During election years, I often wish I could drown out the endless political noise. The mudslinging, the anger, the debates barely worth watching—it’s all a bit maddening. Then, of course, one has to make a decision as to which candidate is best (although, more often than not, it feels like voting for “the lesser of two weevils”).
Don’t even get me started on the deceptive language in those propositions…
The worst part of election year, however, is watching Christians exude more passion about political problems than kingdom matters.
Don’t misunderstand: What happens in this country is important. We should care. We should vote. We should pray for our leaders. We are so blessed to be part of a country where we have the ability to influence the direction of our nation, and I am grateful to the people who have sacrificed so much to allow me and my children to live in a country of freedom. Politics stirs strong emotions within me, just like it does many of you, especially when I see deceit, corruption, or violation of the constitution.
All that being said, you and I must not forget our first allegiance is to Jesus and His Kingdom. If what we are saying or doing regarding politics is overshadowing or undermining the gospel message, we’ve got trouble with a capital T.
Are we shutting doors to the gospel because we are more vocal about our political views than our spiritual ones? Let’s make sure we are shining the light of Christ by doing the following:
Remember Who You Are.
To what or to whom is your primary allegiance?
Is it to Jesus or to self?
Is it to God or a political party?
Is it to the country or the kingdom?
Here is what the bible shares with us about who we are:
“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Philippians 3:20-21 ESV
“we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
“You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
“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. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
1 Peter 2.9-16, ESV
According to God’s word, you and I are…
- Citizens of heaven.
- Ambassadors for Christ
- Part of God’s people
- Sojourners and Exiles on the earth (we’re just a-passing through…)
I get the privilege of being an American citizen, but that does not carry the same eternal value as citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. My American citizenship could be ripped away from me if our country is ever conquered. When I die, I don’t get to take my American citizenship with me.
My purpose as a citizen and ambassador of God’s kingdom is first and foremost to draw others to the saving power of the gospel. In whatever position I find myself, my primary duty is to serve to the best of my ability with a love that imitates Jesus’ love. I am not on this earth to endorse fallible politicians or the ever-shifting platforms of a party; I am here to shine the light of God’s love into a dark world.
Let us never allow politics to hinder a lost soul from learning about God.
Check Your Speech
“Let every person be
quick to hear,
slow to speak,
slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
James 1:19-20 ESV
Applying this admonition from James is tough on any given year, but when people provoke you with their political opinions, your tongue might start bleeding from biting it.
If you want to make political statements or engage in such discussions, be respectful in your tone and logical in your reasoning. Don’t appeal to emotions or use fallible arguments. If someone can walk away from a discussion feeling as though their ideological opponent spoke to them respectfully, it can lay the groundwork for deeper and far more important conversations that have eternal consequences!
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities,
to be obedient,
to be ready for every good work,
to speak evil of no one,
to avoid quarreling,
to be gentle,
and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Titus 3:1-3 ESV
Last, but definitely not least, we’d better be praying.
Before you vote, pray for wisdom and discernment. Throughout the year, pray for the government to rule with sound judgment. If you struggle with this because you feel like our government is infested with imbeciles, just remember that Paul and Peter lived under the rule of Nero. In spite of intense persecution from their own corrupt government (including the Jewish leaders), those same apostles urged Christians to pray for their rulers. We should do likewise.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2.1-4, ESV
We cannot ignore the world we live in, nor should we neglect our duty to participate in the political process. However, we must do everything—voting, debating, working, etcetera—with our minds fixed on serving the Lord and advancing his spiritual kingdom. May the Lord guide us through this year and allow us to continue living in peace and freedom.