Back when I started walking with God I read a book called the Jesus I Never Knew. The author Philip Yancy noted how Jesus never seemed to care much about politics but about people knowing Him. He was not interested in an earthly kingdom but a heavenly one.
And with that, I never cared about politics.
…Not that I cared for it much before that.
This year more than any other – perhaps because of social media, perhaps because of my age- politics seems to be more center stage.
Much is made about the religious right and then how you don’t need to be republican to follow Jesus… politics seems to be a big issue.
At other points many Christians have called upon others to vote – that is until the Christians voted for a candidate or policy they didn’t like…
And perhaps when things don’t seem to go right you hear people say, Jesus is King. Or God is sovereign.
And that’s true. No matter who the president is, Jesus is still King. And no matter what happens- God is sovereign.
So if God is sovereign- does that mean it doesn’t matter? We don’t need to vote or we don’t need to care?
If Jesus is King, does it matter who president is?
What are we to do?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers or to have researched this topic extensively, but here are some thoughts
- Place hope in God
- People are more important than policies (or opinions)
- Prepare yourself to make wise decisions
- Personally work to bring about change
Place your Hope in God
Jesus is King and God is sovereign. He is our Savior, our shield, our shelter, our strong tower. He is our help, our hope.
He really is the only one we can trust – in the sense of His trustworthiness, honesty & faithfulness – as well as in his ability to deliver.
Peter, addressing a group of exiles – people who were facing opposition because of the government and living in a culture that was not helping them writes this
set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Set your hope FULLY on the Coming King, on the Kingdom HE is going to establish.
If we’re honest we hope in many other things. We hope for many other things. We hope for relief from our trials. We hope in money or policies or our plans or ideas. We need to hope in Jesus and for Jesus.
He is the one we need to rely on, and look to.
This means we need to find our peace in Him and joy in Him.
And this means the thing we should be talking about most, pointing others to most, campaigning for is Christ.
There is Good News for us living in a broken world – Jesus.
This may seem like mere words, or at worst can lead to ignorance & uninvolvement. However, it is important for us to remember and constantly fix our eyes on Jesus. We need this to be foundational to who we are and how we live and act amongst others.
People are more important than policies and our opinions
We may think we know the answers, the solutions to our problems- but when we allow policies to be more important than people, we are neglecting God’s command to love others.
I’m not saying not to have opinions, but watch how we think of others or treat others.
If someone has a different opinion than you, do you seek to convince them they are wrong or to understand them?
Someone’s view on politics is a great opportunity to ask questions, to seek to understand. Why do they feel that way? Why do they want that policy?
As we consider policies, we must consider why do I want this policy? Is it to benefit simply myself or am I thinking of others?
We naturally will think about ourselves, and think what benefits me benefits others- but we are quick to assume often.
What assumptions are we making about others who hold a different opinion than myself?
Do we assume young people are lazy? Do we assume some people are greedy? Do we assume people are judgmental?
How can we love people?
I never want my opinions to become an obstacle to the Gospel or a hindrance to loving someone.
This helps also as we consider our values and our vote.
We are commanded to pray for kings and rulers. How often do we do that? We are more apt to complain about our government leaders than pray for them- even the ones we like.
Now there may be some we didn’t vote for. We may even consider them enemies of the Gospel – still we should pray for them. Jesus said to pray for our enemies. Even if we consider them enemies we need to pray for them. Pray for Christ to work in their heart, pray for them to turn to God.
More so we should pray for them as they lead our country. Since God is sovereign, they are there by His choice. They could not be in power if God did not allow it. So we should pray for them, that they have wisdom.
We should pray for wisdom ourselves as we vote as well.
God truly is sovereign, so that allows us to pray for our government. He has the power to change things. He is working things out for good beyond what we can see or understand. He may do things in our time that will utterly astound us- like He told Habakkuk or many of the other OT prophets. That does not mean God is not sovereign, that God is not good.
God truly is our only hope- so we should pray to Him to work for His glory.
Jesus said to pray Thy Kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Pray for God’s Kingdom. Pray for God’s glory.
Prepare yourself to make wise decisions
I once wrote that I not only have the right to vote but also the right to not vote. And I do think if I am not prepared, then I am not sure if I should be voting.
While I don’t think politics is the most important thing in the world, it does influence our world- so we would be wise to consider the effects of politics. We would be wise to consider different policies and different candidates.
We don’t want to just vote how someone else told us to vote. Or based on a couple sound bites. Or our upbringing. Or even just one policy.
We may not make the perfect decision, but since God is sovereign (and we hope in Him) and has given us a mind, we can use that mind to make a wise decision and trust He will do the right thing.
In the end, since we hope in Him, even if what we wanted does not come to pass, we can be content in Him. We can care for people and live in peacable ways. And we can pray for those in authority over us.
Personally work to produce change
Be the person who brings change.
We can talk a big game, but do we follow up our talk? Do we walk the walk?
We say we are pro-life- how do we demonstrate that? How do we show we value human life?
We say we love others & care for the poor- how do we demonstrate kindness? What are we giving to? How are we helping and serving others?
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, [o]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? (James 2:16)
And John tells us
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his [g]heart[h]against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (I John 3:16-18)
We say we are for traditional marriage – but what is our marriage like? How are we promoting healthy marriages?
The church used to be known as a place that took care of the poor. The Romans were astonished by how Christians took care of the needy. Christians founded places like the Red Cross of the YMCA.
The church should be a place where people feel loved and cared for and come to for advice or help, for sympathy, compassion and empathy. Is it?
Some say they don’t want government interfering with us or the church – but what are we doing? Perhaps if we were doing more to help others- the government wouldn’t need to.
Then others want the government to interfere to prevent abortion- but what are we doing to build relationships with people to care for pregnant moms? To care for abandoned kids? To love single moms? To shepherd teenagers?
Ultimately our hope is in God. Jesus is our King and our Savior. People need Jesus, then we should make it our aim to help people know Jesus by loving them, caring for them and talking much about Jesus.