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Personal Faith Versus Public Policy

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
—Proverbs 3:5–6

God’s Word encourages us to allow our faith to impact every part of our life. Policy is not implemented in a vacuum. Every political leader has a set of core values that determines his policies. Some leaders base their values on political expediency. What’s the popular thing to do? Others are motivated by their quest for higher office. How will this play with the kingmakers in my party? Some people have values that are shaped by their personal experiences. If they grew up impoverished for example, they’re going to be particularly sympathetic with the plight of the poor. Every politician bases his decisions on his values. The real question is: From where do those values come? What shapes those values? Are those values determined by popular opinion? By peers? By ego? Or by the unchanging principle of God’s Word? Every political leader in the Bible who experienced God’s favor integrated his personal faith with his public life rather than trying to separate the two.

And that leads to another question we ought to ask when we’re considering a political candidate. Do the candidate’s policies align with the Bible? If we accept that the preferred candidate for office is a competent Christian who shapes his policy according to the Bible, then it’s important to measure his views by the standard of God’s Word. Now, the Bible does not address the majority of issues that politicians face. To try to use the Bible to come up with a policy statement about climate change, cap and trade, or immigration policy is to trivialize both the Bible and the issues.

Let me give you a couple of illustrations of that. Now, I personally believe lower taxes stimulate growth in the economy. But I could use the Bible to argue for higher taxes or lower taxes. I can use the story of Joseph and the famine in Egypt to argue for higher taxes. Or I can use the disaster of King Rehoboam when he overburdened the people with taxes to promote lower taxes. When it comes to universal healthcare, I have my own feelings about our nation’s healthcare policy. But I can argue for or against it using the Bible. For example, the fact that Jesus healed every disease could support keeping insurance companies from using preexisting conditions to eliminate coverage. On the other hand, I could point to the Bible and say Jesus healed everybody, therefore insurance isn’t necessary. You can use the Bible any way you want to. But to use the Bible for political issues is to trivialize both the Bible and those issues.

Yet there are some spiritual and moral issues about which the Bible speaks very clearly. And it’s those issues that have undermined both the spiritual and the moral structure of our society. In these areas, it is very important to vote for a candidate whose policies align with the Bible.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How a Christian Should Vote ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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