I vote in a country I don’t live in and I live in a country where I can’t vote. No matter who ascends to government power in the United States or in Honduras, my desire is to fulfill my Christian duty of advancing the gospel message in accordance with the will of my Lord Jesus Christ as a part of my local church where I live.
My Christian duty not only guides my civic duty, but my Christian duty also supersedes the outcome of any election after I have performed my civic duty. Nowhere in the Bible is the Christ-follower instructed to focus on influencing civil government. The focus of the Christ-follower is to influence this world for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, if you have the privilege to vote, then by all means, exercise that privilege. However, Christian influence as the body of Christ in this world, should take place long before and long after the election season; and it should take place regardless of who is in civil authority.
Exercise your civic duty
Let me be clear: to have a voice in the outcome of civil government at both the national and local level, is a tremendous privilege that should not be taken for granted. The privilege to have a voice in who governs, is not a privilege enjoyed in all countries. Therefore, those who do have the constitutional right to vote, should take advantage of this opportunity to influence civil government.
In my limited perspective, I certainly have an opinion and a preference regarding who is governing the decisions and policies of both the United States and Honduras, the countries with which I have a direct relationship. From a human perspective it would seem that a Christian-friendly civil government would be more favorable to the advance of the gospel. My vote will always be for the candidate who will have policies that allow for the free course of the gospel. This was what the Apostle Paul requested in prayer of the church in Thessalonica (2 Thes 3:1).
At the same time, I am reminded that some of the greatest evangelistic movements during the Church Age have been born in adversity. The first church assembly established outside of Jerusalem in the first century A. D., was the direct result of Christian persecution (Acts 11:19); and the church established in Antioch was used by the Holy Spirit to spearhead the first organized missionary activity of the Early Church (Acts 13). Even in modern times, although it is difficult to get a truly clear picture of the gospel advance in restricted access nations like China, it cannot be denied that there is a healthy underground church movement despite the rigid crackdowns of the Communist government. So I pray, and I research, and I cast my vote; but at the same time I vote for God’s will to be done through the candidate that He ordains to power in civil government.
Embody your Christian duty
I also want to make clear that regardless of the outcome of this election cycle or the next, one’s Christian duty should shape his everyday life. I will not change what I do for Christ because of the outcome of an election. Nothing should substantially change about the way I go about doing the Lord’s business if my choice for president doesn’t get elected.
God is clear about His mission for the Church and the responsibility of the individual believer as part of the body of Christ. God is clear about the believer’s response to all civil authority. My first loyalty is to do the will of the King of kings and Lord of lords. The mighty hand of our God is the one who ordains and delegates civil authority (Rom 13:1). Our Sovereign holds the heart of a nation’s sovereign in His mighty hand and can move that heart according to His purposes to fulfill His bidding (Proverbs 21:11).
God can snuff out the life of a sovereign like He did to Herod for not giving Him glory (Acts 12:23); or He can convert him into an ignorant beast until he recognizes God’s glory like He did to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4); or He can “put a hook in his nose” to lead him in another direction like He did to Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:29); or He can use him to declare His purposes as He did with Cyrus (2 Chronicles 36); or He can harden his heart like He did with Pharaoh (Exodus 7); or He can just let them run rough-shod over innocents like He allowed with Nero and Hitler until the Day of Judgment.
No matter who is in charge of a nation at any given moment, I know God is truly in charge. My hope is not in a fragile human leader but in the Sovereign Lord. I am not going to lose any sleep over who governs my birth nation or the nation in which I live (Ps 4:8). What should make me restless is putting my trust in the house of cards which is human leaders and political structures. The Christian’s focus should be on fulfilling God’s will in the power of the Holy Spirit regardless of who is in political power.
In conclusion, I encourage you to participate in this civic duty as a voting-eligible citizen of your nation. Cast your vote. Then, Christian, after casting your vote, humbly cast your care upon the God who cares for you (1 Pet 5:7). Every election cycle will be billed as “THE most important of our generation” or some other descriptor to provoke a response from a candidate’s constituents. Don’t believe the hype. Exercise your civic duty during election season as long as the privilege remains. However, what will influence this world for Christ will not so much be the way you vote, but rather in whether you embody your Christian duty as a citizen of God’s kingdom first and foremost.