The election season is in full swing once again. And, once again, it is time to remind ourselves what we should do as Christians when it comes to voting.
Ultimately, voting is a privilege and a duty for Americans. For those Americans who follow Jesus, voting takes on even more importance. While we know God is our highest authority, His Word provides clear guidance on how we should treat those who are placed in authoritative roles around us, such as our elected officials.
As we head towards the November elections, let’s discuss why it’s your responsibility as a citizen and a Christian to vote.
What We Can Learn from Romans 13
In Romans 13, Paul makes it clear: God appoints the governing authorities. He also makes our submission to political authority.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,
for there is no authority except that which God has established.
The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
– Romans 13:1
In the US, we vote and elect our governing authorities. Additionally, our national motto is “In God We Trust.” As Jesus followers, we trust and know God works through our voting process. Therefore, we have a godly responsibility to voice not our will in the election, but God’s will in the election.
Not Voting is a Way of Voting
Too often, believers and unbelievers alike, choose not to vote. In fact, as The Gospel Coalition explains, in the last election “there were an estimated 231,556,622 Americans eligible to vote, but only 131,741,000 voted. That means only 56.8 percent of the eligible population voted, and 43.2 percent of the eligible population did not.”
Those who chose not to vote did actually affect the vote. Whether you realize it or not, millions of people not voting can directly influence who is elected to office.
In this past presidential election, many Christians chose not to vote because they believed there were no good candidates. While some would argue their point, it is important to remember we are all sinners saved by grace. When it comes to voting for a governing authority, remember those running for office are sinners (just like you and me) and not people we should hold on a pedestal.
Furthermore, while you may not believe your one vote matters, it does. By voting your Christian values, you join the combined efforts of Christians voting across the city/county/state/country to elect governing authorities who respect and strive to reflect Biblical values.
Now, let’s move on to discuss what voting teaches us.
Voting Teaches Us Stewardship
America is a great country, and we should treat it as such. As Christians, we must be stewards of not only our money and resources, but we are also to be stewards of our great country. Just as we tell our children not to pollute the streets so as to protect the Earth God has given us, we should protect the country we live in as well. Voting is one of the easiest ways to be a responsible steward.
Voting Teaches Us Submission
Let’s be honest. Not every person you vote for will win the election. However, as believers, we must trust God and His Word when it comes to governing authorities.
“For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents 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 as a matter of conscience.”
- Romans 13:4-5
We are called to submit to our governing authorities trusting God has allowed them to be in this unique role – even if it is not who we voted for in the election. Additionally, this act of submission teaches us to further trust God and his plans for our country and our lives.
In addition to submitting to governing authorities, and we must also pray for them. Throughout the election season and during the elected official’s term, we must respect, honor, and pray for them.
Voting Teaches Us to Be a Good Neighbor
Throughout the Bible, we are told to be a good neighbor.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
– Mark 12:30-31
When you vote, you are not thinking about your singular, nuclear family. You are thinking about your country. This means thinking about your neighbor. You are voting on issues and for candidates who represent you and your neighbors. Vote in a way that shows you love your neighbor.
Action Steps Before Election Day
How you vote is personal. However, there are some clear steps we should all take before entering the polling booth.
- Register to vote.
- Educate yourself on election issues and the candidate’s views on these issues. The Christian Coalition often provides voting guides to help believers choose wisely.
- Look for the candidate whose stances on these issues are most aligned with Biblical values.
- Pray for wisdom as you head to the polls.
After leaving the voting booth, trust God and regularly lift our governing authorities to the Lord in prayer.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”