"A republic, if you can keep it." These famous words from Dr. Benjamin Franklin were both an announcement of success in the arduous task of forming a government for the newly birthed nation and the acknowledgment of the difficult challenge in maintaining it. As a citizen of the United States of America, I am grateful for those who have done their part in ensuring this great experiment in democracy has endured. This phrase has been used by political parties to warn voters of the danger supporting the opposition would bring as we are told the future of our democracy is on the ballot. However, we face a greater challenge.
Scripture clearly teaches that we are "citizens of heaven" (Phil. 3:20a, NLT), and as such, we are to conduct our lives and behave (Phil. 1:27) as those who recognize the laws of the kingdom of God. What is the challenge of this dual citizenship? It is difficult to live in a kingdom with a democratic mindset. We are used to a government of the people, for the people and by the people. A government made up of people is inherently imperfect and must be questioned. Therefore, we are in a constant struggle to try to get our way. If we cannot get our way, then at least we will have our say. This democratic mindset, while admirable as an American attribute, is completely contrary to life in the kingdom.
The kingdom of God is a government of the King, for the King and by the King. There are no elections. The King's words are commands, and heaven's laws are beyond the influence of any political interest group. He cannot be impeached, and His laws cannot be overturned. God expects my obedience and doesn't ask my opinion. That's difficult for any American. But for those who have made Jesus their King, another challenge remains. It is difficult to live in a democracy with a kingdom mindset.
What kind of government do we have? "A republic, if you can keep it." A kingdom, if you can surrender to it.
For more on this Spirit-filled topic, listen to this episode of Envoy on the Charisma Podcast Network here.
H.G. Strickland has planted churches, launched ministries and raised leaders across denominational lines for the past 25 years. In fulfilling that call, God has taken him far beyond traditional ministry and church leadership to lead charities, foundations, businesses and even train government leaders on Capitol Hill to operate in their identity and purpose. He currently serves as a founding pastor of Kingdom Life Ministries D.C., a church planted a couple of blocks from the White House.
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