For serious Christians facing this next election, winning is everything.
It seems like this one vote will cement the Supreme Court, setback our constitutional liberties, strain our alliances, sink us into a $20 trillion debt or even set off a nuclear world war. Anyone else feel trapped?
- vote for my political party’s candidate at the risk of abandoning my principles?
- risk losing the White House by voting my principled conscience?
- hold my nose and select between the lesser of two immoral and deeply flawed candidates?
- reduce my choice down to selecting the candidate who gives me the best chance of nominating my preferred brand of Supreme Court justices or who gives me the best chance of overturning the Roe v. Wade decision?
- close my eyes and use “The Force”?
To be accurate, winning is only ‘everything’ when it means winning hearts, not elections.
It might mean that for every minute we’re stressing and striving to win this election for our party or fighting for principle, we’re severely out of step with what God desires. God wants to help you win the respect of non-believing government leaders, not just win a debate.
The gospel changes our heart’s response to our politics, beginning at home.
There’s a reliable method for identifying any prevailing attitudes of parents: their kids. When I hear my kids criticize our presidential candidates, I am hearing my own recent attitudes reflected back to me in their cringe-inducing words. Before voting this week, I need to confess, repent and practice the grace I preach. I need to repent for loving our American politics, but loathing our American politicians — right in my home.
Christians first have to face their credibility problem.
We greatly diminish our influence when we preach the Bible but don’t practice it. When we preach love but hate our political enemies, we discredit the Gospel. When we preach that God is in control but erupt into a panic at the thought of losing an election, we project fear and distrust.
To fix this credibility crisis, we need to have an unnatural response.
When we turn exclusively to the political values dished out in 24/7 doses by FOX News, CNN, political pundits and Christian News sources (or, God forbid, from your Facebook feed) we plunge ourselves into confusion. We need the wisdom God offers in the Bible.
Living the Christian life marked with winsome godliness is more important than how I vote this Tuesday.
To describe how his people are to respond to their politicians, God uses words like ‘submit,’ ‘respect,’ ‘honor’ and ‘pray’*. We promote and protect Jesus’ reputation when we respectfully express our opinions about government officials. So when praying for our candidates:
- Ask God to help them; give them wisdom, clarity and courage while facing unprecedented scrutiny and criticism.
- Intercede on their behalf; petition God, a higher Authority, for their benefit.
- Give thanks for them; don’t just tolerate them, thank God for their life.
For serious Christians, winning this next election is everything.
So let’s pray we win something with eternal value — the soul of our candidates. Plead with God to win your candidate’s soul, not election. This is good and pleases God, who wants everyone (even politicians) to be saved and to understand the truth. Since mature Christians genuinely want and work for what God desires, they are never more gratified by winning an election than they are by winning a soul. (1 Timothy 2:3–4)
* (Titus 3:1–2, 1 Peter 2:13,14,17, Romans 13:1–7 NLT)
Here’s a couple of thoughtful articles on how to approach this unusual election season.
Authored by NCC Lead Pastor Dan Williams