6 Essential Reasons Not to Put Your Hope in Political Elections

Contributing Writer
Updated May 20, 2024
6 Essential Reasons Not to Put Your Hope in Political Elections

It’s that time again. I don’t know if you have been waiting for it, but this is an election year. While it's true we have elections every year, this is the year we vote for a president in the United States. During presidential election season, it feels like all the emotions and anxieties get ratcheted up a notch. What we know for certain is one candidate will win, and one will lose because, in every election, this happens. There are years when your party and candidate come out on top, and there are years when they don’t.

For many, when their candidate wins, hope springs eternal, and they believe our country is moving in the right direction. But when their candidate loses, pessimism sets in, and they think our country is one step away from God's judgment. If you have ever felt this way after an election, especially a presidential one, then maybe you are putting too much hope in the outcome.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, which is what we are supposed to be, I want to give you some reasons why this is probably not a good idea. For you to hear what I am about to say, you must think practically and biblically and not politically. Honestly, thinking politically is what stokes our emotions anyway, so for one moment, let’s put that aside. Let’s dig into these reasons, and I pray you walk away with more hope than ever before, regardless of who wins in November.

Image generated using AI technology with ChatGPT's DALL.E 2024

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1. Politicians don’t operate with autonomy.

Regardless of what a politician tells you in the lead-up to an election, they don’t operate with complete autonomy. By the way, I believe this is a good thing because it creates checks and balances. Just look at all the countries that have leaders who have complete autonomy. While it might be great for that leader and their family, it’s usually not so great for the citizens of that country.

For elected officials to accomplish anything, they must get the support of their fellow members. They don't operate in a vacuum because the designers did not intend the system to function that way. Whenever a politician tells you, this is what they are going to do, they are speaking in aspirational terms because that is what they hope to do. There is no way they will ever be able to guarantee that is what they will do. Remember, they don’t have complete authority. So, when you cast your vote in November, you are casting a vote for someone who hopes to accomplish what they said while they were campaigning. They may achieve their goal or they may not. Just don't be disappointed if they are unable to achieve what they campaigned on. It may not totally be their fault.

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political division republicans vs democrats on elephant and donkey statues

2. Our political system was not designed for one party to get their way.

If you look at the way our system was set up, it was not designed for one party to control everything. The idea was that the parties would work together to find a compromise (that hasn’t worked very well at all lately). We have now shifted to an all-or-nothing mentality. Either we get everything we want, or nothing is going to get done. Unfortunately, this has created gridlock, and nothing is getting done.

Proverbs reminds us, "Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers." (Proverbs 11:14, NLT)

If one party controlled everything, regardless of which party, that would not be as beneficial as you think. Having contrarian opinions is healthy and necessary because it allows us to hear and consider perspectives that might otherwise be missed. That was the reason our government was set up to function in this manner. So don’t be disappointed if your party does not win everything. You may not see it or feel it in the moment, but that is what makes our system work. By the way if that makes you uncomfortable, then it is a sign you are putting too much hope in political elections.

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3. Elections can cause you to put too much focus on the wrong kingdom.

On the night Jesus was arrested, he was standing before Pilate, and he made this statement.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)

Could it be that there are many Christians who are fighting to build a kingdom on earth that not even Jesus is attempting to build? Jesus is so not interested in building a kingdom in any nation on this earth that he calls Satan the ruler of this world in John 12:31. And 2 Corinthians 4:4 refers to Satan as the 'god' of this world. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is building a kingdom. However, right now, the kingdom he is building is in the hearts of men. Jesus is already King of kings. He is not concerned with being the king of America or any other nation, for that matter. He wants to be the King of your heart.

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a woman voting, Election Day wrap up

4. Elections can distract you from your eternal priorities.

When Jesus departed, one of his last instructions was to make disciples, not build nations. Am I saying we should not care about what happens in our nation, our culture, and our society? Of course not. We have a responsibility to be salt and light, to care for our neighbors, and to love them as ourselves. However, our true mandate is to preach the gospel and make disciples. How do you think we are going to make disciples anyway? It certainly won’t happen based on who you vote for.

"For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" - Romans 10:13-14

If we are not careful, we can get too wrapped up in the small amount of time we spend on this earth and forget to focus people’s attention on eternity. After all, that’s why Jesus came.

I want to remind you of something Jesus said, but I will put it into an election framework. What does it profit a man if their party and the people they vote for win every election, but they lose their own souls? Your soul, the souls of men, and their eternal destination is what matters the most. Let’s make sure this and every other election does not cause you to miss this reality.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Tetra Images

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5. Elections don’t change the hearts of men.

Unfortunately, so many Christians have bought into this idea that if we get the right person in office, that will turn our country back to God. First, this assumes the moral decline in our nation is a result of those we have elected. This is not true. If you hold this belief, it becomes a scapegoat and blinds you to the actual issue. We have a sin problem. This affects all people, regardless of their party affiliation. If you think the outcome of an election is going to change that, you are sadly mistaken. The moral decline has happened with Democratic and Republican administrations so clearly that is not the answer.

Regardless of who gets elected, they will never transform the moral condition of our country. In fact, this is something that is impossible for any elected official to do, so let's stop thinking they can. The simple truth is no one can legislate morality. That’s why changing the laws of the land will never change the heart of a man.

Don’t just take my word for it, consider what happened in the Bible. In the Old Testament, God gave us the Law, which was perfect. Yet, his perfect Law could not change the hearts of people. Romans 8:3, tells us the law was powerless to change our hearts because it was weakened by our sinful nature. Only Jesus could fulfill the Law perfectly. If God’s perfect Law can’t change men’s hearts, then no man-made law will be able to do it.

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US Capitol and American flag, we need to avoid a rematch of 2020

6. Elections can cause you to put your focus on the wrong savior.

The moral decline in our culture has nothing to do with who is in office but everything to do with the sinful nature of men’s hearts. That’s why the person who ends up sitting in the White House every four years is not America's savior. If you want morality to change, then you need men’s hearts to change. Who you vote for will not make that kind of transformation.

The last time I checked, the only one who can do that is Jesus. If you want to see our nation transformed, it will not happen just by pulling a lever on election day. It will happen when God’s people (that’s you and me) stop trusting in fallible men and start trusting in an infallible God. When we get on our knees in prayer and then on our feet and start proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just imagine if Christians put the same time and energy into sharing the gospel as they do promoting political ideologies or having political debates. The hope for our nation has never resided in Washington, D.C., but has always been the One high and lifted up and seated on the throne. His name is Jesus and that is where our hope should be.

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." - Philippians 3:20

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Douglas Rissing

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com

Originally published Thursday, 16 May 2024.