How ought Christians vote?

Isn’t it ironic that often the people who know least about Christianity insist that Christians must vote in a certain way?

Both the left wing and right wing of politics are often guilty of reducing Christians down to a group that impacts upon the final ballot count. The intersectionality of faith and politics has often been over-simplified even by Christians who label fellow believers ungodly merely because of their left- or right-wing electoral preferences.

It is uncomfortable to be challenging traditional stereotypes such as that Christians are all conservatives, but Christians can choose to have various political leanings for reasons that are deeply rooted in their faith.

A Christian’s identity is in Christ

Christians should be careful not to use political motivations as justifications for their deeds of faith. Doing good in living for Jesus shouldn’t be a part of a left-wing social justice ideology or in rebellion against the conservative right. A Christian’s identity should be first and firmly in Christ above their different political leanings.

As part of daily devotions, Christians should assess themselves firstly in their relationship with God before deciding whether their candidates’ positions are in line with Christian ethics and values.

Noting that the Bible doesn’t speak directly to every modern political issue but rather provides timeless principles that cover a range of topics, living as citizens of God’s kingdom – Christians ought to be enhancing human life, human dignity and human rights.

Children and families make up essential cornerstones of our society which need to be strengthened along with gender equality and racial reconciliation. At the forefront of voting should be a preference for Godly peace and justice not the political agendas of individuals, nationalist or interests that run against the common good.

Vote 1 for Jesus in your life not a single issue at an election

As the political divide becomes more apparent and threats to religious freedom encroach on Christians once again, it is often easy to retreat into the corner of thinking that voting in one way or another will provide salvation for the church.

But Christians are called not to have a comfortable life rather one of suffering. Jesus has said that “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John Chapter 15, verse 20) and Paul reiterates this as he tells us that “Indeed, all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy Chapter 3, verse 12).

Thinking that we can vote our way out of suffering is trying to play Jesus for the church. How can Christians be a single-issue voter when there are always multiple issues that the Bible addresses that may be partially supported or opposed by a range of political candidates?

But more importantly, can Christians discount all other concerns for the sake of one issue, when the Bible speaks to many matters? No political party can be God – perfect in every Christian value or ideal.

Be immersed in prayer

How then can Christians act politically? Throughout our daily lives and not just leading up to elections, we pray that starting with ourselves we continually place our identity first and foremost in Jesus Christ.

Then we pray for our leaders, political parties and candidates that they may come to Godly faith and finally that Christianity is not exploited for partisan political agendas. God loves both voters of Liberal Party, Labor Party and every other party and wants each of them to be in a relationship with Him. Our politics would be a much better place if Christians were less partisan and much more prayerful.

We can find comfort in the final words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew’s gospel. Jesus is meeting with His disciples on the mountain and gives them instructions to go and make disciples for God’s kingdom.

The Great Commission (Matthew Chapter 28, verses 16-20) reminds us that the ultimate authority is Jesus and Christians are to share this message not just back in their hometowns, but all over the world. It’s not an easy command and not one that is done by relying solely on voting for a more Christian party or candidate.

It will require Christians to leave much behind including our earthly political sympathies, as well as to face much struggle and opposition. But Jesus also gives us a great promise; that he will be with us always, to the very end of the age.

For everyone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus, it’s not about whether you Vote 1 for a left- or right-wing party, Jesus cares about whether you’ve made Him number 1 in your life.

So as Christians go forth and make important decisions that affect the future of our country and the world, know that Jesus is with you. And that the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer and is active in guiding you as you lead others to Christ.

As Christians seeking to make the most out of difficult political situations, we have the assurance that we don’t go in our strength, but prayerfully we have the support of the Jesus Christ because He is the One who has authority over heaven and earth.

This article was first published at Christian Today Australia on Wednesday 19 December 2018