By Josh Weidmann, Crosswalk.com
“How could you possibly vote for ____________? Don’t you realize how awful of a choice that is!”
Maybe you're hearing this from people in recent days. Personally, I have the incredible honor of pastoring hundreds of people every day. This probably won’t surprise you, but not everyone votes the same, believes the same, or respects each other the same. As a shepherd, called to guide those under my care to the best of my ability, this election season is sparking significant anxiety throughout our flock, much even in my own heart.
The questions are staggering as countless numbers of emails pack my inbox with the same anxiety from all over our congregation:
Who am I voting for?
Will I endorse a candidate and if so, who will it be and why?
What’s my stance on big ballot issues?
Topics ranging from packing the courts to the Supreme Court hearing confirmation, voter fraud, election day riots at polling stations, on and on the questions come…as anxiety rises with each new question. It feels like the past few months have been fueled by a rabid frenzy of emotions—and many in my care are suffering.
There’s little doubt that the potential fallout from this year’s election may ripple well beyond even the youngest generation today. We would be ignorant at best if we fail to recognize the significance of this moment. As followers of Jesus—with friends, family members, colleagues, romantic interests, clients, and so many others in our lives—how do we navigate the stress and anxiety of this election season in a gospel-centered way?
We start with a simple act. Take a breath. In, out. Good…
Take another one, a deeper breath. We have time. Good, good…
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This is the moment, right here, right now, to invite the Prince of Peace.
Right now, as we lead up to election day, is a perfect time to invite Jesus Christ our Savior to whisper His words into the squished-in, revved-up fibers of our souls. Some of Jesus’ last words to His disciples speak peace to us today,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27, ESV
No matter this election’s results (or any election’s results) nothing is greater than the eternal reminder that God is almighty on His throne. He is our Sovereign Lord, the One who is faithful and true (Rev. 19:11), our God who is closer to us than our next breath.
When faced with anxiety, no matter the situation, it’s essential for us to identify the source of anxiety. Many times the main driver of anxiety is fear, a type of fear we don’t find in the nature of God. This fear is a weapon often wielded in the hands of Satan our enemy. We remember the warnings of Peter:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8, ESV
We cannot forget that there are invisible powers actively working to divide and destroy followers of Jesus throughout the world. While presidents and political parties come and go, we cannot forget our fight is not against flesh and blood (Romans 8:38-39). It’s against the evils of darkness; a fight we can only win through the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must wear our full armor of God’s protection if we expect to stand against the attacks of Satan (Eph. 6:10-20).
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This is when we speak the truths of Scripture against Satan.
We reject Satan’s influence in our hearts and homes by being loving and kind to those who think and see the world differently than us.
Rather than being keyboard warriors, posting articles and fork-tongued rebuttals, let us speak love and hope to those around us. When this election is over, how will the world know you are a follower of Jesus? Only by how your words and actions reflect the gospel to a confused, vitriolic world in desperate need of a Savior.
Pushing back against anxiety starts with knowing who we are as followers of Jesus—an identity far more important than any political affiliation. Anxiety can distort how we see ourselves and our identity. What is the opposite of anxiety? For some, they would say it’s confidence. For others, peace.
For you, I encourage you to choose one of these words or phrases and let the truths of Scripture, with the power of the Holy Spirit, fight for you against anxiety:
Peace – Isaiah 26:3 (ESV), “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Confidence – 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
Joy – Psalm 94:19, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
Trust – Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
Nearness of God – Psalm 73:28 (ESV), “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”
No matter who’s in the Oval Office, their influence and impact will forever pale compared to the One who sits on the throne of heaven.
He is the One who gave it all to rescue our hearts.
Jesus is our refuge from those emotion-driven, headline-triggered, media-fearmongered hosts of so much anxiety right now. He is the One inviting you to take any thoughts, any fears, any whispers of anxiety, and place them in His care today.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:28-29, ESV
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Josh Weidmann serves as the Senior Pastor of Grace Chapel in Englewood, Colorado. He is certified with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and holds a Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of The End of Anxiety, available through Salem Books, and writes regularly at joshweidmann.com. Josh is married to Molly and has five children.