How You Should Vote

How should you vote?

The country is in a tizzy over who will be the next President of the United States. And, while it’s incredibly early to place much weight in polls and predictions, it’s never too early to begin praying about the outcome.

The Republican field is wide; the Democratic ticket not so much, but come November, the competition will be narrowed to two or three (if someone announces they’re running as a different party.)

The issues inciting voters are not so varied either. The economy and international relations are at the top of the list. There are plenty of moral issues at stake as well—the right to life and racial tension. And, for the most part, the American public is tired of political games—tired of politicians.

So, outside of the debates and the arguably biased news coverage of each candidate, how does a Christian make a well-informed decision about who to vote for? Is there a single set of standards anywhere that can help believers draw clean lines between the options?

I never expected to find such a precise set of standards in the book of Psalms. But, it shouldn’t surprise us. After all, much of the the book was penned by King David of Israel. And the rest were penned by those who knew him and were affected by his rule.

The Bible describes David as “a man after God’s own heart.” It makes sense then, that David’s personal and prayer life can guide us in making godly decisions about those who govern our own lives.

“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?” Psalm 15:1

While the president himself doesn’t spend much time on Capitol Hill, many other elected officials do and—for better or worse—the president has great bearing on the decisions made there. So let’s paraphrase this verse slightly: Who should dwell on Capitol Hill? The following verses give great detail:

“He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend … “ Psalm 15:2-3

These verses speak very obviously to the campaign season. How many candidates spend much of their air time slandering their opponent or speaking evil against him—often times even taking up a reproach against a former ally for the sake of popularity? And, while none of us on our own can claim to be blameless, a man or woman who has accepted the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice for sin is completely blameless. They also seek to do right and speak the truth.

“ … in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change … “ Psalm 15:4

This verse brings us to the moral issues. Which candidate consistently calls good good and evil evil? A specific case in point: Who is willing to stand up for life? Politicians are notorious for saying one thing during their campaign and doing another once they’re in office. The Bible tells us to look for a man who swears to his own hurt and does not change—this man or woman will not change their stance for truth even when it’s not in their personal best interest.

“ … who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved … “ Psalm 15:5

This verse covers a whole gamut of issues. As voters, we must vote for the candidate who—to the best of their ability—manages the country’s finances well, refuses to be bought and protects the innocent.

Finally, the last sentence sums it up. Do we not want to be a solid, unmovable country? This begins with an uncompromising, strong, unmovable leader.

The Bible tells us clearly how to vote. Is our responsibility as believers and patriots to determine who to vote for.

Shhhh…It’s the Quietest Gospel

The Quietest Gospel. Kind of self explanatory, but Wax explains there are a couple angles. For the sake of baiting you to read the book, I’ll only explain the version that I struggle with the most.

The conservative version maintains the appearance of prophetic speech by speaking out against certain sins. But it often reduces the gospel announcement by relegating its implications to personal fulfillment in a way that makes the church irrelevant to public discourse. (pg. 140)

Flight into the invisible is a denial of the call. A community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow Him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (quoted on pg 140)

The problem is I observe plenty blatant sins in my daily life. It’s easy enough (though sometimes I wimp out even still) to declare that am pro-life and abortion is wrong, that taking God’s name in vain is a sin, that stealing is wrong and so is sexual immorality and lying and abuse and sorcery and… you get my drift. Many people, priding themselves on morality, would support these assertions. However, the true Gospel calls me to more than that.

Where is a Christian living out the bold apostolic Gospel that defies evil even when to do so will cause pain? Where is the Christian willing to take the true Gospel for all its political assertions, for its nitty-gritty implications on everyday life? I suggest to you that there aren’t many living in the United States.

It is frequently heard from our pulpits, “Just preach the gospel.” I have heard many Christians say, “I don’t really say much about my faith, I just hope people see Jesus in my life.” That’s not the Biblical Gospel.

Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Amos, and Ezekiel had no trouble holding together the proclamation of good news with the prophetic call to care for the poor and needy, to stop economically unjust practices, and to return to a heartfelt worship of God.” (pg. 145)

I think on a smaller scale of other examples of a quietest gospel: when we’re afraid to raise our hands in church or kneel in worship because of what others may think; when we don’t give money to that homeless person because we don’t know their real motives; when we don’t tell the truth about where we’ll be on Sunday morning when asked to make other plans. Anything sound familiar?

This morning I began my quiet time as usual with my journal open on my lap. Suddenly, after a few pages of drivel and standard prayer requests, the Holy Spirit dug deep into my heart. He asked me, “Abby, if there were no hell, would you love me?”

What?

“If there were no eternal consequence to sin, no fiery hell to be avoided, would you love me? Or would you say, ‘A little longer, I’ve almost got it right down here;’ or, ‘I’m actually enjoying this for now.’ How passionate is your love for me? Is it greater, louder, more fulfilling than your comfort, your reputation, your self-esteem?”

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. Hebrews 12:1-4