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John Jay

Putting the Values in the Values Voter

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For those vying to replace Barack Obama as president, the process started months ago, but for voters who are tasked with selecting the next leader of the free world, that process begins today.

Let me give you some good news about the influence of your vote. While evangelicals are a little over one-third of the voting population, they represent nearly half the votes cast in the primary process. This means evangelicals have a tremendous opportunity to direct the future of our nation by whom they support. The not-so-good news is that a large number of evangelicals appear to being using the same criteria for choosing a leader as non-evangelicals.

It is evident that the liberal policies of Barack Obama have caused our national debt to skyrocket past $18 trillion and they’ve created cultural confusion as the president defined deviancy down. Our nation is teetering on the edge of fiscal and moral bankruptcy which has left America at great risk. Few periods in history over the last 240 years presented a greater comprehensive risk to this nation than what we face today, and the American people sense it.

There is greater fear and angst over the future as well as frustration and anger over the actions or inaction of the political class than we’ve seen in half a century. This fear and anger is manifesting itself in an electorate that is committed to putting anyone in charge who will promise to pull Washington up by the roots.

Believe me, I get it! But as Christians we are instructed to use our heads (wisdom) and not just our hearts (emotion) in selecting the leaders that will guide our nation.

Both the Old and New Testaments provide guidance for selecting leaders. The wisdom given to Moses proved the value of in-laws! Jethro, his father-in-law, laid out insightful criteria for assembling a team of governmental leaders. “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness…” (Exodus 18:21). These are quantifiable and verifiable traits.

Moses was told to select individuals who first had the skills for the job. Secondly, they needed to fear God, which would imply they knew God. They were to know the truth; they knew right from wrong and they were not to be greedy or consumed with financial gain. The Old Testament account of the selection of Saul (1 Samuel 8-9) provides a classic illustration of allowing emotions rather than wisdom to guide in pursuing a leader.

The New Testament speaks to the selection of leaders, specifically to the selection of ecclesiastical leaders in 1 Timothy 3, but we can certainly benefit from applying the principles. After all, who can argue with Paul’s summary that if “a man does not know how to rule his own house how will he take care of the church of God?” Does not experience tells us the same is true of the nation?

William Penn said this about the impact of those we select as our governmental leaders: “Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them, and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too.”

Samuel Adams, described by his contemporaries as the father of the Revolution and the last of the great Puritans, echoed this biblical truth when he wrote to James Warren in 1775, “Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters.”

John Jay, the first chief Justice of the Supreme Court, went to the heart of it when he 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.”

As you cast your vote, whether for president of the United States or your town council, do not allow your emotions, charged with fear of the future, or anger over the past guide your vote. Pray for God to give you the wisdom (James 1:5) to cast your vote for a leader who knows Him and will follow Him so that we might all rejoice (Proverbs 29:2).



 

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