What is the Spirit saying to the Church concerning the 2024 elections?
Based on the wisdom of the Word, based on practical experience, and based on what I sense in my own heart, I would submit the following for your prayerful consideration.
1) Don’t look to the prophets!
I absolutely believe in prophetic ministry, both in biblical time and today. I believe there are prophetic voices through whom the Spirit speaks, right to this moment, and we do well to listen carefully when they speak, testing everything carefully by the Word of God.
But the last thing we need to do now is look to “the prophets” for election guidance. (I put the words in scare quotes because not everyone who calls himself or herself a prophet really is one.)
We saw what happened in 2020 with the flood of failed prophecies, guaranteeing 8 consecutive years in the White House for Donald Trump and assuring us that Joe Biden would not be inaugurated. And we saw how many millions of Christians (especially in our charismatic side of the Church) got caught up in this (false) prophetic fervor.
Let us not make this mistake again. Prophecy has its role, but let us not run amuck with it again.
2) The focus of the prophetic message is on how we should live today, not on what is going to happen tomorrow.
That was one of the great errors of the 2020 prophetic debacle. The whole focus was on predicting who our next president would be rather than on calling us to repent for our carnality, our obsession with politics, our deep divisions, our many sins.
That would be like a mother standing by as her kids punched and kicked and brutalized each other, predicting which one would win the fight rather than ordering them to cease and desist.
It is true that prophecy can speak about the future or to the present, sometimes doing both at the same time. But it never gives us abstract information about what is coming unless that ties in with how we are to live today.
And that remains the question: What is the Spirit saying to us in the here and now? How can we live today in order to help elect the best people to office tomorrow?
3) Keep your eyes on Jesus and be determined to unite around Him in our witness to the world.
This is our paramount concern. Yes, yes, yes, politics is important, and it is crucial that we are involved in an informed and consistent way (see below, #6). But much more important than the outcome of politics is the state of the Body. Much more important than who we elect is how we live. Much more important than our vote is our witness.
Let us, then, be determined to display our allegiance for Jesus more loudly and clearly than we declare our support of a candidate.
It’s not either or. It’s a matter of priorities.
4) Remember that there are no political saviors and that politics cannot do what only the gospel can do.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it is all too easy to look to the world of politics or to a political candidate as if the election of that party or candidate was the key to the transformation or salvation of the nation.
A healthy Church, lifting up Jesus and serving our communities and standing for truth, will bring about more transformation than any elections.
In fact, if we get our priorities right, good election outcomes will follow.
A few years back we were told that Obama was the Chosen One. More recently, we heard people proclaiming, “Only Trump can save America?” Well, there’s only one name that belongs in those sentences – and it is not the name of a political leader.
To say it again, the elections do matter, and political leaders, especially presidents, can do tremendous harm or good.
But we must keep everything in context, and only the gospel can save a lost soul or bring forgiveness to the guilty or heal a broken heart.
5) Don’t get caught up in election fever or hype.
Do you remember hearing in 2020 that this could be the last free election we ever had? Do you remember both Democrats and Republicans saying that, if their side lost, democracy would be lost forever in America?
Well, here we are in 2023, and it appears that the 2022 elections went off smoothly. And while there are many valid concerns that have been raised about the electoral process (from the influence of social media, the media, governmental agencies, and the electoral process itself), the fear of never having another free election again has been overblown.
Be assured that the hype and controversy and contention and 24/7 news will only be increasing in the next 14 months. Let’s keep our heads, let’s be in prayer more than in the polls, and when our blood starts boiling and the frustration mounts, let’s step back and worship.
It will do us well.
6) Don’t give up on the political process.
As my dear friend James Robison said to me (when promoting my book The Political Seduction of the Church: How Millions of American Christians Have Confused Politics with the Gospel), “Michael, the even greater seduction is for the Church to drop out of politics all together.”
The last thing we want to do is become cynical and abandon the political process entirely. The truth be told, one of the reasons we’re in the mess we’re in today is that too many of us don’t exercise our right to vote or, if we do, we don’t take the time to pray and get informed.
Let’s not swing from the extreme of political seduction to the extreme of political withdrawal.
7) Pray for the will of God to be done, not for your party or candidate to win.
I’ve written about this recently in an article titled, “How to Pray for the Elections” which you can consult if interested. For the moment, let me again state the obvious.
We do our part in voting, advocating our cause, and praying for the Father to have His way. We can leave His part to Him.
May the Church shine in 2024, glorifying Jesus and standing for what is right.
With His help, we can do it.
May His will be done in the elections. May His kingdom come in power.