For God…and Country

You probably already know that Tuesday is election day. I hope you are planning to exercise your constitutional right and responsibility to vote.

This election cycle has been unlike any I ever remember. I certainly believe we are at a crossroads in our nation’s history, though we probably have said that the last several elections. We are so sharply divided, and on so many sides it seems that we have lost our way. And, as all the polls continue to show, Americans at large are angry and frustrated, both with the political parties and the process as a whole, and many feel disenfranchised altogether.

I am not sure that we are going to see the kind of change we need through political means, but we are fortunate, in our country, that we still have the right to be involved in the political process, by casting our votes. Many people cynically believe their votes do not matter, and still others would say that Christians shouldn’t be involved in the political process at all.

What is our Christian responsibility, as dual citizens of heaven and earth, as we live “in the world, but not of it”?

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13 that government is ordained by God, and Christians are responsible, for conscience sake, to live as law-abiding citizens and supporters of our civic leaders. (In fact, government is one of only three institutions God has ordained: the others being the family and the church.) And remember that when Paul wrote that, he was writing to citizens of Rome living under the dictatorship of a maniacal emperor named Nero.

Paul wrote elsewhere that not only are we to obey the authorities that God has sovereignly placed over us, we are also to pray for them as well (1 Timothy 2:1-2). And the apostle Peter also wrote that Christians are to “submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men” (1 Peter 2:13-17). Jesus said that we are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). That is, we are to be influencers of our culture, and surely that includes the political world as well.

For those who do vote, I am surprised at how many people who profess faith in Christ tend to check that faith at the door when it comes to casting their votes or their involvement in other civic responsibilities. I have heard a few folks say loudly that we are not electing a pastor, but a president, as if that precludes the candidate from being a person whose life should demonstrate the Biblical virtues of morality, honesty, integrity, conviction, faith and Godly character. Without question, I believe such character traits are required of a genuine and trustworthy leader, and all the more I would hope that we would make the choice of supporting someone who fears God and seeks to follow Him–even if our choices from the two major parties are pretty slim.

I will not dare suggest in this space which candidate or even which political party I think you should vote for. I do hope your Biblically-informed Christian worldview weighs heavily on your vote, and that you will prayerfully consider whether the candidate you vote for seeks to live a life to honor God. Ultimately, that should be the goal of every Christian citizen.

More than anything, I urge each of you to pray–for yourself as you vote, for the candidates, for God’s will to be done in this election and in our nation. Truthfully, the future of our country will be decided less by our vote than by our prayer, and the greatest need of our nation in this hour is a spiritual awakening of her people. As the hymn-writer of old wrote, “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

–Pastor Ken