November 8th is right around the corner. Won’t it be nice when the election is over, and we won’t have to worry about having our Facebook news feeds cluttered with posts about the election? Think of it! No more passionate pleas to vote for a third-party candidate. No more “lesser of two evils” debates. No more angry tirades about Clinton and/or Trump. Yes, once again our social media will be a world of personality quizzes, thug-life memes, and Plexus testimonials like it’s supposed to be.
But who are we kidding? I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling that the angry political debates will rage on for weeks to come. This election is like no other, so it won’t be surprising if the repercussions are like no other.
I’m not writing this article is to influence your vote on Election Day, but to influence your mindset for post-Election Day. No matter who wins the election, there will be hundreds of thousands of depressed, discouraged people come November 9th. It’s OK to feel strongly about this election--it’s tough not to; However, despite the uncertainty of our government’s future, there are certain biblical realities that provide peace for the Christian. These realities should rule our lives no matter what the circumstance, but they will be all the more important in the days following November 8th, after you vote, get your sticker, drive home, and watch all the hand-wringing on TV.
Rest Easy--God is in Control
We serve a God “to whom belongs wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings” (Dan. 2:21). Whoever wins the election will be the one whom God has appointed (Rom. 13:1), and there is a very good chance that God’s sovereign choice will end up being either Trump or Hillary. Despite how you vote, will you be OK with that?
God’s appointed leaders won’t always be upright, godly people, but they will always be instruments in his hands to bring about his purposes. God’s plan in the world today revolves around his Church, not America, so rest assured that God’s sovereign choice will be the best possible choice for his Church. Hey, perhaps he wants to wake us up a bit.
Hope Confidently--God Holds You
If “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov. 13:12), then that which makes your heart sick reveals the source of your hope. So how “heartsick” will you be on Election Day? Will you only be at peace if your preferred candidate wins? Don't forget that our hope doesn’t rest in the America’s prosperity or security. The object of the believer’s hope lies far beyond November 8th--it lies in Heaven. This hope is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19) and cannot and should not be affected by any politician. Our country is not crumbling, because our country is in Heaven. Yes, doubt and fear are understandable human emotions, but for the believer, they are irrational.
If our hope as Christians rests solely in the eternal blessings we have in Christ Jesus, what can make our heart sick? It doesn’t matter who wins the election; they won’t be able to touch our eternal hope. Even the risk of persecution and difficulty can't touch that hope; in fact, it strengthens it: “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”
Submit Humbly--God is in Charge
I understand not everyone will agree with me on this, but allow me to humbly state my point. God appoints all human authority (Rom. 13:1) and we are to obey those authorities “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Pet. 2:13). Submitting to our governmental authorities is a practical outgrowth of our submission to God, so whether it’s a Trump administration or a Clinton administration, we are called to submit. Unless a governmental decree contradicts a Scriptural decree, there are no exceptions to this. And yes, I believe we are to submit even if the government limits our liberty or contradicts the Constitution. Scripture never offers the caveat, “submit to governmental authority, unless they reject their founding documents or make your life more difficult.” Even the Roman Emperors violated Roman law to take authority, yet Christians were told to submit to them. The pattern we find in Scripture is that Christians are told to submit to people of authority not just authority in the abstract.
Don’t forget that honor is part of submission (1 Peter 2:17). We often live as if speaking kindly of others doesn’t apply to elected officials. It’s completely acceptable to disagree with your elected leaders, but it is never Christlike to degrade, mock, and revile them. Yes, even Trump and Clinton are made in the image of God (Ja. 3:9-10), and we must honor them through our speech. How can we say that we love God, yet curse those who are made in his image? “My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (Ja. 3:10).
Love Unconditionally--God Unites Us
There are people in your church that will vote differently than you on November 8th. No matter how strong your views are regarding the presidential race, do not allow politics to divide the body of Christ. Unity does not require universal agreement on every issue, especially politics. Each of us should carefully think through our own political views, remembering that it is possible for each of us to “be fully convinced in his own mind” while resolving not to “pass judgment on one another” (Rom. 14:5, 13).
Another way that we can be governed by God’s love is to reach out to fellow believers who will be deeply impacted by this election. Whether it’s a veteran fearing for his country or a mother fearing for her children’s future, there are Christians that will need a lot of encouragement after election day. Let’s come together as a body of believers, reject the spirit of judgmentalism, and build up those who are cast down.
What a comfort it is to be in Christ! While the waves swirl around us, we stand on solid ground, waiting for the glorious appearing of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Despite the outcome of Election Day, let us be governed by God’s sovereignty, hope, authority, and love. I pray that we will allow these realities to inform both how we vote on November 8th, and how we respond on November 9th.
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