Some Thoughts on Election Day

Today I exercised my constitutional right to vote for the President of United States. I voted my conscience and feel at peace about my decision. I hope you did the same.

The reality is not every candidate will win. Some will. Some won’t. The question is—how are we going to respond? That’s what I want to address.

As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. In other words, we are His representatives on this earth. So, no matter who wins or loses, let’s keep our heads on straight and try to remember our first loyalty is to the gospel, not a political party, specific candidate, or isolated issue.

Jesus lived at a time when Israel was under the control of Rome and a majority of the Jews desired autonomy and freedom. Jesus did not promote an antigovernment stance, nor did He hitch His wagon behind political agendas. He rose above the political tensions of His day, focusing on the Kingdom of God by touching individual lives rather than seeking to win the game of politics and power.

People of Jesus’ day were looking for a military/political Messiah—one who would bring freedom to the nation of Israel and establish their dominance as a world power. But Jesus did not embrace such an agenda. Those who rejected His message thought they won when He died. Those who followed Jesus thought they lost. But three days later, Christ rose again, and the Church was born.

After Jesus’ resurrection, the Church was able to take the good news and transform the Roman Empire without the help of Caesar and often in spite of persecution by him. Within 300 years, Christianity had had such a profound effect upon the lives of people that it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The irony is that, while this seemed like a good thing at the time, having the message of Jesus tied directly to the Roman Empire was damaging to the gospel. Many people became Christians in name only because it was the socially acceptable thing to do, but they were not living out the fullness of the gospel. As a result, the message of Jesus, which had been spreading like wildfire, became watered down. With Rome now on their side, the Church took a breath and began to live at ease, believing the hard work was behind them.

Whenever faith becomes too closely meshed with political power, the Church always ends up the loser in the long run. It doesn’t matter if it is Rome, Geneva, or England, history is clear. Yet Christians continue to believe, much like the Jews in the days of Jesus, that the only way to make progress is through a specific person, a policy, or some form of political power. 

One of the foundational truths of Scripture is that God is sovereign. Throughout history the Lord has used immoral kings, blatant sinners like Rahab, and even a donkey to carry out His purposes and bring change. That’s why Proverbs 21:1 reminds us that the heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord. People who think the Lord can only use their candidate are spiritually immature people of little faith, regardless of how many verses they can quote.

This has been the nastiest and most contentious election of my lifetime, and I’ll be glad when it’s over. I just hope that regardless of who wins, the Church will focus on being the Church and that those who wear the name of Jesus on their lapels will be as committed to touching individual lives through grace, love, mercy, and justice as they have been to a fallible and corrupt political system.

Regardless of what happens today at the polls, Christ is on the throne, and He can change this world with or without political leaders. So, in victory or in defeat, rise above and fix your eyes on Jesus, allowing your words, actions, and deeds to reflect His goodness. And never forget…

We are ambassadors for Christ.

We are witnesses of Christ.

We are the Church.