How I Plan to Vote on November 8
that are equally useful for any Jesus follower.
Right before the 2020 election, TIME magazine shared a series of short stories from Americans determined to vote that November despite all challenges—stories designed to inspire voters everywhere to fulfill their American duty as citizens.
These individuals shared stories of family members and historical figures who, because of their race, faced and overcame all kinds of obstacles to voting. The message for us is that voting in 2022 is a way to honor the men and women who once did not have that right or could not exercise it due to racist violence, intimidation, poll taxes, and literacy tests.
For example, one woman, Jewel, told why she was determined to vote in the next election: “Last night, I asked my 94-year-old grandmother if she’d voted. She said since age 21, she has never missed an opportunity to vote. She reminded me that for her first several elections, she had to pay poll taxes and take unreasonable literacy tests to vote—but was never once deterred.”
Even so, Jewel said she is now strongly motivated to not let herself be stopped by anything—weather, long lines, physical weakness, intimidations—that might keep her from getting to a voting booth on the second Tuesday in November.
How excited are you about voting this year?
How about you? What is motivating you to cast your ballot this next week? Or are you less than thrilled over doing so? Do you feel discouraged that your vote might not even make a difference?
Well, it will!
Your vote this year will be inextricably woven into how God is fulfilling his plan for the ages in Christ Jesus. Did you know that?
Today, the Lord of all lords, our Savior King, reigns in our nation as “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1), exalted above all earthly powers (Eph. 1), to whom the Father has already gifted the nations (and their leaders) as his inheritance (Ps. 2). At this hour, he is extending his scepter to exercise all authority amid governments, assemblies, congresses, White Houses, governors’ mansions, state legislatures, city councils—and more (Ps. 110).
Furthermore, the Bible says of every candidate that wins an office this fall: “The king’s heart is a waterway in the hand of the LORD; He directs it where He pleases.” (Prov. 21)
Remember, when anointing the lowly shepherd David to be the king of Israel, the prophet Samuel reminded David’s father, Jesse, that people look on a person’s outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart (1 Sam. 16). Even so, today our Father continues to penetrate and move in the hearts of the leaders we put in office, whether they know it or not.
Therefore, shouldn’t the truth that we are playing a strategic role in this glorious drama, as Jesus followers, motivate us as Christians to jump right in—no matter what roadblocks we may face—to get to the nearest polling place next Tuesday?
The fact is that Christians, as citizens of the USA in the 21st century, share a privilege very few generations of believers have known in the history of the Church. And it is this:
By our votes, we have the high and unique calling of helping to put into leadership (from whatever party) those whose hearts, priorities, standards, and values render them far more pliable and guidable by the Holy Spirit, even if they are not Jesus followers themselves.
Such leaders can end up enacting policies and taking our nation in directions that are at least auxiliary to—or even more so, collaborative with—the ongoing advance of the redeeming reign of Christ in this hour, thus increasing the unfolding of God’s kingdom and God’s will on earth just as it already is being done in the heavens from which Jesus reigns among us.
So, if your vote is truly that sacred and affects eternal issues, how precisely should a Christian vote?
How I plan to vote this November 8:
Guidelines based on the 7 Cs
As I wrote in a blog post two years ago, my voting is always guided by seven principles or guidelines that are related to the moral and spiritual dimensions of political leadership—something unbelievers may never consider. For certain, the mainstream media does not.
I’m convinced Christians must not just choose any person simply because he or she promises us that if they get hold of the political levers of power, they will use that power to secure policies and directions that we as believers would want to see implemented in our nation.
It is never a good approach to life to justify what we do—including who we vote for—merely on the assumption that “the ends justify the means.” For you see, history, as well as our own life experiences, prove over and over again that if the means we choose—such as the person we vote into office—contradicts or violates in any way the ends we hope for, as godly as they may have been, ultimately the outcomes will be defiled. As Jesus indicated: A sick tree produces sick fruit. It can turn out no other way.
This is the central thesis of all three large volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: that the pursuit of power to achieve certain goals, even if those consist of righteous causes, ultimately corrupts anyone involved, not only if they gain the power they seek but even by the process of pursuing it.
In the eyes of God and under the reign of Jesus, the means we undertake are just as crucial as the ends we seek to achieve. In fact, it would be appropriate to say that in God’s kingdom, God’s Son is both the end and the means to that end. Accordingly, our approach to these midterm elections must keep that fundamental truth in view.
Therefore, to help sort out all the candidates presented to us on our ballots, I began a long time ago approaching the options using seven guidelines. To make them easy to remember, I use keywords beginning with “C.” They are listed below. I suggest synonyms with each of the seven words that expand on what is most important to me.
One important caveat before I begin:
It goes without saying that when applying any of these guidelines to anyone running for office, locally or nationally, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, there are NO perfect candidates—ever!
For sure, not one candidate on next week’s ballot fully measures up to these standards. Every politician is frail, finite, and/or fallen in some way. None at any level asking for my vote exhibit a flawless match to any of the seven guidelines.
Need I remind us that we have not yet arrived at “the new heavens and earth” (Rev. 21)! Even the most appealing candidates we may choose will give us, at best, only a glimmer of the leadership the whole creation is yearning for but won’t experience until Christ returns. Philippians 3:20-21 states it like this:
We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ . . . He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. (The Message)
Even so, I can choose to vote for only those who approximate to some degree who Jesus is and how he is leading forth at this hour in the reclamation of the whole creation, including our own nation.
With that in mind, here are the seven guidelines:
1. CHARACTER: As we’re often reminded, “Character is destiny.” Therefore, as I consider a candidate’s life, I look for qualities like uprightness, truthfulness, nobleness, teachability, dignity, empathy, humility, and principled moral standards—to name a few. What else would you add? How important do you think character is as a means to the outcomes you desire?
2. COMPETENT: Is the person capable, proficient, gifted, skillful, intelligent, experienced, proven, productive, energetic? In other words, are they up to the job? How important is that to you in terms of reaching the goals you have in mind?
3. CONSISTENT: Have they shown themselves to be solid, firm, dependable, stable, steadfast, and resolute in their convictions? Do their private and public lives match up? Do they keep their promises? Does this even matter in reaching the ends you desire?
4. CONCILIATORY: Are they predisposed toward building bridges, peacemaking, and mediating for conflicting parties whenever possible? Does their leadership style bring healthiness to a group or situation as they calm, disarm, diffuse, and/or affirm? Do they show respect toward the opposition—even as they lobby for the agenda they believe in? If this is lacking, will that impact the final outcome of their leadership and where they take us?
5. COLLABORATIVE: Similarly, do they put a high premium on working with others toward the common good? Are they active listeners, open-minded, transparent, reasonably flexible, conducive to seeking compromise, and willing to share credit for successes? Are they convinced that to achieve the best results, we need one another? Do they entertain creative alternatives that might result in win-win outcomes? As a means to making the changes you long to see, is this a strength that needs to be present?
6. COURAGEOUS: When faced with challenges or opposition—or temporary setbacks—does the candidate continue to display boldness, bravery, fearlessness, and even audacity as they pursue what they feel is right? In struggles that arise in any political arena, have they shown themselves to be resilient and persistent? Do they instill similar courage in those around them? But even as they need to stand their ground, do they regularly show kindness and respect toward those who disagree with them? What difference would it make if your candidate exhibits this quality or not in their leadership?
Now for the most important “C” of all: CHRIST
7. CHRIST: I hinted at this seventh guideline above. Obviously, for Jesus followers, the overriding touchstone in any decision—and certainly in our decision about who to vote into office—must be the person of Christ himself.
To start with, we need to look again at how seriously Jesus confronted people in leadership. He did so more often than with any other segment of the population in his nation.
Recall that the Sadducees and Pharisees were very similar to our national leaders because, under the watchful eye of Rome, they took responsibility for both government and religion, which were melded under one authority. So, the insights we gain from Jesus’ words to them hold useful relevancy for our leaders in local, state, or national government today.
Remember, the people we choose to lead us and how they lead us retain equal priority today in the eyes of God’s reigning Son since he remains Lord of them all and the judge of them all.
Therefore, just listen to this sample of his evaluation of those in charge in Matthew 23 (from The Message), and ask yourself: Would Jesus end up saying similar things to any of the candidates on the ballot this fall—especially at the federal level—if he confronted them face to face, here and now?
“You [leaders] are hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.” (vs. 23-24)
“You [leaders] are hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ . . . A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.” (vs. 16, 22)
“You [leaders] are hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down, it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin, you’re total frauds.” (vs. 27-28)
That’s very sobering language from the One before whom all earth’s leaders will one day stand at the judgment seat! And note, it is all about revealing who they are as people—it’s all about their hearts.
Next, look at how Matthew 23 ends. Jesus weeps over these leaders and their fellow Israelites. Why? Because so often, he wanted to draw them to himself as their Master and Savior, but they refused his offer. Instead, they stuck to their wayward patterns. Consequently, as Jesus knew, in forty years (in 70 A.D.), God would send the entire nation into a millennia-long exile.
That outcome is worth pondering for America in 2022 as we select our leaders at the polls in a few weeks, wouldn’t you agree?
Many are claiming this will be the most critical midterm election in US history. Without a doubt, at the same time, raising up the proper leadership for America today also must be a defining issue for the Kingdom and its King.
With that background, let me suggest four applications of the seventh guideline—the “CHRIST” principle:
• Does the candidate ever openly indicate in some fashion that they have been “Christ-conquered”? In our secularized culture, most are not. But some have been. There are candidates on the ballot this fall who have given their whole lives over to God’s Son as their sovereign Redeemer. Potentially, those who have will want to bring kingdom ways into their approach to leadership. “Those who confess me publicly, I will confess before my Father,” Jesus promised. What if we had people like that in office?
• At a less demanding level, do they at least seem to be somewhat “Christ-aware”? In the prophetic words of Psalm 2, pagan rulers are called upon to exhibit such sober reverence toward Christ himself and take him seriously. So, ask: Have any current candidates shown a measure of what Scripture terms “the fear of the Lord”? That means they have some concern that their leadership, their policies, and the ultimate outcomes of their leadership will be “pleasing to the Lord”—at least as best as they know who Jesus is and can determine what God wants, even if they are not yet conquered (and saved) by him.
• Even if not conquered or aware, at least do they exhibit a way of life that is “Christlike”—for example, in how they treat people, with the values they promote, and in the policies they work on? They may not yet have put their faith in Christ; still, they may manifest Christlike qualities. And if so, those qualities hold out promise for godlier, more effective service to the community or nation in keeping with the ways of God’s kingdom.
• Finally—and this applies to every single candidate, whether Christian or not: Is their approach to leadership—both in terms of style and substance, and certainly in terms of policies—at least “Christ-compatible”? To say it another way: How many of their policy initiatives are moving in directions supportive of, and not in opposition to, the goals of the kingdom of God? How many of their priorities, knowingly or unknowingly, line up with the righteous values and standards of the reign of Christ? Of highest importance, will their leadership be conducive to allowing and even encouraging the free spread of the gospel in our land?
So how will YOU vote during election year 2022?
Until that glorious day of Christ’s reign upon the earth, we must vote! If we choose not to vote, that very act itself IS a “vote.”
You will be stepping into a voting booth or visiting a drop box in just a few days or hours. How will you respond to the choices before you at that seminal moment?
Of course, before marking your choices, you want to be sure you know something about the platform and policies your candidates already embrace and their track record pursuing those issues. So, be sure you do your homework.
But this blog post argues that there is something even more important than party platforms and policies—something prior, something more fundamental.
In addition, we need to ask: What kind of character does this candidate exhibit? Does she or he lead with a measure of competency and consistency? Do they tend to be fairly conciliatory and collaborative in their approaches? Are they courageous, holding firmly to certain convictions?
But above all: Which candidate comes closest to being either Christ-conquered, or Christ-aware, or Christ-like, or at least Christ-compatible?
In the end, from an eternal perspective, any election is far more about the quality of the persons than about the precision of their politics. As Scripture warns all of us in Proverbs 4:23 (emphasis added):
“Above all else, guard your HEART,
for EVERYTHING you do flows from IT.”
VOTE!—even though you know whomever you choose won’t be perfect or in perfect alignment with every one of your top priorities and values as a Jesus follower. Still, try to vote for the leaders you believe have a heart that will help secure kingdom-type outcomes for your communities and our nation.
VOTE! Soberly. Boldly. Prayerfully. With your eyes fixed on furthering God’s glory.
VOTE! Make it an act of worship. Do it as unto the living, reigning Lord Jesus Christ, King of the ages, whose will, ways, works, and worth will prevail throughout the earth long after every other authority has passed away.
VOTE! Do so with passionate and unceasing intercession for a spiritual and moral revolution in our nation—for an American CHRIST Awakening. We possess no more strategic option than our fervent prayer plus our informed and purposeful vote this fall to secure a better future for spreading the saving reign of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Check out the short video from CHRIST NOW titled Our Vision of America here.
Join our growing Nationwide Campaign for an American CHRIST Awakening here.
About the Author
Over the past 45 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ Awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com. Enjoy his regular CHRIST TODAY podcast.