How To Not Waste Your Vote

Last week I was having a conversation with some friends about the current political cycle and all of the craziness that has come with it.  During the course of our conversation it was mentioned that to not vote for Candidate A was to inherently vote for Candidate B, and furthermore, that to consider voting for Candidate C from a third party was to "waste" your vote, and was likewise a vote for the "other side."  Interestingly, Democrats and Republicans use the same rhetoric with their constituents: "If you don't vote for Trump, then it's a vote for Hillary," say the Republicans.  "If you don't vote for Hillary, you're electing Trump," warn the Democrats.  Well which one is it?  And is it really a waste of a vote to consider a third party?  As in all things, the Bible guides us in answering these questions.  Note: it is not my intention in this post to persuade you to vote in a certain way or to endorse any candidate.  Rather, I'd like to challenge the notion that a vote can be wasted and instead make a case that it is impossible to "waste" your vote if you are informing your vote with biblical wisdom and making an effort to vote intentionally for the glory of God.

The Bible makes it clear that God reigns as the Supreme Ruler over the nations (Psalm 47.7-8).  He sets up kings and puts down kings (Daniel 2.21, Psalm 75.7).  The king's heart is as a stream of water in the hand of God (Proverbs 21.1).  God has foreseen and ordained the results of this election - and every election - from before the foundation of the world (Isaiah 46.9-10).  Put simply, my vote isn't going to thwart his plan, and he won't be surprised by the way I or anyone else votes.  God's vote is the only one that holds any real authority.  

If this is true, then it should reshape the way that we think about voting.  In our form of government - a representative republic - the people hold the power to elect their leaders, and sometimes it can be tempting to think that the buck starts and stops with us, and that we are sovereign over our collective destiny.  While this is the way it appears, it is not the whole story: God ultimately decides what will happen.  

Some might ask in response, "Then what is the point in voting at all?  If God decides what will happen, then why doesn't he just do it?  Why does he need me?"  He doesn't need you or me to accomplish his purposes in the world, but that fact does not absolve us from operating in ways that are in accordance with biblical wisdom and in ways that honor him.  God uses people to accomplish his purposes in the world - including through voting.  God uses voting and elections to "remove kings and set up kings" (Daniel 2.21).  Since God is in control of our elections, voting, then, becomes not so much determining the course of our country, but participating in God's foreordained plan for our country.  Instead of determining what we want or our political party wants, we should put our time and effort into discerning what God wants and vote accordingly.  A good question to ask yourself is: "Which candidate, if elected, will move us closer to the righteousness God has revealed in the Bible?"  And if we will be faithful to use biblical wisdom to vote in accordance with biblical principles, our vote will never be wasted, regardless of whom we are led to vote for (2 Timothy 2.15).  

For this reason, the notion that to not vote for Trump is to, in effect, vote for Clinton (and vice versa), is erroneous.  God doesn't need me to vote for a particular candidate in order to get him or her elected.  If God has ordained that Hillary Clinton should be president, all the Trump votes in the world won't make a hill of beans worth of difference.  Instead, what God wants me to do is go to his word, know his heart, and vote in a way that is faithful to who he is and what he has said in the Bible.    Regardless of the outcome, I will have been faithful to God, which is really the only thing that matters.  

This process is what brings meaning to your vote.  This is what gives you a voice - not voting for Democrats or Republicans, but voting in light of what God has said in his word.  Learn to view the fulfillment of your civic (and biblical) responsibility as an act of service to your Lord, bowing in reverence and humility to his Lordship as you do so.  In this sense, you're not voting for Candidates A, B, or C - you're voting for God, and trusting in his sovereign will to determine the course of our country for his eternal purposes.  

Vote using biblical wisdom in accordance with biblical principles and for the glory of God, and your vote will never be wasted.