but I couldn’t find ‘wisely’ on my polling card.” Nandos announced, “We too have an East Coast plan… we now deliver to the East Coast!”
Jokes aside. I want to share something that’s purely my personal opinion and read of Scripture when it comes to politics.
For one thing, Jesus specifically warned us about the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod (Mark 8:15). This refers to the religious spirit and the political spirit respectively. It was a warning to us that we should not be caught up with either of these.
Ever notice how discussions about politics get heated very quickly? I know of families where political discussions are forbidden at family gatherings simply because they want to keep such gatherings civil. What is it about politics that get people so riled up?
Let me make this clear – public office taken up with a sincere desire to serve the people is noble and invaluable. There are numerous examples in the Bible of biblical personalities who took up political office and excelled in administrations that were non-Jewish.
Men such as Joseph, Daniel and Nehemiah are all examples of such. The distinctive quality about these men were that while they served under non-Jewish kings and in cultures that were not rooted in biblical morals, they never compromised on their beliefs and moral standards. Daniel refused to bow down to pagan worship, which threatened both his political career and personal safety. Should Christians decide that public office is what God is calling them into, then this would be the gold standard for them.
Take a look at our Lord Jesus. During the time of His earthly ministry, the expectations Israel had of their Messiah was that He’d be a political leader that would free Israel from the domination of the Romans. But Jesus defied their expectations. Instead of walking the road of political elevation and hobnobbing with the who’s who of society, He decided to spend His time with tax collectors and sinners.
Jesus gained no political capital by doing so. In truth, even His own disciples wanted Jesus to be political. In Acts 1:6, after the resurrection of Christ and just prior to His ascension back to the Father, the disciples were still asking the Lord about the political liberation of Israel.
Here’s a shift that we need to grasp as much as the first century believers needed to understand – the advancement of the Gospel by reaching the lost is the principal thing. These were the instructions Jesus gave us just before He ascended – receive power from the Holy Spirit and then go be a witness for Him. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to manifest through us and we need to preach the Gospel.
I believe that there’s a strong reason why the Lord has been speaking to us as a church about His power to heal the sick and to cast out demons. I believe also that this coming Wednesday evening’s session on dreams and the prophetic is critical. The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s people has always been the means through which God authenticates the preaching of Christ as our Risen Saviour. As God’s people, this is where we need to be equipped and activated.
I want to encourage us to focus on our mission as individual believers and as a church. Don’t forget that this is our primary purpose and mission. Our job is to make Christ known through works, words and wonder. In the meantime, instead of being embroiled in a heated political discussion, the command in Scripture is that we should pray for kings and all those in authority. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, we all must pray for our Government and our national leaders, so that there may be peace in Singapore.