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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Elections and the Kingdom

Seeking the Kingdom of God is our first, continuous, and highest duty and calling.

The presidential campaign is building up a head of steam, and it shouldn't be too much longer before the candidates are clear and the issues are on the table.

It's apparent that many Christians are paying particular attention to this election, and that is a very good thing. As members of "we the people", voting responsibly is part of what we owe to Caesar, so to speak. But political involvement is also an important means for seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, which is the Christian's first priority in all things.

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Christians must discern which candidates - at every level of public service - offer platforms and policies that are conducive to the progress of this Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is larger than the "social issues" that exercise many believers, and it does not exclude those that relate to the economy, foreign policy, and the role of government. We make a mistake if we vote for candidates only on the basis of some social issues litmus test. Politicians, we should know by now, are adept at sensing what Christians want in this area, promising to give it, then promptly ignoring or minimizing social issues once they achieve office.

The Kingdom of God is about righteousness, and righteousness involves questions of ethics, morality, justice, fairness, and goodness, across every aspect of human life. The Kingdom of God brings righteousness that reflects the character of God and His Word. Believers must seek out candidates who are clear and convincing in their commitment to righteousness, and who will take steps to resist the pragmatic, utilitarian, and materialistic temper of the times to stand firmly and clearly for things true and good.

The Kingdom of God is peace, which comes only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Candidates who are indifferent to religion, who give it lip service only, or whose positions threaten to jeopardize the freedom of Christians to proclaim the Good News of peace in Jesus Christ are not deserving of our support. Indeed, we should oppose them passionately.

The Kingdom of God is joy, and joy is not the same as happiness, especially that happiness which most Americans attach to material possessions and financial security. The highest goal in life is not to enjoy material prosperity. Joy is of an altogether different nature. Politicians who insist that the "the economy, stupid" is the overriding issue, because it holds the key to Americans' happiness, may support policies and offer programs which do more harm than good, simply because they continue to confuse and distract the populace concerning where joy and purpose in life may be found. The nation needs a higher calling than simply accumulating more stuff.

As Christians we have a lot of thinking to do with respect to this and every political season. We need to listen carefully to the promises and platforms of the various candidates, and compare what they are seeking with what we seek in the progress of the Kingdom of God. We do not expect government to bring in the Kingdom of God. At the same time, we must not allow government to throw up unnecessary obtacles or distractions to the progress of that eternal realm.

Further, we must insist of our own leaders - pastors, teachers, writers, thinkers, and so forth - that they help us learn to think about our political responsibilities and privileges through the lens of our Kingdom citizenship, and that they equip us for seeking the Kingdom through the machinery of politics, as through every other aspect of our lives.

Seeking the Kingdom of God is our first, continuous, and highest duty and calling. We engage this great work every day of our lives, with more or less success, depending upon our the level of conscientiousness, consistency, and skill. Politics is but one arena in and through which we aim to have this glorious rule of Christ make progress in our day. But we must prepare well and work diligently if we hope to achieve real Kingdom results through this present political season.

Related texts: Matthew 6.10, 33; Romans 13.1-5; Romans 14.17, 18; 1 Timothy 2.1-4

A conversation starter: "During this presidential campaign I'll be seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. How about you?"

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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