By Oklahoma State Representative Tom Gann (District 8)
First, you have to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This sparks the desire to love your neighbor as yourself. If that is your foundational belief, everything you do from there helps you be a good citizen. You love God, which means you seek to learn His will for your life. You learn your spiritual gifts, talents, strengths, which show you the role you play in His body, the church. As the church fulfills its role in bringing about the kingdom of God – God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven, that changes society – from the individual to the family to the schools to the marketplace to the community to the government to the media… If you are loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself, you will do everything from that motivation, which means you will serve others but speak the truth in love as Paul did, correcting wrong behavior when encountered, helping set people on a right path to learning the love of God for them (expressed in the sacrifice of Christ) so they can repeat this pattern of serving others, bringing others into the knowledge of the love of God.
Once you know what you believe and why you believe it, you need to understand your local, state, and federal government and how they work. We live in the most blessed and exceptional country ever on the face of the planet. You should be familiar with how we govern ourselves. I would suggest studying the founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers. Read about our founding fathers to understand their perspective and what they believed, why they believed and why they were willing to risk all for their freedom.
One of the best books to read about the founding of our country is “The 5000 Year Leap” by Cleon Skousen. President Ronald Reagan said every high school student should read this book in order to graduate. The founding fathers did not see liberal versus conservative but rather liberty versus tyranny.
For local governments, understand your city and county governments and school boards. Find out who your local elected officials are and get to know them. Attend meetings and become involved. Listen; ask questions; send suggestions. Many laws start at the suggestion of a citizen who sees a better way to do something or a protection that needs to be added. A good book to read about the responsibility and importance of local governments and why they protect our freedom is the book “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates: A Proper Resistance to Tyranny and a Repudiation of Unlimited Obedience to Civil Government.”
Finally, Christians make the best citizens. Romans 13 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. It instructs us that all powers in place are there by the will of God.” We are to be good citizens to bring glory to God and do good in our communities. God established three institutions, the family, the government, and the church. This shows He is interested in the affairs of men and their governments, and it is our calling and duty not to neglect our understanding of our role as a citizen in our country.