Fear and faith: some thoughts on the General Election
I think we can all agree elections and election campaigning are extremely divisive. Many worry about the outcome of the election. Meanwhile the politicians sling insults at each other, sharing untruthful and misleading memes and videos to try and win more support. They declaim the other side as evil and wrong, ‘we are the only ones that are right’. Love and godliness in any shape or form is conspicuous by its absence, as is any heart-felt calling out to God.
It’s almost impossible not to be involved in it in some shape or form. So in such a divisive and mean-spirited environment how should Christians act?
The Christian’s Calling
Our main calling in life is to glorify God and to spread the message of the gospel of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this calling includes involvement in politics, other times it doesn’t. Yes it is important that Christians play an active role in proceedings and, where possible, act as a force for good in shaping our future as a country. But I believe we must be very careful in all our discussions and debates not to do anything to stir up hatred, anger, or otherwise bring dishonour to the name of Jesus Christ. We must not act like a bull in a china shop with all guns blazing; instead we should be gentle and considerate, especially when others disagree with our views. We should disagree well and amicably.
Above all else, above journalists, politicians and prime ministers, above our political allegiances we have an allegiance to the Almighty Sovereign God who takes a meaningful and merciful interest in all the goings-on in the world; indeed, God is in complete control. Whilst His people continue to cry out to Him, He will not leave us alone to wrack and ruin, indeed God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5). This fact should unify us. I know Christians on all sides of the political spectrum (examples of these include the Conservative Christian Fellowship and Christians on the Left), but we don’t let our politics define us or divide us, instead we have unity in Christ.
We should not put our faith in any political leader however good they might seem, even though may talk a lot of good, promise a lot of things and perhaps have a profession of faith. At the end of the day they will let us down, they are human and all human beings fail. Their promises will most likely be proven empty and hollow. Instead we should put all our faith in our great and Almighty God, that He might be glorified even through such a discordant environment. He will never let us down, ever. The Bible, the ultimate authority on life, says quite simply:
“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. [But] blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.” (Psalm 146:3-4).
We are called to pray for all leaders and for all those in positions of authority, whatever we might personally think about them, their supporters or their policies. The Bible says:
“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. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
We should pray for guidance and wisdom for the party leaders and other leading figures. We should pray for a government that brings glory to God’s name by being peaceful, loving, merciful, just, free, honourable and humble and preserving freedom of religion, so that we can freely proclaim our Saviour to the world.
Prime ministers, parties and individuals come and go. The Bible says:
“All men are like grass,
and all the glory of man is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures for ever.” (1 Peter 2:4).
Where we would despair and fear we should know that God is in control and seek to feel and witness His loving arms surrounding us. We shouldn’t expect much from this election, we shouldn’t worry about how things might turn out, we should never fear man and all his plans, rather more fear and trust God (Proverbs 29:25, Matthew 10:28). We should vote (it’s our democratic right and duty after all), and we should use our conscience and prayerfully consider everything (The Christian Institute offer some helpful resources) before casting our vote. Then, whatever happens, we should just remember Psalm 20:7:
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
As Christians we are merely passing through this world, on towards a better place. When we reach Heaven there won’t be any politics, just glory, and that is something we can look forward to.
No matter who is in power or who wins, they can’t fix everything in the world because it’s a fallen world, broken to its core. No party will make this world better, it won’t really make a big difference (although people can quite easily mess it up even more!). What will make a difference is how we live our lives. We should fix our eyes on Jesus and love our neighbour as ourselves. If we want to make this world a better place, then we must love and act as Jesus acted, rather than having fanciful notions that our political heroes can perfect the world. We already have a hero, a champion who has changed the world, with the biggest revolution ever; His name is Jesus Christ!
Too many times do we put our hope and faith in man to achieve things that they will fail at. We must put our faith and hope in God, and in God alone.
Thanks Josh for these helpful reminders. I feel that I have not been as politically engaged in my life as I should have been, the main reason is that I don’t have the space in my life to make the sort of time and personal commitment that I imagine is required to be engaged in these processes properly, as a party member. That being the case with me and with most Christians I know, I feel we do not have the right to criticise the unbelievers who largely bear this burden for not adopting our agenda. It is important to pray for those Christians who are fully engaged in it. They won’t get an easy ride, as we have seen with Tim Farron recently.
Thanks Ian for the comment. That’s a very good point. Christians only have a limited involvement in politics and therefore only have a limited voice. The handling of Tim Farron epitomises the atmosphere, not all that healthy. MPs are our democratically-elected representatives so they have a responsibility to listen to the views/criticism of all their constituents.
I agree, as Christians, our most important contribution to this election and government in general is definitely to pray, especially for the Christians running for Parliament.
Apart from praying for the Queen and royal family, and the current government, it seems right to pray that God’s will be done at this election. To my mind God not only takes an interest in these matters, but is actively in control of the outcome, or God would not be sovereign!
I believe it is right for Christians to review both the Leaders of each party (credentials), any concerns they may have for the people and their manifesto! This is what they do to try to run the country fairly and they should be weighed and judged in this basis!
Indeed yes, thanks Phil. God is in complete control, not just ‘interested’. God’s Will will be done. I regret that fact didn’t come out as clearly as I would have liked in the post.
That does make all the difference though, in events of such significance as the election!
Hi Josh, thanks for writing. I’m having a perusal, started with your post about being home-schooled. Good read, refreshing and brings me to the centre (more in balance!) Keep it up! And hey, congrats 😉
Thanks very much Ayumi 🙂
God bless you all!