Yesterday was yet another election day in the United States; a day when a healthy percentage of the American population visited their designated polling places to lend their voice to decide who will lead and represent our states, for the next couple of years at least. (Or, they mailed in their ballots weeks ago, which I wish I would have done, but didn’t.)
I wrote this post a couple of years ago on the day of our most recent Presidential election. I stand by it today, and offer it to you once again, in hope that it will help Christians in some small way to stay focused on things that are most important concerning this life, namely, things that concern eternity and the life to come.
American Christians pour a great deal of energy into the political process. We watch cable news ad nauseam; attend political rallies; write blogs and host forums where we tell one another how to and how not to vote. We debate about the merits of candidates on social media – and pass on the dirt we’ve discovered (which may or may not be factual) on the candidates we most despise. We publicly lament the state of our nation and criticize Christians who see different solutions to our problems than we do. We write and read long articles outlining the reasons to vote for morally bankrupt candidates who promise to make policy decisions that we approve of, as well as the moral deficiencies of voting for non-viable candidates who yet appear to be more virtuous than the other names listed on our ballots. Christians (generally speaking) are very passionate about politics.
Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing and the point of this post is not to critique my brothers and sisters who are excited about and invested in the political process. Rather, my desire in this post is simply to remind you that there are pursuits far more important and far more deserving of our energy and passion than politics. What are those pursuits? I’ll highlight five of them here.
The pursuit of Christ.
Nothing in this world comes anywhere as close in importance to this one thing. All things are utterly worthless compared to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8). Yet we are so often like Martha in Luke 10, consumed with getting things done, worried about seemingly necessary tasks, and deceived by believing that sitting at Jesus’ feet is time wasted. I wonder, Christian, throughout the recent political season, have you poured as much time and energy into your walk with Christ as you have into gaining and spreading information regarding the candidates on yesterday’s ballot? If you have had time to watch Fox News and CNN in recent weeks, but little time to get your face and heart in your Bible, for example, I humbly suggest that you ought to reevaluate your priorities.
The pursuit of holiness.
Yes, we all despise crooked politicians, and rightly so. We are right to lament the corruption in our government and to mourn the fallen state of our culture. The longing we feel in our hearts for the day when all injustice will be brought to an end and a righteous King rules on the earth is a good and righteous longing.
However, are we as passionate about putting our own sin to death as we are about exposing corruption in our political leaders? Are we as bothered about the sin that still dwells within us as we are about the sins of political candidates? For what will it profit a man to win every election and lose his soul in the end? It does no good to pursue the cleansing of our government if we are not committed to mortifying our own personal sin and the sin in our churches.
The pursuit of love.
There are few things as precious in the sight of God as the church he saved by the blood of his Son. How are you doing at loving Christ’s church, Christian? The political culture is certainly filled with more entertainment and fireworks than the local church. But, as John Piper said a few years ago, “One day America and all its presidents will be a footnote in history, [while] God’s kingdom will never end.”
The state of your local church is more important and far more relevant to the health of your soul (and the souls of those around you) than the political climate of our nation. A Christian will do far more good for his country by loving people in his local church than he will ever do in a voting booth. If we want to do good for our country, there’s no better place to start than by loving people well, particularly those whom God has placed in our local churches.
The pursuit of lost souls.
I often marvel at how willing some Christians seem to speak up (and even offend others) about a specific political candidate, while many of us seem to have so little to say about Jesus. We want so badly for people to embrace our political views and yet feel very little anguish about the fact that many of our friends remain lost and without God in the world.
I can’t help but wonder what may happen in our nation if American Christians were as passionate about presenting the gospel in clear, biblical, articulate, and winsome ways as they were about rocking the vote and electing sinners into political office. How encouraging it would be to see the church far more concerned with the spread of the gospel, than it is with winning elections.
The pursuit of prayer.
Lest we forget, the call to pray for government leaders is right up there at the top of God’s list of priorities for his church (1 Timothy 2:1-5). What a privilege it is for believers to intercede for our political leaders. We need to ask God to save them by his grace and give them wisdom to govern well. It is one of the best things we can do for them, and one of the clearest ways we can express our ultimate allegiance to the God who rules over them.
Daydream with me for a minute, will you? How might the state of our nation (and our churches) be affected if Christians poured the kind of energy they pour into politics into the pursuits listed here instead? It’s worth considering, because these are the kinds of pursuits that God prioritizes for us in his Word. Our souls, our churches, and our nation would all be better off if Christians treated these pursuits as pursuits that are more important than politics.