"... choose for yourselves today whom you will serve." ~ Joshua 24:15
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As the Presidential Election of 2012 draws closer there are so many choices to make: Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney. Democrats vs Republicans. Liberals vs Conservatives. These choices aren't as easy to make as they may seem on the surface when viewed from a Kingdom perspective.
Many Christians take sides with their favorite candidates for reasons that sometimes fall outside the bounds of how we should judge candidates based on Biblical criteria. God's agenda is often left out of the conversation by those who fight for their choice selections. And it's not as easy as looking at just one or two divisive issues, such as abortion or gay marriage. Other issues such as poverty, healthcare, justice, foreign policy, the environment, and others are those which God communicated His standards and expectations for us throughout the Bible.
A passage in Joshua 5 gives a small glimpse as to how God deals with human conflicts, such as political battles. General Joshua was preparing to lead the Hebrews into war against Jericho when an angel showed up on the scene. Joshua asked him whether he was a friend or foe. The angel's response was "Neither, but as commander of the Lord's army I have now come." He then commanded Joshua to take off his sandals, because he was standing on holy ground. Joshua quickly complied (Joshua 5:13-15).
The lessons we can learn from this account is significant, because they demonstrate to us that God's agenda always comes first. The angel wasn't there to help Joshua's plan to destroy Jericho. He came to help Joshua fulfill God's plan to get His children to their promise land, and Jericho was in the way. Joshua recognized this, and we also need to recognize the things God is trying to accomplish in the earth and who/what needs to get out of His way.
Another political Biblical example to consider is King Saul. The people wanted a king, but God didn't want them to have a king, because He knew where that would lead. However, He allowed them their choice, but they ultimately suffered for it.
So how does this relate to our politics today? I'm glad you asked. The responsible thing to do as a Christian is to view all candidates and issues from Biblical perspective, not from the biased perspective of a party agenda or platform. Any time you assume one political party has a corner on God's agenda then you're in error. And any time you relate to a political party or racial identity more than how you relate to being a Kingdom citizen you're headed down the wrong path. Jesus identified with his Jewish heritage, but he never let his ethnicity keep him from dealing with his own people in truth.
God is just as concerned about aborted babies as He is about people living in poverty. He is just as concerned about healthy families built on the Biblical definition of marriage as He is about people not being stuck in oppressive cycles and systems of welfare. He expects people not to be lazy and use the gifts and talents He gave them, but He also expects us to utilize a system of justice that is moral, ethical, and fair to all people not just those with money. He is just as concerned about wars and famine as He is with people getting equal access to the healthcare resources they need to live high-quality lives.
God is not a conservative. God is not a liberal (other than how He loves). God is not a capitalist. God is not a socialist. God is not a communist. God is God and no man-made political party or economic system can define Him.
The common denominator in all this is that God is passionate about all people and their well-being. And He's against anyone or any thing that hurts, oppresses, manipulates, or marginalizes any of those He created.
I'm not writing to tell you who to vote for. I'm writing to encourage you how to vote. Christians should vote with a Kingdom-consciousness. With the Holy Spirit's leading, choose the candidates who most closely align with God's overall plan for this planet. So when election day comes, just make sure you're voting for God.
What are you thoughts about how Christian should engage politics?
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