All of us are aware that we are in a tumultuous season in our nation. Naturally, there will always be differences of opinion that are expressed and discussed during an election season. But this particular season has had more rancor and division than past seasons. In addition to the diverse opinions, there is anarchy in some cities, civil unrest, and social engineers who want to see the very fiber of our country change.
None of this is a secret. We all see it in the news. We all feel it. And we are all concerned by it.
But Christians have responded in very different ways. Some have responded in fear. Some in frustration. Some in argumentation. I’d like to share a few thoughts that I recently shared with our church family regarding how we can respond in faith as well as how we can personally flourish in the Lord through this season of challenge.
Prayer changes things. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Prayer changes things more than our social media posts do. It changes things more than our expertly-expressed opinions do. But sometimes we’re quicker to express ourselves to the world than we are to bring our petitions to God.
Pray for revival. Pray for the pastors in our nation who are taking a stand for biblically-taught moral absolutes. Pray for peace in our cities. Pray for first responders, law enforcement officers, and medical personnel.
Prayer is more significant than any other action we can take.
Can you imagine how Christians in the first century would have responded to the opportunity to choose their national leaders? I believe that, given the choice, they would have chosen leaders who would extend religious freedom and protect life. Paul himself exercised what privileges citizenship offered when he could. (See Acts 22:25–29, 25:11.)
In a country where we have the freedom to choose our leaders, we would be foolish not to. If you’re not registered to vote, register. And then vote.
Jesus said that we are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13–14). Although He was speaking primarily to our testimony and witness, I believe these principles apply to any area in which we have influence. As Americans, we each have one vote, and we should use that vote toward preserving any aspect of godliness or liberty to share the gospel light.
3. Be a peacemaker.
I’m surprised by the amount of arguing I see between Christians on social media. Someone posts something—perhaps even something better judgment would have suggested not to post—but then fifty other people come and throw gasoline onto it in the comments. I get that this is how social media works and even how it thrives, but mature Christians should live above that kind of argumentative, divisive spirit.
This is a good time for us all to remember the wisdom of Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Let’s not be people to stir up division.
Between now and the election, there are going to be a thousand opportunities to become riled in your spirit and divisive in your speech. Remember that a spiritual person can take a big problem and make it smaller, but a carnal Christian will take a small issue and make it larger.
This does not mean we should compromise our convictions, and it doesn’t mean we need to be unwilling to state our political opinions. But we should value unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we should be thoughtful in what we say and gracious in how we say it.
4. Ponder the issues.
One of the biggest challenges we all face is our need for wisdom. I find myself praying for wisdom many times each day and claiming the promise of James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
When it comes to decisions that impact our nation, we need to carefully ponder each issue. Politicians work diligently to get voters to think in terms of, “What’s in it for me?” But, as Christians, we should step back and look at the larger picture with discernment.
In recent weeks, I have been preaching a series of messages for our church family on developing a biblical worldview. I believe each person should vote according to their conscience, but I believe our consciences should be informed by biblical principles. From those principles, we should seek to make godly and discerning decisions.
If you’re a newer Christian or sense that you don’t really understand the issues at stake, ask the Lord for wisdom and insight. And ask mature, discerning Christians questions about what issues they see and why.
5. Be patient.
Our hope is not in any political candidate. Our hope is not even that the election will pass and the dust will settle. Our hope is in the coming of Christ! “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
We don’t know when things will settle down in our nation. It might be after the election. It might be February or March. It might be later. It might be that Jesus returns before we even reach November.
Meanwhile, we need to remember that God is in control, and we can trust Him. In fact, the single truth that has carried me through the last six months has been remembering that because I serve a sovereign God, I can trust that anything out of my control is in His will for my life. Romans 8:28 assures us that this is true: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Satan is going to try to get you so disgusted and discouraged with what is going on that you consider just checking out. But God offers you His wisdom, strength, and courage to stand strong for Him and weather the storm.