CHRISTIANS AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
The 2016 U.S. primaries are the talk of the town. Everybody wants to weigh in on the candidates and discuss the options. What should a Christian do? Let’s see. Rubio is fading fast; if he loses Florida, they say he’s a goner. Kasich, probably the most prepared for the job, doesn’t seem to have a prayer. Trump looks unstoppable, not that some pretty powerful people aren’t trying to derail his train. And he’s your man, assuming a boastful, philandering, money-hungry, gambling casino-owning, multiple divorcee is what you’re looking for. And then there’s Cruz. Know what he and his dad believe? Check out the “Seven Mountains” view of the end times. Very scary! Find it here.
No believer serious about life and biblical marriage could consider the Democrats in the race, could they? So what option is there left? Some say, we’ll just have to sit out the race—although that’s probably a formula to put Bill in the White House as the first “first man.” A write-in on the ballot might assuage your angst but will do nothing of significance for the cause of righteousness. So it’s back to holding your nose and voting for the lesser of the evils. And how’s that worked out for the Christian cause the last dozen election cycles?
EVERY REASON TO BE OPTIMISTIC
Do I sound pessimistic? I’m anything but. Fact is, with a God like ours, you can only be pessimistic if you aren’t thinking clearly. Let me give you just four statements from one epistle to prove the point:
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor 2:14).
Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:5-7).
“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor 6:10).
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor 9:8).
Always triumphant. Always confident. Always rejoicing. Always sufficient. Is that enough to get you through a rough few days—or a rough election? We aren’t naive. We aren’t escapists. I deal with broken people every day. I visit dying Christians. I see real poverty. I know the darkness is encroaching, freedoms are evaporating. Not to mention REAL suffering in so may places around the world. And yet God’s Word is true. It has to be.
Or look at these “all things” facts. Yes, these are facts. Facts that are the unshakeable foundations of our faith.
“ALL THINGS”—NOT MUCH WIGGLE ROOM
“With God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). Jesus said that. He also said, “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Lk 24:44). Every promise. Every prophecy. He’s right on schedule to accomplish what He set out to do. No mere president will delay Him. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). Our lives are edited. Nothing reaches us without going through God’s heart first. “For all things are yours: whether…the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours.And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3:21-23).
You make Mr. Trump look like a panhandler! And why has God lavished His graces upon us? “For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:15). We’ve been enriched to share it with others—real wealth transfer—that the resulting thanksgiving will bring great glory to God. But I leave you with the rest of the study. I think there are more than 100 “all things” verses in the NT alone that speak of God’s largesse to His people. So what does this mean? What are these fail-proof options promised in the title?
GRIDLOCK CAN BE GOOD
Let’s get a few things straight. First, the framers of the Constitution designed the federal government so it was very difficult to get anything done in Washington—on purpose. That’s how it’s supposed to be, so the only time a law gets passed, it gets passed because it is beneficial to most people. That’s the idea. We should be happy when very little gets done in Congress. The less the merrier! The problem is the massive bureaucracy that has grown up to strangle the populace. So defunding is the name of the game. Just be thankful, since government is so inefficient, that we don’t get all the government we pay for.
Most of the country’s problems could be substantially ameliorated if Christians (who are supposed to make up a significant percentage of the population) would just obey the two great commandments: love God and love your neighbor. I know in Mississippi that is the case. When these subjects come up, as they often do, I opine that, if we’re waiting for Washington to come to our aid, we’ll die before that happens. But here, if the Christians in each community would take 20-30 poor children and teach them to read by using the Bible, our state would be transformed. Social welfare rolls would drop, graduations would increase, unemployment would shrink, incarceration rates would decrease, and, most importantly, the gospel would take root in young hearts.
FIVE FAIL-PROOF OPTIONS
So when we see the dismal state of things, what are we to do? I think you already know the answers.
1. Look up and pray. The prayer closet is the place of the greatest Christian influence, not the voting booth. Pray for those in authority; pray that we will lead quiet and tranquil lives in godly honesty. Pray for the lost around you. Pray for your fellow Christians that they will shine for the Lord wherever they are. Pray for God’s will to be done here as in heaven.
2. Do good in your community. It is within our hands to help the suffering, the aged, the poor, the disadvantaged. Not all of them, it’s true, but there are some we can help this very day. This was Jesus’ explanation to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Your neighbor is anyone in need who crosses you path that you can help now.
3. Live and speak the gospel. Few seem to understand the Way. Be respectful and patient with those who do not understand. Be kind and loving to those who find it hard to believe because of past experiences. Be clear and biblically accurate in explaining the gospel, because lives hang in the balance. Sow beside all waters. “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Eccl 11:6).
4. Campaign for Jesus. Don’t be distracted by politics. When people bring it up, try to turn the topic to the only One who can fix this broken world, and broken hearts, too. Our Man is in, and His seat is uncontested. It’s true, people want hope and change, but lets remember the hope and change they really need. The Lord said it well, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would fight” (Jn 18:36). Our battle is real, but our enemy doesn’t wear pantsuits or a pompadour. Fight the good fight!
5. Be brave. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph 6:10). When things get shaky, you point people to the Unshakeable One by not getting wobbly yourself. The distress people show as western civilizations unravel should provide entrée for the gospel. “‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb 12:27-28).
It may be God wants to bring America to its knees. It may be He wants to humble us. It may be this election will put in place those who will advance the gospel cause by bringing people to the end of themselves. It may hasten the coming of the Lord. But it’s in His hands, and I’m very glad about that.