How Should Christians Vote?

With the Presidential election just a couple of days away I’m guessing most of you are pretty tired of all the political ads and campaign coverage flooding your television sets.

I heard a good story this week about a four-year-old girl whose dad who had been watching the presidential campaign coverage. She tugged on his pant leg and begged him to stop and read her a fairy tale. Weary from all the political ads, he agreed and began reading the fairy tale. No sooner had he begun, however, than she interrupted him and asked, “Daddy, do all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time?’” He responded, “No, sweetheart, most fairy tales begin with, ‘And when I’m elected…’”

A lot of people feel like faith and politics don’t mix well. In fact, politics is almost a foul word in our culture. Just about the worst thing you can be today is a politician.

I read about a busload of politicians that were driving down a country road when the bus suddenly ran off the road and crashed into an old farmer’s field. The old farmer heard the crash so he rushed over to investigate. He then began digging a large grave to bury all the politicians.

A few hours later, the police showed up. The local sheriff asked what had happened to all the politicians, so the farmer explained that he’d gone ahead and buried all of them. “Were they ALL dead?” asked the puzzled sheriff.

The old farmer replied, “Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how them politicians lie.”

Like most, pastors I don’t like preaching politics and I don’t believe God has called pastors to tell people who to vote for. But I do believe that God’s Word has a lot to say about our relationship to government and the issues that are prominent in our country today.  So this morning, I just want to suggest three things Christians ought to do come Election Day. The first thing that Christians ought to do is pray!


Prayer is the most important thing we can do for our nation.

The Bible says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1–4 NLT).

Paul exhorts us in this passage to pray for our government leaders. Not just to pray about the outcome of the election, to pray that our guy wins—but to pray on their behalf. No leader of our government needs prayer more than the President of the United States. No one in our country needs divine guidance more than the President.

Abraham Lincoln describing his need for divine guidance as President once said, ‘‘I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom… seemed insufficient for the day.’’

George Washington, our first President, was absolutely right when he said, ‘‘It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.’’ Our President, whoever that may be, and our other leaders, need our prayers.

Okay, but what if that President holds different beliefs and convictions then we do? We need to remember that in this passage Paul is calling for prayer for Nero, a pagan king who ruthlessly persecuted the church. Regardless of who comes out ahead in Tuesday’s election, we’re still much better off than they were. So don’t just pray that your party wins, pray that God’s will is done.

Besides, when we pray for our President and our country, we’re acknowledging that God is really the one in charge. Remember, the Bible also says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (1 Chronicles 7:14 NIV). The first and most important thing we can do before and after Election Day is pray.


The second thing we need to do is prepare. We need examine the issues and the stances of all the candidates and test them in light of Scripture. Sadly, most people won’t do that. A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans say their faith has little to do with their voting decisions.

Instead, most people cast their votes based on what they think will be best for them or their families. Which candidate will preserve and protect my social security income? Which candidate promises me the most tax cuts, or the most health-care benefits, or the best chance for a better income? Which candidate will do the best job in helping me get what I want?

That’s no way for Christians to vote. God’s says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit. Rather, in humility value others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). The Bible has a lot to say about the issues that divide our nation, and as Christians we have a responsibility to be salt and light—to uphold Biblical values.

For instance, if you’re reading through Psalm 139, you cannot escape the references to the sanctity of life. Life is precious. Miraculous. Delicate. Life is created by a loving God, and is therefore a fundamental, God-given right according to the Declaration of Independence. The Bible urges us, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” (Proverbs 31:8 NLT). That is exactly what happens to millions of unborn babies each year in our country.

The Bible also gives us God’s definition of marriage and family. In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus defines marriage as one man and one woman united by God. Family is essential. Basic. Fundamental. Family is the first institution created by God (Gen. 1:27; 2:24). As goes the family, so goes the nation. Christians ought to defend the biblical definition of marriage.

When we look at issues like these, it’s easy to say the Bible is very conservative. And yet that would be incomplete, because you will also find in Scripture many passages about justice, the plight of the poor, treatment of the immigrant. For instance, Proverbs also says, “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9 NIV).

The Bible cuts against both parties, against all political persuasions. There were two political parties in Jesus’ day, too—the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Jesus didn’t stand with either of them. He criticized both.

In any election, we should understand that we are voting for the lesser of two evils. I don’t say that flippantly. Rather, I mean “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Unless Jesus is on the ballot, no candidate is perfect.

So it’s important for us to prepare—know the issues and know what the Bible has to say about them. Find out where the candidates stand and prayfully consider who best lines up with biblical values. Finally, the last thing Christians ought to do is participate.


In addition to praying and preparing, I think Christians need to participate on Election Day. There are many ways we can participate in our government, such as helping with a voter registration drive, commenting on legislation and public policy, speaking out on moral and social issues, holding public office, campaigning for a candidate, volunteering for the election commission, etc. Perhaps the most basic form of participation is voting—selecting our government. Voting is a simple act with a significant impact. When we vote, we help determine who will lead our nation, make our laws, and protect our freedoms.

One of our Founding Fathers, Samuel Adams, said: “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote… that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

John Jay, who was appointed by George Washington as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

Old proverb that is still true: “Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote.” The Bible says, “When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan” (Proverbs 29:2 NLT). And if you don’t vote, you have no right to groan!

Regardless of who you vote for, the most important thing is to acknowledge who’s really in charge. The Bible tells us, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” (Romans 13:1 NLT).


No matter who our next President will be our King will still be Jesus. He’s the one who occupies heaven’s throne and He alone sits as the ultimate government over all creation. Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lords of Lords.

He doesn’t have to run for office. He doesn’t need to be re-elected every four years. He’s always true to his word. He has power over the entire universe, over every single atom, and yet He is infinitely loving and He cares about you. He orchestrates and determines what He is going to do in your life, in my life, in the president’s life, in war-torn countries with rebellious rulers—everywhere!

The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12 NIV). But the truth is—if we want God to be the Lord of our nation, first we have to receive him as Lord of our own lives.

When you put your faith in politicians, parties, platforms, or even presidents, you’re bound to be disappointed. They might make a difference for a time, but putting your faith in Jesus will make a difference for eternity. He’s the only one who’s really worth pledging our loyalty to and the only one who will keep all of his promises—and that’s no fairytale.

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