“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”(1 Timothy 2:1-7 ESV)
We should pray for our leaders—everyone knows that. We pray for presidents and governors and kings, for congressmen and mayors, and for everyone in authority over us. But Paul explains the reason why—he says, “That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” What is he talking about?
Paul’s main concern with politicians and government seems to be just one thing—that they do their job properly so the rest of us can get on with our job, which is living as followers of Jesus. And what does that mean? So many things—for example, looking out for our neighbors in any kind of trouble or need. Visiting the sick, listening to the lonely, praying for people who need help. Telling other people about Jesus, even if they don’t know Him yet. Giving our time and money, if we have any, to make the world a better place. All of these things we do because it’s what God wants us to do—“God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
This doesn’t mean that Christians can’t be involved in politics. God has called some of us to do such work, just as He has called others of us to do other things. But it does mean that we need to keep His kingdom first in our hearts, and not be distracted by anger, outrage, or ambition. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” though He is ruler of all things (John 18:36a). Certainly, He gave His life for all the people of this world, dying to make us citizens of God’s kingdom—where we will live in joy and peace under our resurrected King.
So we live in this world as Jesus did, in it but not of it. We love the people around us, including those who lead us—and we pray for them, even—maybe especially—the ones who drive us crazy. We do this because Jesus lives through us in this world. Until the day He returns visibly, we are His representatives.
How can we do this? We can only do it through the power of the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus gave His life for us, we love Him and live for Him. He comes first—before any power or party or political system, Jesus comes first.
Prayer: Dear Lord, keep my heart set on You, and live through me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on September 14, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Are you interested in politics? Why or why not?
2. Do you find it easy or difficult to love those who hold very different political opinions than you?
3. How can the Holy Spirit help you to love others regardless of politics? Name some practical ways.