Voting is far more than just a secular responsibility. It is an activity with a spiritual component that should be taken seriously by all Christian people. Have you ever considered how your commitment to God (or lack of it) may be reflected in the way you vote?
In Matthew 6:25-33 Jesus deals with matters of low and high priority. He does this because our priorities can often be out of kilter. The things that he tells us not to worry about are often the very things that we do worry about, and the things that he says should be of first priority for us are things we often neglect.
To a self-obsessed culture such as ours Jesus’ words sound positively absurd: “I tell you,” he says, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”
Knowing our tendency to fret, he comforts us by reminding us of God’s faithful provision and our worth: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
He gently rebukes us for our lack of trust in God: “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
He reminds us that a lack of trust in God’s faithful provision is a characteristic of unbelievers, and not of believers: “For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
Having dealt with matters that should not cause us undue concern, Jesus then turns to matters of highest priority: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus wants us to let go of our worries and to trust in God to meet all of our physical needs. He wants us to let our spirits rise above ordinary concerns, and to be caught up doing the King’s work. Therefore, he urges us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”.
There is both a personal and a national aspect to seeking “the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” At the personal level, God’s kingdom must be established in each of our hearts individually, and each of us must individually seek God’s righteousness in our own lives. Jesus must be welcomed into each of our hearts. He must establish his kingdom, where he reigns supreme, within. And then we must strive to make sure that our personal behaviour is in keeping with his character and commands, and sensitive to his Spirit. We should seek to become truly holy people. We should seek after a holy character more than we seek after riches. We should seek to be righteous, not wealthy. We should seek, not to be great, but to be good, not to be rich, but to be generous, not to be famous, but to be humble, not to be served, but to serve. This should be our great goal; “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
But there is also a wider aspect to seeking after the kingdom of God and his righteousness. As Christians, we should also seek to promote God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness (his standards of right and wrong) everywhere, and this includes before our lawmakers, especially when our lawmakers abandon a belief in the sanctity of life, when they turn against Christian moral values, and when they abandon the traditional family.
Can we really be seeking as our first priority God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness if we are so apathetic that we vote for candidates who oppose the Judeo-Christian ethic, the sanctity of life, and the importance of the traditional family?
If our first and highest priority is God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, then our loyalty to him should eclipse our loyalty to any political party or any political candidate. Now, it may be that we have always voted for a particular party because we believe that that party defends the rights of workers, or we have voted for a particular party because we believe that that party defends the rights of small businesses, or we have voted for a particular party because we believe that party will provide financial security, or that party will provide national security, or that party is committed to preserving the environment, and so forth.
These considerations are not bad. They do have some bearing on our decisions. But the problem from God’s perspective is this: worker’s rights, business rights, a secure financial future, concern for the environment and so forth are not what God has called us to be primarily concerned about. Jesus has told us what we should really be concerned about. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”. Our foremost consideration as Christians is the advancement of the kingdom of God and the advancement of God’s righteousness throughout our state and nation.
But when it comes to voting, we often fall back into the old pattern of putting ourselves first, of trying to preserve our own interests. We forget or ignore the advice of Jesus and fall back into the pagan pattern of putting self first.
This is in conflict to the life of faith. We must stop thinking about our own interests and start thinking about God’s interests. Rather than trying to be the captains of our own fortunes, we should trust God to do that for us. We have nothing to worry about. If he looks after the birds and beasts, his lower creatures, he will look after us too. We have higher and nobler priorities. The advancement of the King’s kingdom! The advancement of the King’s righteousness! Let these goals occupy our minds when we cast our votes. Let us turn an activity that is perceived as a mere secular obligation into a strategic spiritual act of obedience to God.
Christians are called to submit every aspect of their lives to God. This is essential today as a myriad of foundational Christian values are under attack in Western Australia. Some parties, like the Greens and Democrats have radical social agendas that seek to eradicate Christian values from this state and nation. Name the topic—human embryo screening, embryo experimentation, embryo cloning, early and late term abortion, passive and active euthanasia, homosexual and lesbian rights, homosexual and lesbian adoption, drugs, pornography, prostitution, religious education, and on and on—name the topic and you will observe that on each of these issues these parties are diametrically opposed to Christian values. It is time to acknowledge that fact, and vote accordingly.
Since the Labor Government came to power in 2001, homosexual couples have been granted identical rights to married couples, the age at which homosexuals could lawfully engage in acts of sodomy has been reduced from 21 to 16, and homosexual and lesbian couples have been granted the legal right to adopt children. Since Labor came to power, the prohibition against teaching homosexuality as a normal, healthy alternative to heterosexuality has been lifted so that children in our public schools are now being re-educated. Since Labor came to power, laws prohibiting growing marijuana in homes have been fatally weakened. Since Labor came to power, human embryos have been stripped of their protection and can now be used in lethal experimentation. Since Labor came to power prostitution for our state’s daughters has been effectively legalised. Every one of these pieces of legislation violates Christian morality and offends God.
And what about the Liberal Party? In 1998, the Liberals, under Premier Richard Court, legalised abortion. Over the past 10 years 80,000 unborn children have been put to death with state sanction. During their last term in government, the Liberals attempted to legalise prostitution, but failed.
On the positive side, the Liberals have promised, if elected, to repeal some of the worst aspects of the homosexual legislation including adoption rights and lifting the age of consent for homosexual sex to 18, as well as repealing the Cannabis Control Act 2003, and the recent prostitution legislation. These are good promises, but will the Liberals keep them?
What voting options are available for Christians seeking to advance God’s kingdom and righteousness in their neighbourhoods and state? There are a number of political parties with more conservative and pro-Christian views including the Christian Democratic Party and Family First. But there is only one political party in Western Australia that is unapologetically Christian and that is the party that has the name “Christian” in its name. The Christian Democratic Party will surely place Christians in parliament if Christian voters will rethink their priorities and instead of concentrating in the first instance on their own perceived welfare, consider how they should vote to best advance God’s kingdom and righteousness. (Of course, in reality, perceived welfare and real welfare are two very different matters, for when the state devalues life by sanctioning abortion, embryo experimentation and cloning, when it undermines marriage and harms the traditional family by granting homosexuals equivalent rights to married heterosexual couples, when it eases drug laws and legalises prostitution for our daughters, everyone is harmed, and harmed greatly.)
Again, Jesus says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”. For those who humbly do that he offers this promise and consolation, “and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Are we really trusting in God? Then hear what Jesus promises us, “and all these things will be given to you as well.” If we make God’s priorities our priorities, God will provide us with all that is necessary for this life.
“All these things.” The psalmist declares, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” God has promised, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” David said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
“All these things.” We may be genuinely concerned about many necessary things, including employment, accommodation and the necessities of life. But we should put God first, seek after his kingdom and righteousness as our highest priority, and trust in him. He loves us and watches over us jealously. He is ever mindful of our needs. Then we will advance God’s kingdom and righteousness, and he will faithfully supply all our needs. All of them.
Dwight Randall, in addition to being the Director of Life Ministries, is the Vice President of the Christian Democratic Party in Western Australia. He stood for the Christian Democratic Party in the Legislative Council in the North Metropolitan Region in 2005. He has been endorsed to stand again as the lead candidate for the Upper House in the East Metropolitan Region in the forthcoming state election that will take place on 6th September 2008.