In a few short days we will have the opportunity to vote for men and women to serve in local, state, and federal government. In this election cycle the presidential race has gotten most of the attention; mainly because the major party candidates running are disliked by a large number of Americans. It’s particularly difficult for many who, for the first time in their lives, are working through their vote by asking, “Who will do the least amount of harm,” instead of, “Who will do the most good.” Whether this is your first or thirtieth time voting for a president, whether you can’t wait to vote or can’t wait for elections to be over, here are a few things that each of us, particularly Christians, should do on November 7.
Christians should be the best citizens they can be no matter what country they live in. Yes, there are times when faith in Scripture will lead is in a different direction than our government. However, Christians should gladly follow when government leads in a direction that accords with Scripture. We do, after all, have a biblical mandate to submit to governing authorities (Romans 13:1). In our country the government invites us to vote. There’s nothing unbiblical about voting for government officials, so every Christian should gladly vote this November. If you’re struggling with this one remember why Paul tells us to submit to government in Romans 13:1. “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” So, be a good citizen this November and vote because it makes our Father happy when we listen to and obey him.
Be an informed voter
I believe God would have us not just vote, but cast an informed vote. I make it a point never to vote for candidates unless I’ve first had the opportunity to see what they stand for. I do that because that’s what good citizens should do, and because there is great wisdom in knowing who you’re voting for. Read a few chapters of Proverbs and you’ll quickly find that God wants all of our actions to be marked with wisdom. To help you be an informed voter, HERE’S a link where you can find a sample ballot for your county and city. Look up each candidate, do some research, and be a wise voter.
Let your beliefs determine your vote
It drives me crazy when people say that religious belief has no place in elections. Nothing could be more foolish. Every person who votes does so according to their beliefs. What you believe about how government should work, how money should be spent or saved, what foreign policy should be, and where you stand on social issues help determine your vote. It’s plain stupid to say that anyone should check their beliefs at the door when they vote! That’s doubly true for Christians. Your belief in the Bible affects every square inch of your life, including your vote. Don’t check your scriptural beliefs at the door this November. Take them with you to the voting booth and let them be a determining factor in your vote.
Vote like it matters, worry like it doesn’t
Yes, voting matters, but not as much as God’s sovereign rule. In fact, God is sovereign over every election our country has or will ever have. That’s right, even ‘bad’ presidents were put there by God. Don’t believe me? Listen to God:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.(Romans 13:1 ESV)[God] changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings. (Daniel 2:21 ESV)
Jesus answered [Pilate], “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19:11 ESV)
Yes, voting matters. It matters because it is a choice and because as good citizens we can glorify God by voting. BUT, an election is nothing to worry about. No matter who wins an election, God is sovreignly and providentailly bring it about. I know that’s hard to square with our point of view, particularly when we see leaders doing evil things. But no matter our feelings, the truth is every ruler in the history of the world was set up and taken down by God–on God’s time table for God’s good purpose. Maybe a good way to sum this point up is by encouraging you not to let worldly fear drive your vote. Most of us encounter another would be prophet predicting the future, a fearful one at that, around nearly every corner. Don’t let that fear drive you. Instead, let the fear of God drive you. Vote in a way that you could happily say to God, “I voted this way because you are more important to me that anything else. More important than the opinions of others, more important than my comfort, more important than my personal opinions.”
Remember, there is a reality far greater than, “who’s going to win in November.” God has a worldwide rescue mission through Jesus. Everything, even elections, fit into that plan somehow. So vote this November like it matters, fully informed, guided by the truths of Scripture. But don’t lose sleep over it! God is doing exactly what he wants, when he wants.