If I am being honest, I am ashamed to say that I have probably made at least one joke about every president who we have had at one point or another. They hold one of the most powerful positions in the world, in yet each one has his own characteristics and goals. As believers, it is important that we seek God on how to approach the concept of having a president. Today we are going to explore what does the Bible say about the president. I pray this will bring us clarity and wisdom in how to handle the variety of personalities from leaders we encounter.
What Does the Bible Say about the President?
The Bible never uses the exact word of a president since this is a more modern term and model of leadership for a country. However, Scripture does address how we should treat our leaders and those in authority.
1 Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
Notice how this verse tells us to show respect to all and love the church body. So many times politics come into the church building, and the enemy uses various opinions to divide from the core focus of the body of Christ, which is the Gospel. It is okay to have strong opinions about the way our country should be run, but when that becomes more important than the mission to share Jesus, we miss the correct priorities.
Next, we fear God first, then honor the emperor (Or in our case, the president). This verse is vital in understanding just like any relationship, we honor others and follow our leaders, but we are ultimately called to obey God. If a president asks us to sin, we are called to be obedient to the Lord first. I think of Daniel refusing to eat the meat from the palace. He took a stand for what was right rather than what the king required (Daniel 1:8).
1 Peter 2:13-14 says, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.”
The concept of a government is to help a nation to run smoothly and have order. Our God is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33). We are to follow rules and guidelines that are set up for the safety of communities and others. We are to respect those enforcing the law as well.
Romans 13:1: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
This verse gives great peace when we may not agree with the decisions of a leader. Ultimately, the Lord gave whoever is in leadership the position. This may be hard to stomach because there are many corrupt and ungodly rulers in the world, but somehow our God is using them to accomplish His purposes. He is, for reasons beyond our own knowledge, allowing them in their positions to work His greater plans. We have to trust that the Lord is sovereign.
1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Lastly, the Bible urges us to pray for our leaders and those in authority. If I am being honest, I do not pray regularly enough for our president and those in leadership over our country. I need to be crying out to God more than ever as the people in our nation are beginning to walk away from worship of the one true Lord. We need Jesus more than ever and we need to pray for our leadership.
Does the Bible Obligate Us to Follow Leaders?
Mark Altrogge from Bible Study Tools wisely shares, “No matter how much we disagree with or disapprove of our president, we must realize that God has placed him there to accomplish his own sovereign purpose, as God did with Pharaoh in Moses’ day… Since God has placed our president in office, we should speak of him respectfully, not in a dishonoring, mocking way. We should also pray for him and bless him. God commands believers to pray for our leaders and all who are in authority (1 Timothy 2:2).”
With what Mark said in mind, we are called to trust in God’s placement of leaders. We still can voice and vote for differences of opinion, but we ultimately represent Christ. We need to be respectful whether we personally like or agree with a president or not.
When Is it Biblical to Disobey Leaders and Laws?
Jason Soroski from Crosswalk shares, “As Christians, we are to live in a fine balance; standing for that which is true while seeking unity amongst ourselves whenever possible, standing firm in the faith while showing grace to those who do not, holding our leaders accountable while praying for their wisdom and well-being.”
There is a fine balance between obeying God but respecting worldly leaders. Men who are presidents will fail us because they are human. Just as I would encourage a husband or wife to not listen to their spouse but follow Jesus if the spouse was encouraging him or her to sin, we are called to obey Jesus first. If any president is modeling and encouraging us to sin, we are responsible to honor the King of Kings and Lord of Lords first and foremost. We all will not answer to the president one day; we will, however, all answer God for our decisions. People in the Bible like Daniel, Esther, David, and Jesus Himself honored those in authority, but their priority was first living for God.
It is very popular to get on the gossip train, fall into deep fear, or become argumentative of others with differing views. However, we are never called to be violent, hateful, or despair at who holds the position of president. We are asked to shine a light, trust that the Lord is in control, and be peacemakers. A peacemaker is not a peacekeeper. We should still stand up for our religious freedoms and support ideas that are biblically supported. However, we do so with peace, love, and tact.
Ways to Pray for the President Today
Maybe you have been a prayer warrior for the president? If not, let’s start today.
The Crosswalk Editorial Staff shares tips on praying for the president. “As Christians, we should lead by example and lift anyone in authority up to the Lord in prayer, supplication, and intercession. May God give our leaders wisdom and discernment as they lead, and may we continually lift them up in our prayers.”
Salvation: First of all, we can pray for our president and leaders to accept Jesus if they have not already. If a leader is not led by the Holy Spirit, there is reason to be concerned in the direction he or she is heading.
Wisdom: Pray for wisdom like that of Solomon. Leaders need to apply the knowledge that they have been given to make helpful decisions not only for themselves but for society as a whole.
Protection: Being the president is a dangerous job. He is possibly the most wanted man in all of the evil circles of the world. Pray for protection from the attacks of others and more importantly against the attacks from the enemy.
These are just a few ways in which we can daily pray for our leader. Today we can honor God by praying for the president who He allowed to be in charge. We can trust in our great Lord and that He is in control. We may not be lawmakers or government leaders, but we can be prayer warriors.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com