For Christians, the upcoming Presidential election should not be about Trump 2024 or Biden 2024, but Acts 20:24 – “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” You only get one vote for President, but you can cast countless eternal votes by praying, caring, and sharing the Gospel with neighbors, coworkers, or complete strangers. Your vote for President only lasts four years, but eternal votes have no expiration date.
Christians shouldn’t abstain from voting in the next election, but our charge is to imitate Jesus, who refused to engage in partisan politics but never missed an opportunity to perform acts of kindness. Vote for Biden or Vote for Trump will not be your only options in 2024 – you can follow Jesus’ lead and Vote for Eternity.
The Greatest Risk of the 2024 Election…
Yet Christians today too often get embroiled in heated political exchanges, even with other believers, particularly on social media. Rather than fostering unity, we contribute to America’s divisiveness. Focusing more on earthly power than spiritual power (through the Holy Spirit) makes little sense when politicians can’t alter God’s plan or bend His will. However, He’s granted us the privilege of leading people toward Jesus. Each Christian has greater ability to impact who’s in God’s House than who’s in the White House. Yet we forfeit that right and lose our voice when we’re seen as guilty by association with a particular politician or party.
We’re still feeling the effects of presumed alignment with a church-friendly former President who alienated large swaths of our population. Christians already face stiff headwinds. Our ability to influence culture will diminish further if the tone of our responses to anti-Christian rhetoric continues to reflect anger and not the love of Jesus. Losing additional ground may mean any expressions of biblical perspectives on morality will soon be deemed “hate-speak” and companies will refuse to hire those not disavowing those views.
Christians must remember we’re dual citizens of a democracy and a Kingdom. Politicians battle for supremacy in this nation, but Jesus remains Lord of all. Our foremost allegiance should be to the King. Jesus doesn’t do battle like us. He fought the culture war with a “ground attack” of love and compassion, not an “air assault” of dropping verbal bombs. Once His ground campaign sufficiently weakened resistance, He launched His air campaign – the Gospel message. Following Jesus’ example would counter the prevailing culture of division and discord with powerful displays of God’s love. Christianity has suffered tremendous collateral damage and some churches never recovered from self-inflicted wounds caused by missiles they fired at the “opposition”.
Yet many prominent Christian leaders still believe the path to cultural redemption lies in recapturing control of the 7 Mountains (government, media, religion, education, entertainment, family, and business). They feel a larger megaphone (by occupying a position at the peak of the mountain tops) is the only way to reinstitute the Christian values our nation once held dear. Uncertain God is sovereign, they seek to assert control, giving rise to accusations of theocratic ambitions and Christian Nationalism.
It seems the louder Christians yell, the less we’re heard. To be heard we must be seen. Espousing beliefs and opinions like everyone else, not loving and serving our political “enemies”, will drive the prevailing view of Christians and churches deeper into the ditch. Christians have bemoaned, campaigned, and lobbied vigorously over recent decades. The higher the decibel level, the greater the resistance to biblical positions on social issues.
During divisive elections in 2016 and 2020, #CastAnEternalVote encouraged churches and Christians to think and act like Jesus. The campaigns provided an alternative to engaging in political vitriol on social media. We urged Christians to pray, care, and share about Jesus, casting votes that will have implications far longer than just the next Presidential term. We substituted the “2016” in the typical Presidential campaign slogans with “20:16” (from Matthew – “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”)
Next year, #CastAnEternalVote will encourage Christians to put aside partisan politics and vote for (Acts) 20:24 in the months leading up to the 2024 election. This Christ-centered “Ice Bucket Challenge” will replace combative social media posts with stories, photos, and videos of acts of kindness. Many participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge because they knew someone with ALS. Every one of us has a neighbor, coworker, friend, or family member who doesn’t know Jesus. Not to diminish the severity of ALS, but isn’t the plight of those lost without Christ far worse?
Yes, Christians are called to engage in the culture war, but the most powerful weapon at our disposal is the Father’s love. Each #CastAnEternalVote participant will use that hashtag in social media postings and challenge friends on Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms to “pay their kindness forward”. Countercultural demonstrations of God’s love are the best response to an upcoming election that threatens to tear our nation apart and further vilify Christians.
But #CastAnEternal Won’t Help Unless…
Acts of kindness without heart transformation won’t make a difference. Anything “nice” we do absent love is meaningless. #CastAnEternal is not about the good deeds themselves but providing impetus for repentance and transformation. Addressing bad behaviors (e.g. Christians lashing out at those on the other side of the aisle and lobbying harder for a candidate than for Jesus) goes only skin deep, putting band-aids on gaping wounds.
#CastAnEternalVote seeks to reverse the trajectory of our culture, something no President is able or expected to do. Watching the national or local news, we’re frequently reminded how urgently America needs:
- More love, less division
- More faith, less self-centeredness
- More mercy, less suffering
- More grace, less hostility
- More hope, less poverty
As the impact and influence of churches and Christians diminishes, the essential elements of Christianity – Love, Faith, Mercy, Grace, and Hope – leak from our nation. Biblical principles like the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage, the importance of family, and the freedom to worship will continue to be undermined in proportion to the distance Christians put between themselves and those who don’t subscribe to our values. Unless #CastAnEternalVote effects the following changes in Christians, we’ll return to business as usual when the 2024 election cycle ends and efforts to eradicate Christianity will resume, regardless of which President is in office…
- Heart Before Rules – The more we dig our heels in, the less we can connect with non-believers – and the less they can identify with us. We must imitate Jesus who generously served and cared for those in need of help and hope. Yes, Jesus holds His followers to a standard of behavior but those rules are entirely contained within His command to love (God and our neighbors). Yet churches have surrendered their historical role on the front lines of compassion and Christians are better known now for what they’re against than who they’re for.
- Draw Circles, Not Lines – Jesus did not conform to social norms, crossing lines, including political ones. Party and religious leaders took offense when He welcomed their sworn enemies into the fold. Jesus reserved His harshest words for those who drew lines, demeaning women and children, the sick and the “sinful”. We must draw circles as large as Jesus’, never compromising His Word but seeing past people’s exterior (appearance, words, and actions) to the eternal souls made in the image of the Father needing desperately to know Him.
- Love our “Enemies” – Unthinkable, scandalous acts of generosity would go “viral” and awaken slumbering souls to the love of Jesus. It’s difficult to imagine a Christian conservative washing the proverbial feet of a liberal Democrat (or vice versa), coming to their defense when members of one’s party unjustly malign the other’s character. Envision acts so radically counterintuitive that Jesus would say, “that’s what I’m talking about!” #CastAnEternalVote is designed to activate that dormant part of our brains, voting for Jesus because no other candidate can save America.
- Die to Self – Few Christians grasp one of the most life-changing concepts in all of Scripture. Dying to self means laying down our lives, our desire for power or prominence, and our need to be “right”. Only by reckoning ourselves dead, like the soldier in the foxhole, can Christians maximize Kingdom impact and churches achieve biblical unity. Jesus was first and foremost a servant. True servanthood requires a humility not possible when any vestige of self remains – because humility may involve humiliation, but not if there’s no self left to humiliate.
- Demonstrate Agape at Scale – Love is also a misunderstood and misapplied term, not only within secular society but among Christians. Brotherly, romantic, and familial love are typically not unconditional. Our Father is the only source of Agape and it’s best exemplified by our righteous Savior dying for the unrighteous. The more we’re forgiven (and we’ve all been forgiven much) the more we should love – and forgive. #CastAnEternalVote is actionable, yet also educational – we’ll stress that Agape should be the “why” behind all prayer, care, and share actions.
- Knowledge to Transformation – When intellectual understanding (about God) meets with personal experiences (with God), transformation should be the result. Transformation empowers us by the Holy Spirit to be more faithful in prayer, passionate in worship, loving in relationships, studious in Scripture, vocal in evangelism, and generous in giving. Few churches push members to take mind-blowing steps of faith (which open doors to revelations of God’s love, leading to transformation). #CastAnEternalVote will provide inspirational examples of faith.
- Talk Less, Do More – Jesus doesn’t intend for His followers to be complacent, comfortable, and content. He doesn’t call us just to worship and fellowship safely on Sundays. We are to be “church” all week, acting and speaking openly in the light of day. Most of all, Jesus demands we avoid pride and anger in response to a world increasingly hostile to our faith. But it’s far easier to talk than to act. #CastAnEternalVote will encourage passive, pensive, private, and proud Christians to follow Jesus’ model of demonstrating His love and then sharing who He is.
The 2024 Presidential election may be the best (or last) opportunity for Christians to spark revival in America. When will there be a better chance to shock the world by doing exactly the opposite of what’s expected. Isn’t that what Jesus did? Yes, and it altered the course of history.
It’s Your Turn…
Are you frustrated with the state of America and concerned about our children’s future? Do you feel powerless to do much about it, knowing you only get one vote, for candidates that may not instill a great deal of confidence? #CastAnEternalVote hasn’t started yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from being the hands and feet of Christ, making an eternal difference in someone’s life today!