On January 20, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Celebrations lasted from January 17-21. They included concerts, balls, a parade, a prayer service, and a wreath-laying ceremony. The inauguration’s theme was “Uniquely American.” In his address, President Trump promised to put America first.
But not all were celebrating. Several performers declined invitations to perform at the inauguration. Nearly 70 Democratic Representatives refused to attend. And over 200 protesters were arrested for acts of vandalism during the ceremonies.
America is a fickle nation. Our attitude toward the President tends to change during his term. President Trump stood upon a solid base of supporters and voters during his campaign. Yet we can expect many to begin criticizing him over the next few months. Even Christians feel entitled to slander the President.
This is to our shame. The Bible expects us to have a godly attitude toward the government. The ungodly attitude of many Christians has eroded our influence in America. We must understand that our attitude toward the President is part of our discipleship to Jesus.
A Biblical Attitude
Paul explains how we ought to relate to the government: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1). Government is a God-ordained institution. We honor Him by placing ourselves under their authority.
Paul continues, “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13:6-7). It displeases God when we disrespect the President. He expects us to honor and appreciate the leaders of our nation.
He also wants us to pray for them. Paul asks “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made…for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We ought to pray for President Trump and ask God to give him discernment to lead our nation wisely.
There are exceptions, however. There are things God has not granted to worldly governments. One is obedience to them above obedience to Him. The government can’t ask us to break God’s laws. If they do, it is appropriate for us to disobey. This is especially true if they are hindering the work of the gospel (Acts 5:29).
Neither can the government demand our worship. The Roman emperors required their subjects to worship them, and the early church rightly refused. North Korean Christians are in the same situation today.
Why It Matters
Your attitude toward the President matters. In fact, it is an important part of your discipleship. Jesus calls us “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). He wants us to sanctify our country by seasoning and illuminating it with the gospel.
It is vital that we regain our influence over America. Our nation needs us to be its conscience and pray on its behalf. But we will not regain an ounce of influence while harboring an ungodly attitude toward the government. Do you honestly think people will respect us if we refuse to respect the President?
How can we respect and submit to the President while evaluating his policies and actions in light of God’s Word? Leave your thoughts with a comment below!
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