“Then the angel said to me…this is the word of the Lord, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
As we have been approaching November 8, Election Day of 2016, I have engaged in many conversations about this election as well as receiving scores of e-mails, either seeking advice or giving me advice. I too ask he question, “How should Christians relate to politics in a society like ours? I’ve lived through a few elections. I cast my first vote for a U.S. President in 1976. I watched the rise of the Moral Majority, who, by the way was going to pull America out of the fire by filling the White House, the Senate, the Congress, and the Courts with Christians who would transform this country from the top down. It doesn’t seem that that experiment has worked out very well. Today we live in a nation that continues to turn its back on God, sanctioning that which the Bible calls abominable and trampling under foot that which the Bible identifies as holy.
Though we, in America, have the privilege to vote, there is no biblical mandate that says we must vote. In fact, no one that Jesus, or Peter, or Paul spoke to ever enjoyed this privilege. Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for this privilege and strongly believe that Christians ought to exercise this freedom, but it is just one thing among many that we can do to influence our culture around us. Once we have voted, what are we going to do to influence the world around us until the next Election Day?
When talking about our influence in this world, as citizens of the kingdom of God, Jesus said that our influence is like yeast that a woman works into a lump of dough (Matthew 13:32). My mother was a bread maker, I often watched in wonder as a fist-sized lump of dough turned into a basketball-sized lump of dough after she set it aside to rest.
To think that our responsibility as a good citizen ends when we leave the voting booth is not to understand that the greatest power we possess is the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through living the Gospel, day in and day out, at home and at work, being vessels that carry forth the kingdom influences of salt and light into a world that desperately needs them both. There is little evidence in history of Christians changing their cultures from the top down; almost universally it has been from the bottom up as individual lives are transformed by the grace found in the Gospel. Government and legislation has never changed a human heart.