Well, it is election time once again, and the stakes this year could not be higher for our country’s welfare. There are a lot of societal ills surrounding us in need of conscientious solution. We continue to live amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has caused social distancing, stifled the US economy, taken numerous lives, infected many others, and frustrated virtually everyone else.
In addition to the problems associated with Covid-19, historical monuments continue to be vandalized or overturned. Social unrest continues with violent and nonviolent protests. There is a brewing political scandal involving the son of one of our presidential candidates (Joe Biden). Wildfires are once again burning out of control in California as well as Colorado. There are economic and other threats coming from the People’s Republic of China and other nations. There are ongoing calls to defund police departments amid a huge uptick in violent crime and murders in a number of our large cities.
All of this seems very daunting. In light of all this, and more, you may feel helpless as to how you as an individual can help or affect change in American society. But especially since this is an election year, you need to ask yourself as a Christian: what if anything can I do? Well, I am glad you asked! Allow me, as your pastor, to make four simple suggestions that grow right out of Scripture as to how you can help make a difference and affect change:
1. Be a good citizen. As Christians, we have dual citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven/God (Phil 3:20; Eph. 2:19) and the United States. Jesus spoke a good deal about the Kingdom of Heaven/God in the Gospels (e.g., Matt 13:24, 31-33, 44-47; Mk 9:47; 10:14, 23; Lk. 10:9; 17;21; Jn. 3:5). As citizens of God’s Kingdom, we must obediently pursue God’s five purposes for living in His present, spiritual kingdom. We do this through worship, discipleship, fellowship, service, and evangelism. As a result, we grow stronger through worship, we grow deeper through discipleship, we grow warmer through fellowship, we grow broader through ministry, and we grow larger through evangelism. As good American citizens, we must obey the laws of and yield to the authority of and respect the positions of our governmental leaders (Rom. 13:1-2, 5-6; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). By doing so, we receive God’s blessing and contribute to societal stability and social health.
2. Pray unceasingly. We are instructed in Scripture as a general rule to pray continually (1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13; 5:17). We are to do so in relationship to our existing or potential, governmental leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-2a). So, pray for your local, state, and national leaders. Pray in this election year that God will see that men and women are elected that will uphold the rule of God’s Law for His glory, for our good, and for the welfare of our nation.
3. Vote responsibly. Although democratic elections were not held in biblical times, by principle from Scripture we are to pursue that which promotes social peace and an environment where the Gospel can spread (1 Tim. 2:2b-4). Exercising our right and privilege to vote and voting for individuals who will promote these ends is the responsible thing to do and can impact our society for the good of all.
4. Trust in God’s perfect will. We are directed in Scripture to desire, seek, understand, and follow God’s will, purposes, or desires (e.g., Ps. 40:8; Ps. 143:10; Matt. 6:10; Eph. 5:17; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:18). God’s decisions are always in keeping with His will, which is flawlessly perfect (Rom. 12:2). His will is always for our good and His glory, even when we do not like or understand His decision-making. So, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, remember that God is sovereignly in control of this world. Whatever happens, to our liking or not, is in keeping with His will. God has a purpose in the upcoming results and will help us deal with the results as a part of His overarching, perfect plan. In so trusting Him, this keeps us from undue disappointment and anxiety, and encourages us to keep on being good citizens of Heaven and the USA, praying, voting, and further trusting God in all circumstances.
I hope and pray you will follow the above suggestions in striving to be difference makers for the person and cause of Jesus Christ and for the good of our great country. You are sorely needed now more than ever!