Lately at Calvary we’ve been working our way through the Old Testament book of Daniel. The series is called “Dare to Thrive: When Lions Roar.” The series has been amazingly relevant for this political season. So I decided to share a few of the thoughts that are shaping my election day. (Warning: some of these will make more sense to those of you who have listened to the series – www.calvarysc.org/resources/sermons ).
- God is in control of who’s in control. When we say that God is in control, what we mean is that nothing is beyond him. Nothing catches him unaware. What He purposes to do he will do. No power in the world is greater than his power; no wisdom in the world is deeper than his wisdom; no hate in the world is greater than his love; no evil in the world is more real than his goodness. When you wake up on Wednesday morning, whether we have a Mr. President or a Mrs. President, our president will still serve by the will of our King.
- You need to know who your leader is before you vote for your president. In his book, “Follow Me” Jan Hettinga, writes, “The ultimate issue in the universe is leadership. Who you follow and what directs your life is the single most important thing about you.” Regardless of your vote, please, before you vote, make sure you can name your leader. Because if your leader is Christ and you have embraced the gospel, if you have surrendered your life to the King of Kings, the one who has received the Kingdom that will never be destroyed; if that Christ is your King, then you can have deep hope in the fact that on November 9, we will still have a King who is in control of who is in control.
- Seek God’s favor above all things. Perhaps, just like God gave the Israelites to King Nebuchadnezzer, (Daniel 1:1-2) when we wake on November 9, we will find that God has again given his people to a leader. And regardless of whether we end up with a Mr. President or a Mrs. President, I believe the reason is the same. God wants his people (not his country, his people) to know that politics is not better than his favor. He wants the people of God to seek the favor of God above all things. In the end Daniel isn’t the hero of his story. This story has less to do with Daniel’s courage, or Daniel’s convictions, and more to do with God’s favor.
- Choose Your Kingdom Well. There is only one Kingdom which will last forever. It’s the Kingdom of God. John tells us in the book of Revelation that at the end of time, the only party that will matter is the wedding party at the reception for Christ and his bride the church, at which there will be no donkey’s or elephants, only the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So live and love and work and play and vote as someone who is part of the family of the King who leads the Kingdom that will never end.
- Sometimes God doesn’t save us from the fire, because he wants to meet us in the fire. Perhaps the lesson here is simply, don’t try to vote your way out of the fire. Or don’t compromise your principles in order to stay out of the fire.
- God is looking for three qualities in a leader. I’m not sure that I’ve ever run across a better voter’s guide than the one found in Daniel 4. We often vote for the candidate that we think will bring us the best combination of comfort, control, affirmation, or power. But Daniel says to the King, if you want to lengthen your prosperity, if you want to thrive as a King, then humble your heart towards God, practice righteousness towards others, and show mercy to the oppressed. Ultimately God is sovereign over the Kingdoms of this world. He even has his hand in the choice of who rules, and on the day after the election I will surrender to God’s choice. But on election day I will do my best to choose a person who most exemplifies those qualities. What if the value of our vote has less to do with who wins and more to do with what we are telling God when we push the button?
- Finally vote with joy. For many of you this election feels heavy, momentous, country-changing. But I want to encourage you to vote with joy. You live in a country where you can vote; a country where Christians can run for office. Meanwhile if you are a Christ-follower, you are a citizen of a Kingdom that will never be shaken. Not only are you a citizen of that Kingdom, you are a member of the King’s family. That King is so full of life-shaping, world-changing love, that no one, no one, no one is beyond his pursuit. On November 9th, these truths will be just as true as they were on November 8. So vote like they are true…with joy!