Christians and the BIG Vote

Christians and voting.  Voting Christians.  Christians who vote.  Jesus followers who vote.  Jesus lovers who love their country and vote for their elected officials.  Is it crazy?  It shouldn't be.  We have a citizenship that is not of this world (Phil 3:20), but does that mean we abdicate our current responsibilities as citizens of a country of this world?  The answer is no.  God tells us to honor our leaders as He has placed them in power over us.  In fact, God is very very specific on how we should act toward the authorities over us in Romans 13:1-7.

Romans 13:1-7  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.  Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority?  Then do what is right and he will commend you.  For he is God’s servant to do you good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.   This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.  Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Whew, read that again and let it sink in.  It's heavy.  Did you catch that "there is no authority except that which God has established"?  And again "the authorities that exist have been established by God"?  It's true, God is in charge and He tells us to submit to our authorities, twice just in this passage.  Yet, we Christians are so very guilty of not doing what this portion of scripture commands, especially in the area of respect and honor that are due.  I just wanted to include this, because it highlights that God established government, He cares about our interaction with the government and He is asking us to do very specific actions toward our government, like pay taxes, honor and respect.  Again, it's heavy!  Let me note, that we are never to submit to the authorities if it requires you to violate your conscience or God's laws. 

The Bible is full of interactions between God and government, just read the Old Testament to see God set up kings, depose kings, harden the hearts of rulers, and make other rulers crazy.  And it doesn't end in the OT, Jesus had many interactions with governing officials throughout his three years of ministry, too.  Remember, give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's?  Read through and you will find many intersections of God and government, more than I can list.  Many times these are governments are theocracies, kingdoms, and dictatorships, where the people were not so fortunate to have a say, as we do.  In our system of government, our vote is a deciding factor on who is in power, so use your vote as a voice for righteousness and good in the world.  You may not like the choices very much, but do the best with what you have. 

This is not to debate whether you should vote or not, if you feel that you will not be voting, I urge you to read this blog by John Piper entitled "I am going to vote.".  Instead, I simply urge you to go out and do your civic duty to vote.   I will not tell you who to vote for.  I know who I am voting for.  I know who my mother is voting for.  And I know who my mother in law is voting for.  And they don't all agree.  But I'll let you make your own decision.  

I'm not here to sway you either way, but instead I'm encouraging you to let your God lead the way.  To that end, here are a few resources for you to read and listen to which may help you along the way. 
The free book of the month at christianaudio.com is called How Should Christians Vote? by Tony Evans.  It's an audiobook, offered as their free audio book of the month, and it's available until the end of October.  Download and listen to it!  I meant to post this sooner, but K-Love was offering a free paperback version of the book, until supplies ran out.  I ordered mine from K-Love, but there is no longer a link to the free book on their website.  You can still buy it from your local Family Christian bookstore for a mere $4.19 for the eBook and $6.99 for the paperback version.  I received my free book in the mail yesterday and read halfway through it today.  Needless to say, I am really enjoying it so far!!  If you want a sneak peak of the contents of the book, get on Twitter and follow me (@alaynaruth).  I'm tweeting great passages with the hashtags #tonyevans and #christianvote.  The book is only 83 pages long, so don't despair about how you can't possibly fit in a book before Election Day.  :)

Don't feel that you have time to read a whole book?  Or just don't feel like listening to the whole thing?  Or are you like me, two young children that make reading or listening to anything other than Veggie tales movies and Thomas the Tank Engine a luxury?  The lead pastor at our church penned a booklet entitled Picking a President, which is available as a free download.  It won't tell you who to vote for, but it will give you some points describing what to look for when picking a president.  Short, sweet and to the point.

I had a teacher who always said voting gives you a right to complain for the next four years.  It may be tongue in cheek, but it's oh so true.  Democracy allows you to have a voice and choose your leaders, so don't complain about the leader if you don't use your vote to voice your opinion.   

So read, listen, pray and get your vote on in November.

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