Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…
There is only one government, and it is that of King Jesus. Of its increase there shall be no end. Within this government there are certain institutions; governments with a lower case “g.” These include self-government, family government, church government and civil government. These “spheres” are institutionally separate, but are all bound ethically to God.
Every now and then we have to check ourselves, in regards to these governments, as we can become preoccupied with one sphere, to the neglect of another. For example, it is full swing political season and there are several undesirable candidates on the ballots. The Bible has much to say about civil government and Christians should speak loudly about it. However, there can become such a preoccupation with it that we lose our focus and attention in other spheres, i.e. we may find ourselves harping so constantly on politics that we are failing to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ or failing to be seasoned in our speech, or being so proactive on the “front lines” and vocal about it, that we are not seeking holiness and time with the Lord in our personal lives and relationships.
Now many may say this is a false dichotomy, but my intentions are practical and I think my proposal is to encourage and not to cause strife. All four governments have their order, balance and importance, but I just want to urge against neglecting important duties as a Christian because we are continually preoccupied with another.
For instance, I recently went though a season where I was reading lots of Rushdoony, Gary North, etc., and found myself constantly discussing politics, free markets, freedom, law, activism, etc., to the neglect of discussing much else. I then happened to pick up some Martyn Lloyd-Jones who instantly diagnosed my indolence regarding my personal walk and obedience to the Lord.
Again call it a false dichotomy, I’ll call it a simple and humble exhortation.
Fight abortion on the front lines, but simultaneously be sure you are seeking earnestly the Lord in your personal lives. Study the duties or requirements of an elder/deacon, but make sure you also study the character of an elder/deacon. Speak about the brashness of Trump’s tongue, but heed the warning in James about your own.
It helps to read a diverse array of books, books that would help you keep a balance in governments. Read the Westminster Confession, or London Baptist Confession as they address all four spheres. Too much self-government can have us so focused on our own spiritual condition that we are not active in our culture. Too much civil government can have us so focused on our culture that we neglect our own growth. Actually, if there were to be a scale, I think we should lean more toward getting our self-government in order first. There is nothing more deterring than a Christian spewing his or her political, theological or Biblical opinions, whether it is truthful or not, but doing so crudely, hypocritically, or without love.
In addition, the governments are not top down but instead bottom up, self to family to church to civil. Rise up early, seek the Lord through his word. Lead your family, love your wife and kids. Grow and serve your brothers and sisters in your church. Be active in the events of your local county or city.
Regardless, guard yourselves about being so preoccupied with one sphere at the neglect of another.
Again, maybe I am creating a false dichotomy, but if you do find yourself imbalanced and this served to stir you up, then who really cares what we call it.