At the beginning of the year, you may recall people referring to 2020 as “the year of clear vision.” This clever reference to 20/20 vision inspired many to enter this year with forward-looking hope.
And yet 2020 surprised us with complicated problems that begged for clear solutions. COVID-19 abruptly halted our plans and upended our expectations. Soon thereafter, examples of racial inequality rose in our consciousness, infused with collective urgency.
As we enter the fall, the impending election has emotions and rhetoric at a fever pitch. People of various political opinions are seeing this election as a tipping point.
The emotional weight of this cultural moment bears acknowledging. Now, in a hotly contested election cycle in a deeply polarized country, candidates are vying for votes from people who are desperate for solutions and in desperate need of a savior. We should be engaged and should wrestle with the character, convictions, and policies held by each candidate. Without a doubt, this election is raising the tension between making our decisions based on personalities or the policies held by the parties behind them.
Yet as believers, we have hope beyond the ballot, hope that’s secured to the unshakeable reign of Jesus. He alone is our savior, the one who brings clarity to a year clouded with complexity.
Three words help me keep the eyes of my heart clear (Matthew 6:22) in how to vote and engage in conversations leading up to the general election:
Faith – keep your primary vote of trust on the Lord Jesus Christ
No situation in American life seems to display the worst in some Christ-followers than the intrigue and rhetoric revolving around presidential politics. This election cycle is no different.
As I’ve read through the Old Testament, the most prominent and debilitating sin of Israel was a lack of focused dependence on God alone! Old Testament Israel’s demise can be attributed to one thing: they put their trust in something, someone, or some nation, rather than God Himself. Our actions during this season reveal where are true dependence lies.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7 NIV)
Hope – remember first God’s platform: His Kingdom
A passage that has encouraged me to live with joy, even amidst severe difficulties, is Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”I’ve found that, at any minute in the day, my demeanor reveals where I am putting my hope.
Our posture should reflect a steadiness of hope that is anchored to Christ alone. Especially in election years, believers can emulate the hope that Paul described to the Romans: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)”
Love –be an advocate for Jesus Christ
The way the people of God can stand out this year is to confound people with our love. In all things, our lives can advocate for the love and supremacy of Christ. This isn’t to say believers should be devoid of political opinion or enthusiasm, as mentioned above. But, our love for God and love for our neighbors should frame every stance we take. Especially in our highly polarized culture, believers can be more committed to loving rather than winning.
Dr. John Stott once made a comment that pertains as much to us during these election days, as it does to the people we hope will lead us:
The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.
As believers, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live and lead with clarity and vision. No matter who you vote for in November, let your choice be anchored in Jesus and rooted in faith, hope and love.