Many Christians are in a quandary about who to vote for in the upcoming election in the United States.
Both major party candidates are denounced for having a lack of personal character, un-American attitudes, and destructive policies. Unfortunately, one result is that Christians are mostly discussing which candidate is the lesser of two evils. But as we see our nation crumbling around us, is this really the most important choice we, as Christians, are facing?
The Choice Before Us
Maybe our choice for president is a secondary issue. What if the critical choice before us is whether we place our hope and trust in elected officials or in God to deliver us from the condition our nation is in?
American Christians have good reason to believe that neither candidate trusts in God for our nation’s future but instead trust in themselves and their ideology. We should not follow them in their folly.
Making the “right” choice in this election won’t change the direction our country is headed if, on a personal level, American Christians cannot honestly say – In God I Trust. Making the “wrong” choice won’t either.
Opportunity Is Knocking
Most Christians would probably agree that we live in evil times. In these coming months until the election, perhaps more so than ever, it is important to:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
In Ephesians chapter 5, believers are called to holy living, told to expose evil, commanded to give thanks to God in everything and encouraged to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
How do we apply Ephesians 5:15-17 to our current situation – what is the opportunity we have and what is the Lord’s will? Is the presidential election an opportunity to head off disaster by political means or is the time we are in now an opportunity to deepen our resolve to live holy lives so that our light exposes the darkness?
Since God is the one who “deposes kings and raises up others” to accomplish his purposes, then perhaps the lamentable choices we have for president are not a warning to us to head off disaster by electing the candidate with the least destructive ideology or character. The fact that our options for president are limited and unsatisfactory may be, in itself, a judgment from God and a warning to turn toward him and perhaps even a warning to be prepared spiritually to live in exile in our own land.
Priorities Matched to God’s Will
If we read our Bibles we know what the will of God is (Romans 12:2). Our priority should be to do the will of God, not to look for a political savior. Exercising our right to vote so that we can elect the lesser of two evils or cast a vote for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning has much less positive impact on our future than doing God’s will. Here are a few commands from Scripture that are particularly relevant to this discussion:
- Do not worry about your life or about what tomorrow may bring but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Matthew 6:25-34
- Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before God. Micah 6:8
- “Be imitators of God”, “live a life of love”, “find out what pleases the Lord” and “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph 5:1,2,10,11
- “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-16
- Spread the Gospel. Matthew 28:19
- Silence the talk of foolish men by doing good. 1 Peter 2:15
Born to Trouble
Our natural inclination is to bemoan our nation’s decline because we will suffer as a consequence. Our nation, our economy and our way of life are changing dramatically for the worse. However, God is more concerned about the spiritual condition of his children than their comfort. God’s will is not for us to avoid hardship at any cost. Jesus prayed that God would not remove his disciples from the world when the world persecutes them but to protect them from the evil one who would oppose their sanctification. John 17:13-20
Even if we are growing in our faith, even if sanctification and becoming like Jesus are at the top of our list of priorities, remember that men of faith such as Daniel and Ezekiel were carted off into exile when their nation was judged. Yet they were faithful witnesses.
Is the American Church ready for the challenges that lie ahead? What if our worst fears become reality? We may not be carted off to a foreign land, as were the Israelites, but we may find ourselves in a land we don’t recognize, one as godless as Babylon. Indeed, we may already be in it.
Will we praise God in the midst of suffering and persecution? Will we hold fast to our faith in the face of a fiery furnace or a lion’s den? Do we even have the courage to witness to our neighbor now?
Redeem the Time
Our time is better spent seeking God and his holiness than debating which political candidate will save us from ruin. Making the most of every opportunity to become more like Jesus is time better spent. Our time is better spent if our actions reveal to our unbelieving friends, family and neighbors that we live according to our nation’s motto – In God We Trust.
Should I Vote in the Election?
I am not saying that if either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected president that they won’t lead us into ruin. They might. That is why so many Christians are concerned. This election will have consequences. But, our future isn’t in the hands of politicians. It never has been.
As our nation becomes more like the Babylon of old, let us do what the exiles of Israel were told to do. Let’s seek the peace and prosperity of our nation (Jeremiah 29:5) and live life as normally as possible. Let’s vote prayerfully and wisely, but don’t fret over it – we cannot add a single hour to our life by doing so.
However Christians choose to vote in November, may each of us continually cast votes for God’s kingdom with our love, our light, our good works and our winsome presentation of the gospel of the Kingdom. If God be for us who can be against us?