25 Nov 2019
When one of my colleagues heard I was writing this blog post, he asked me if I’d be calling it, “Where would Jesus put His cross?” The answer, of course, is no! This is not a party political blog post, not trying to sway people to vote in one direction or another. That’s not my place.
But a more serious answer to my colleague’s joking question is this: we already know where Jesus placed His cross. He placed it on His shoulders, walked with it to Calvary and died on it. For you. And for me. He did not put His own needs, His own comfort and His own security ahead of what He knew was a far more important cause. He prayed,
“not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
That was the attitude Jesus took with His cross, and I believe it sums up the attitude we must adopt if we are followers of Jesus when we come to place our cross in a box on 12th December.
So here are 3 bits of advice for Christians who are voting.
1. Jesus Would Vote
First things first, I believe if He lived in our society today Jesus would actually vote. He wouldn’t stay at home on polling day, but would get involved and cast His vote as a citizen.
Jesus was a citizen of His nation in His day, and behaved like a good one. He was respectful of the authorities. He promoted paying tax to those authorities. He submitted to their rule. He submitted to their arrest, their trial, their processes and their sentence. Those authorities were often immoral, the tax system corrupt, the arrest wrong, the trial biased and the sentence wrong. But Jesus models living within those systems while speaking prophetically into them, not removing ourselves from them because they aren’t perfect or even aren’t good at all.
It can be tempting to think that because there are broken parts of our system we just won’t bother. We want nothing to do with it. The example of Jesus, and the instruction of the New Testament, is to play our part as a citizen. Challenge what is wrong, respectfully and strongly, but always be involved.
If He were eligible to do so, Jesus would vote on 12th December.
2. Jesus Would Pray Before Voting
Seems obvious, I know. In fact you’re probably tempted to skip to the next heading! I hope you haven’t…
Jesus prayed. A lot! Twice Jesus stayed up all night praying. Once was before He would be arrested and taken to be killed. The other was before He chose the twelve disciples, appointing those who He wanted to lead in His Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is NOT the United Kingdom, so I don’t want to draw the parallel too strongly, but Jesus thought choosing leaders was a big deal and worth praying about in earnest.
And when He prayed, He did so to determine the will of His Father. Jesus could say with all honesty about Himself, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” He could say that because He spent time with His Father, in prayer. He knew what the Father was doing, and He could partner with that.
Most of us have political preferences and thoughts of our own. If we pray expecting those to be confirmed, with no room for them to be challenged, can I suggest we pray again? Pray aiming to listen to God’s leading and ready to be obedient to His voice, no matter what that means.
We pray that God might reveal His desires to us, not to confirm the choices we’ve already made.
3. Jesus Would Vote With Kingdom Priorities
Jesus had His life lived the right way round. He belonged to Heaven, and lived His earthly life in light of that. He did not live His earthly life and then try to squeeze a heavenly dimension into it.
His political, social, moral, relational, emotional, rational and geographical life, views and priorities ALL flowed out of His spiritual perspective. For us to be like Jesus in this, we need to let our primary identity and priorities flow out of our status as citizens of God’s Kingdom. Before we are citizens of the nation we are part of, we are citizens of heaven. Before we are politically motivated (to the right, or left or somewhere in between) we are motivated by the priorities of God. Before we are politically affiliated (to a particular party) we are affiliated to Christ.
This means that when we read manifestos, make decisions and decide where to cast our vote, we need to be guided by God’s desires and purposes for society. That means justice, mercy, holiness, truth and peace (as well as many other things) must be part of our thinking, praying and deciding.
If you are more taken with what is ‘best for the economy’, what is ‘in the national interest’ or what will ‘keep our nation strong’ than we are with what will advance God’s Kingdom priorities, we may be living our lives the wrong way round. These are not always opposites, but we need to ask ourselves which is primary in our lives.
Perhaps as you read manifestos and listen to politicians and pundits, you might also read one of the Gospels in the Bible and listen to Jesus’ heart for His people and His world.
I hope and pray you find this helpful as you prepare to vote. May God’s will be done, and His Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.