The Power of Your Vote
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Sunday 19th April 2015
As we approach the next general elections here in the UK in the next few days, I would like to share with you the truth from God’s word on how to choose and vote responsibly. This message will help you in making your voice count, because your vote is your voice.
From our foundation scripture, Apostle Paul writes about the importance of being purposeful in life; ‘All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing (verses 25-26 NLT).
As Christians, we have been called by God to stand up and shine our light. A lackadaisical attitude over the years has inadvertently resulted in the decline of moral values and godly standards in our nation and in our world at large.
I am reminded of these quotes from Edmund Burke. ‘All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent’ and ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’. Here is another variant of these quotes from John Stuart Mill: ‘Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing’. Even though I am not a politician, I am interested in how our nation is governed. I am concerned about our moral values and godliness as a nation, and about the future we are creating for the next generation.
I am convinced that God is not yet done with our nation – He has a great agenda for this land. This nation was once the voice of God to the nations of the earth – missionaries travelled the length and breadth of our world proclaiming the Good News. In order to establish God’s sovereignty once again in this nation, we must rise up and lift our voice, with the power of our votes. Here is Isaiah’s call to us: ‘Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you’. In other words, here is the opportunity to make a difference. We’ve all got one life to live, so we must live purposefully and make it count. As God’s representative in this nation and the church of God, we have been silent for too long. We have been known to be reactive in the past, it is now time to be proactive about issues that are consequential to our future and destiny.
Let me remind you as well that God has positioned you in this land for such a time as this. Psalm 37:23 reads: ‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way’. Life is all about making choices and I would like to share with you how to make the right voting choice, based on the correct principles from God’s word. The decision of whom to vote for in the next general elections however is entirely up to you.
Proverbs 1:10-15 records the precautionary advice given by the writer to his son against sinners who would want to sway him negatively. Verse 14 highlights the importance of voting, in this case for the wrong reasons: “Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot” (NLT). The Amplified Version gives us a better rendition of this action: ‘Throw in your lot with us [they insist] and be a sworn brother and comrade; let us all have one purse (voice) in common’. Your vote makes you a part of, and gives credibility to a system. It supports a course and strengthens a position. It makes you a comrade and brings you in alliance with a group.
In Acts 1:15-26, we read the story of the selection of an apostle by voting to replace Judas Iscariot, after Jesus ascended to Heaven. Let’s pick up the story from verse 23-26: ‘And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two you have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles’. By way of digression, notice that this was the only place where Matthias’ name was mentioned in scriptures? By inference, it is possible to be voted into a position or office, and live an insignificant life. It must be stated clearly that you’ve been elected by God for a reason. You will fulfil that purpose in Jesus name.
Voting can be simply defined as the support of a cause, with an expectation that the cause will ultimately add value to you and humanity as a whole. It is a two-way stream – you empower a cause and that cause empowers you in return. The word ‘vote’ is a derivative of the word ‘vow’, an act of covenant. Its original definition is stated thus: ‘the formal expression of one’s wish or choice with regard to a proposal’. It is from the Latin word – ‘votum’ which means: ‘a vow, wish, promise to a god, solemn pledge and dedication’. Voting can also be defined as giving power to someone to act on your behalf.
In order for a vote to hold, there must be a proposal, hence the need for the proposed two candidates in the Book of Acts. If what has been proposed (in the party’s manifesto) measures up with your values and beliefs, then you can give your vote to it. However, if the proposals are in conflict with your standards and values, then refrain from giving your vote. In a democratic system, a candidate often makes a proposal to the voting public, and it is expedient to study the proposal before casting a vote. Voting without due consideration could lead to a diverted destiny – which could ultimately amount to mortgaging not only your future but the future of the next generation.
As Christians, we always have a bit of a dilemma in making a political decision – partly because we live in two worlds – We live here on earth and we are also citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Hence the question, ‘How do we manage the citizenship of both worlds?’ Jesus gave an insight into this in his prayer for the church in John 17:14-18, which reads: ‘I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world (NLT). In this passage, it is very clear that we are not of this world even though we have been sent into this world. Hence our role as ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven is to represent the interest of God here on earth. It is for this reason that the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 6:10 is so relevant today: ‘May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven’ (NLT). See also Luke 11:2. This world is not our home; hence we cannot afford to conform to the values and ideologies of this world. Our work as Christians is to ensure that the values of God’s kingdom are established here on earth.
In conclusion, let’s address three fundamental issues, as I round up:
(1) Why you should vote: Voting is an exercise of your sovereignty and authority. Sovereignty can be defined as the authority of a state to govern. In theocracy, the sovereignty is God’s hands unambiguously – His will is final, unreservedly. However, in a monarchy, a sovereign human rules – a king or a queen. Here in the UK, the queen rules, but she has devolved her autonomy to the parliament. Hence, the parliament governs the nation and makes decisions every day. In a democracy, the sovereignty is in the hands of the people. During an election, this sovereignty is handed over to a group of elected candidates. When you vote, you surrender the greatest power you have as a citizen. Your vote is not just an ‘X’ in a box. It is the most sacred power you have as a citizen of a nation. It is for this reason that a choice of a candidate must be made judiciously.
(2) The responsibility of voting: While voting is about sovereignty, it is an immense responsibility that should never be discharged anyhow, haphazardly or thrown away. Also, you cannot afford to make a decision to avoid voting, altogether. Your non-vote is another way of giving your consent for an immoral agenda to prevail. Supporting a party or candidate is a serious matter, and this should not be taking lightly because elected parties may determine the outcome and quality of your life. Hence you must be sure that the proposal they present is something you can commit your sovereignty to.
In order to be a responsible voter, you need to check all the proposals on offer. In other words, you must develop a clear understanding of the issues that truly matter to you and where the prospective candidates stand on those issues.
Here are some points to consider:
(a) Your beliefs and values: What is the candidate and party’s position on moral issues such as abortion, and same-sex marriage? Vote for those who best represents what you consider to be godly values.
(b) The best interest of the nation: What is the candidate and party’s position on issues such as the Police and Criminal Justice system, Prisons system, Health and the NHS, Housing, Economic empowerment, Education and so much more.
(c) Your dreams and aspirations: Which proposals will help you achieve your dreams of where you would like to go in life?
(3) Take Personal Charge: Your vote does not belong to your party, your previous nationality, or your friend. Your vote is your sovereign right; your sacred responsibility. It is your portion of the sovereignty of the state. Don’t exchange it for deceptions. Don’t sell your birthright. Your sovereignty is yours; you don’t owe it to anyone. It is irresponsible for any citizen to put his or her vote on autopilot. You don’t owe an allegiance to any party; you owe it to yourself.
In conclusion, I challenge you to recognise the power of your vote; I challenge you to vote and I challenge you to vote based on the consideration all the points mentioned today. Remember that your vote is your voice and your vote matters.
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