Two weeks from today
Are you planning to vote? In Presidential elections years about 2 of out of 3 eligible Americans will do so, leaving an amazing 30% who stay home for one reason or another. Electing our government officials should be regarded as a duty as well as a privilege. We can attempt to justify our decision to stay home by pointing to the fact that we are just one in millions. We can excuse our failure to vote by pointing to the corruption of political processes. In both cases, we would be wrong. Each vote counts and if higher percentages of voters insist on accountability, better candidates will be put into office.
With all the noise about the election of a President, it is easy to overlook that there are candidates for a whole range of offices from local town committees, to state legislatures, and Congress. Though the Presidential race gets the lion’s share of attention, it is often the actions of those in lesser offices that actually effect our lives on a day to day basis. Can you even name those running? In a few days you will receive a sample ballot in the mail. Review it! Do your homework. Talk with others and become an informed citizen, then vote!
So, you might be wondering why a daily devotion written primarily to encourage Christians in their walk with the Lord engages this topic? Perhaps you believe that as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven you are above the dirty process of politics with all the mud-slinging that goes on. If so, I want to change your mind.
We are, first and foremost, subjects of Christ, our Lord. The Word reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20, NIV) Interestingly, the word ‘citizenship’ in that passage is translated from the NT Greek word “politeuma” which referred to civil life, to the administration of public policies. The Bible is telling us that our daily lives here on earth are governed by Christ from Heaven. Our constitution and by-laws are written by Him. And, that includes how we act in the context of the earthly government under which we live. Our Christianity is expressed, in part at least, by our earthly citizenship.
Jesus never advocated anarchy. He paid His taxes and urged respect for those who ruled. A Christian is commanded to ” submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1, NIV) I’m certain that the idea of people selecting their own leaders through the electoral process was not in Paul’s mind as he was inspired to give us that directive. We have an amazing privilege of helping to choose those to whom we are to submit.
Give me another couple of minutes today to opine. (Thank you for your patience.) Please do not become one of those simple-minded Christians who cast votes for a person based on a single issue or because “he looks like a good Christian.” Educate yourself on the totality of a candidate’s positions, as best you are able to do so. There is no perfect candidate. Look for values, for evidence of integrity, for qualities of leadership. It is true that “when the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.” (Proverbs 29:2, NLT) Don’t be duped by the candidate who learns the code words that appeal to Christians. That fact that he says, “God bless you,” and shows up in the pulpit of a famous preacher does not necessarily indicate that he will govern in a godly way. Be wise.
Finally, be prayerful. The Spirit promises to guide us. As we study the roster of candidates standing for election, let’s pray for insight. God’s design for humanity includes leadership, those who exercise the right to set the policies that govern us. He has sovereignly chosen to allow you and me to live in an era in which we participate in the selection of our leadership. We can become His partner in choosing those who will spend our taxes and defend human dignity. So, I appeal to you to be an informed, active citizen; one who exercises the privilege of the ballot in a way that honors our Heavenly King – two weeks from today.