Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Vote, But Don't Put Your Hope in the Outcome

Today is Election Day in America. The media hype and dialogue around the dinner table has not been higher in years. Many believe this is the "most important election in our lifetime," and the outcome will determine the well being of our lives and country for decades to come.

I agree this is an important election. They all are, but, I want to give some perspective to this one.

First, I voted. I hope you did too. This is one of the greatest privileges we have a citizens of the United States of America. Make the effort. Demonstrate your beliefs by casting a ballot for those things that matter to you. Many have died to give you this privilege, so, get out, stand in line if you must, but vote.

As you do, here's another perspective for your vote if you are a Christian.

Followers of Jesus have dual citizenship. Paul reminded his readers, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Phil. 3:20) As a Christian, our citizenship in heaven trumps our citizenship in whatever country we live. Whatever the outcome of the election, our hope is not complete nor destroyed by who wins or loses because we ultimately "eagerly await a Savior" from our homeland, heaven.

Followers of Jesus have only one Leader. As a follower of Jesus, our ultimate loyalty and dependence is upon our Leader, Jesus. Party and family loyalty is second to the One who rescued us and calls us to join the mission of God. Jesus was plain when he said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even life itself—such a person cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26) We state our loyalty to a candidate or platform, but we confess our highest loyalty to Christ.

Followers of Jesus have a global mission. I live by a value that whatever I preach/teach/say as a Christian here should be the truth no matter the culture or country in which I say it. This guides how I frame my comments and beliefs wherever I go. Yes, I have an opinion on local, state, and national issues. A message or value based on the teachings of Jesus and Scripture is not limited to a single issue or framed in local language only. Our values and way of life as followers of Jesus should be transferable to any culture and people. Be careful not to isolate your expression of faith to a single issue in a single locale.

Followers of Jesus do not depend on government and culture to carry out the mission of God. I have traveled to countries like Laos, Russia, China, Cuba, and Vietnam. None of those countries or cultures support the movement of Jesus. Some even imprison and persecute those who follow Jesus. Yet, the "called out ones" are alive and well and in most cases, thriving. The followers of Jesus there do not work to have a Christian government. They have no vote or say in the public square. They, however, seek to establish the kingdom of God "on earth as it is in heaven" no matter the support they get from government or culture. We as Christians in America can learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

Vote, but don't put your hope in the outcome. Don't count on the one you voted for to solve all our country's problems. That person will disappoint you. S/he is human like us, and s/he is a sinner like us. S/he can't guarantee our future any more than the last candidate promised s/he could. Peter, who wrote during a time the local culture began to harass Christians, reminded them, "...with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming." (1 Peter 1:13) Our hope is in Jesus, the Christ, not in an elected official or political party.

One last thought. Whatever the outcome I will not change what I am doing. My call is from God to God, not in the victory or loss of a political candidate. Whoever wins, whatever the laws that follow, as a follower of Jesus I will continue to worship, serve, and love in the name of their Leader. That's my prayer for us all on this Election Day in America.

Comment https://www.facebook.com/gene.wilkes1 or tweet @gene_wilkes tonight. I'll be watching the returns after I teach a class at Legacy Church for B H Carroll tonight.

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