Politics is like the weather, there’s a lot of it about! Let’s be honest, over the last 36 months or so the UK has certainly had its fair share of politics and elections. There’s been a General Election, a referendum on Scottish Independence which failed and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are now planning yet another one. Of course, there was the momentous Brexit referendum with the far-reaching result not only dividing our nation and sending major reverberations throughout the British political system, but also shaking the core of the whole of Europe. Meanwhile this month sees us going to the polling stations again for local elections.
And then, just as if we weren’t all totally exhausted and exasperated where the ballot box is concerned – our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, (after insisting there wouldn’t be another general election until 2020), out of the blue on Tuesday 18th April 2017 calls for a snap General Election to take place on the 8 June 2017. You know what they say, a week is a very long time in politics, my, my, how things change so fast at Westminster!
Now in fairness to Mrs May, it’s understandable why she feels she needs to do this. It would seem the political system in Britain has lost its way. The Prime Minister claims that divisions at Westminster among the various parties risk hampering the all-important Brexit negotiations. Mrs May, who has a fragile working majority of just 17 in the Commons, said she wanted “unity” at Westminster as talks on Brexit begin in earnest with the European Union. Indeed, calling a General Election is a huge political gamble for her. She’s done it because she knows if she returns to No 10 it will give her a clear mandate to get on with the vital negotiations. She believes it will give her a much stronger hand to get the best possible financial, trade and border deal for the UK. She has perhaps realised what the scriptures have always said, ‘a house divided against itself can never ever stand?’
So in it all, what should our response as Christians be to another General Election being called. Here are a number of things we should all keep in the forefront of our minds when it comes to such matters.
1. The God we serve is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It is He who is in ultimate control.
We must never forget that our ultimate allegiance is to God and God alone. The fact and truth of the matter is – God is over all—no matter who the Prime Minister is, no matter what MPs get elected. He has remained God throughout history, and He will remain God when the election is over – in this country, and all around the world. It is therefore crucial to seek Him to know which way He would have you vote, the important thing is you put aside your political bias and put the Lord first in the way you vote.
We must never forget that the One who holds the future of this country, of our lives, of the past and present and all of eternity is the God we serve.
In this light consider the following verses:
“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)
“The LORD is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 113:4)
2. God’s will cannot be thwarted or diverted.
You can be confident that our God will bring to pass everything He has planned (see Daniel 4:34-35). People may well abuse their power and use their influence in ways that harm others—ranging from innocent mistakes to downright purposeful evil, or simply through being misguided or misinformed—but no-one can waylay God’s overall plan and purpose. Our God is far above all earthly power. Whatever happens, no matter how bad or desperate it seems, God can somehow bring good and work His will out in any situation. He reigns and He will continue to do so, of this we can sure! The book of Job is clear in chapter 42:2 where it says “God can do all things; no purpose of His can ever be thwarted.”
Does this mean then that if God is going to fulfil His purpose and have His way come what may, then there is no point voting in the first place, or why shouldn’t we just vote for whoever because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter? Well, of course, it doesn’t mean that at all. The fact is, God often invites us to work with Him in bringing about His will and establishing His purpose in this world. So casting your vote in the way He directs you is important. Here are a couple of verses for you to meditate on concerning this.
“Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him.” (Psalm 72:11)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
3. We are defined not by who we vote for, but by Who we follow.
It is imperative to remember that as Christians, our identity and self-worth are rooted in who God says we are — and He says we are forgiven, chosen, loved, adopted, welcomed, justified and redeemed, grafted into the vine, heirs and co-heirs with Christ. We are God’s children. We can’t earn our place in His kingdom but we can let ourselves be changed by His love—and in turn, lavish it on others.
It is not political persuasions, ideologies, politicians or political upheaval that defines us, it’s the fact that we are the redeemed of the Lord and as such children of the living God. Check out these two verses.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)
“In Him we live and move and have our being!” (Acts 17:28)
4. No single Political Party or Manifesto will ever fully represent the teachings of Jesus.
To be a Christian means simply to follow Jesus Christ. Each believer should do this to the best of their ability, guided by our interpretations of the Bible and the Holy Spirit. It’s interesting to note that from a political point of view the Bible doesn’t mention Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP, SNP or Plaid Cymru or The Raving Loony Party or any other modern day political party but instead it does warn of the Pharisees and their dogmatic teachings. So whatever you do don’t buy into the rhetoric that insists you must vote a certain way if you are a Christian.
Furthermore, the way you have always voted and the ideals you held and the way you voted before you came to Christ perhaps shouldn’t come into it anymore. Instead, ground yourself in the one truth that we need to seek God first. We need to acknowledge Him in all our ways – and this includes in the way we vote and who we vote for. Just as the following two verses tell us to.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
5. If another Christian believes they should vote differently to you there is no place for division or argument.
Remember, there is no precedent in scripture for causing division and animosity with those we disagree with. We are taught that our behaviour and responses to what we encounter matter to God, and they’re the only things we have any control over. We need to hold ourselves accountable and seek God’s wisdom and discernment. No matter how you vote there still needs to be unity within the body of Christ.
There will be those who vote differently to you and genuinely believe they are doing what God has told them to do. However we mustn’t give the devil a foothold in the way we respond to those we disagree with. Indeed, we are called to be Christlike in everything we do and say, (including posting messages on social media sites) and with whoever and whatever crosses our path. If you want scriptural confirmation in this, just take a look at the following scriptures.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” (Romans 16:17-19)
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Now it’s staggering when you think about how much hope people actually place in politics. In truth, politics is important but it certainly isn’t the panoramic answer to the broken society in which we live. If it was, then our nation and world would be in a far better and decent place than it finds itself in today, that’s for certain.
There is no doubt politics is shifting sand. Therefore our hope has to be built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness – for on Christ the solid rock we stand, all other ground, (including political ground), is nothing but sinking sand.
You see politicians and political parties rise and fall and come and go, but Jesus, His Kingdom and His church are not only here to stay, they are advancing at a phenomenal rate. Jesus said ‘I will build my Church.’
So keep your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, keep looking to Him, the Author and Finisher of your faith.
This said, we want to encourage you all to earnestly seek God concerning how you should vote. We passionately believe that all Christians should exercise their vote on June 8th. But who should you vote for? Well that’s for you to do exactly how God tells you to vote.