I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior on January 25, 1945. I was 11 years old. I was brought up in a home where my mother lived her testimony and saw to it that children regularly attended church services. In the living room of our not-so-cozy farm home we would gather around the warm air register to be comfortable. There, I told my mother I wanted to be saved. My mother related the plan of salvation. I retired to my bedroom without an immediate decision. I returned to my mother that same evening and told her my decision to accept Christ.
Since that time, my faith has grown and matured, but my relationship with Jesus Christ has remained the foundation for my world view and my value system. II Corinthians 5:20 talks about how, as Christians, we are called to be “ambassadors for Christ.” That requires constantly striving to follow the example of Christ in everything we do. Of course, that includes my role as an elected official. To the extent that I can become more Christ-like, I will be a better person and a better senator. That requires regular study of the Bible and prayer. I try to make this a priority in my day.
My faith is central to who I am, whether that’s in my private life or my public life. I wouldn’t know how to separate Chuck Grassley the U.S. Senator from Chuck Grassley the Christian even if I wanted to, and it would make me a poor ambassador for Christ if I tried to hide my faith: “nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matthew 5:15).
Sometimes public officials who talk openly about their Christian faith are accused of hubris, of harboring a conceit that all their actions are blessed by God. On the contrary, being a Christian necessarily entails humility. Jesus said, “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Walking the corridors of power in our nation’s capital, it is easy to get a big head. To be an effective representative of the people who elected us, this is a temptation those of us in elected office must resist. As it says in Proverbs 18:12, “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor.”
I try to stay grounded in part by soliciting unfiltered input from Iowans any way I can. This includes my 99 county tour every year to meet Iowans face to face where they live. I get a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, about how Iowans feel I am doing my job as their senator. Another way to stay grounded is through prayer. Being a Christian requires surrendering your life to the will of the Lord. Regular prayer helps to maintain that important perspective.
Being a Christian means that you have acknowledged that you are a sinner and there is nothing you can do to redeem yourself. As Paul reminds us in Romans 3:23-24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
It is important for anyone in a position of power to remember this truth when making decisions that can have a big effect on the lives of Americans. Those of us in government need to be mindful that we are far from perfect and don’t have all the answers. “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3). Washington could use more humility, both for individuals who work in government to understand their personal limitations, and on a collective basis to understand the limits of what a government run by flawed men and women can do.
Finally, everyone who serves at any level of government has need of your prayers for God’s guidance. I ask that you pray for me and for everyone who serves in government. When speaking with fellow Christians, I often point to I Timothy 2:1-4: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”