CHARACTER QUALITIES CHRISTIANS SHOULD LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE


As Super Tuesday rolls around…What Character Qualities should Christians be looking for in the Presidential Candidates?

 

When Moses was appointing leaders to officiate over the Israelites, his father told him to “look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe” (Exodus 18:21, ESV)*

Jesus tells us that a good way of knowing if a leader is trustworthy is a fruit test. “By their fruit you will recognize them…every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17)

*- All scripture is in the New International Version unless otherwise specified.

 

LOOK OUT FOR BAD FRUIT

Jesus warns his disciples of leaders who look good on the outside, but on the “inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25)

Greed

A greedy person will say to himself “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones” (Luke 12:18) rather than giving to the poor or to God.

Jesus tells us that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

Self-Indulgence

Bad leaders will enjoy being rich and popular: “walk around in flowing robes”. (Mark 12:38)

They enjoy and indulge when they “have the most important seats” and the “places of honor at banquets”. (Mark 12:39

“They devour widow’s houses”. (Mark 12:40)

And their talk and “prayers” are for “a show”. (Mark 12:40)

 

A GOOD LEADER WILL DISPLAY GOOD FRUIT

  • Hate pride and arrogance” (Proverbs 8:13)
    • “A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways. (Proverbs 21:29)
  • Hate “evil behavior” (Proverbs 8:13)
    • “A man who commits adultery lacks judgment” (Proverbs 6:32)
    • “He who sleeps with another man’s wife” will not “go unpunished” (Proverbs 6:29)
  • Hate “perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13)
    • None of their words are “crooked or perverse.” (Proverbs 8:8)
    • “he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19)
    • “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.” (Proverbs 11:12)
    • “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (James 1:25)
  • Integrity “guides them” (Proverbs 11:3)
    • Unfaithful followers walk in the ways of “duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3)
    • Speaks truth and does not lie (Proverbs 12:19)
    • “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint
  • Has a “wife of noble character” (Proverbs 12:4).
  • Has patience and “great understanding(Proverbs 14:29)
    • A quick tempered man displays folly” (Proverbs 14:29)
    • “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension” (Proverbs 15:18)
    • “A patient man calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18)
  • Honor the Lord with your wealth” (Proverbs 3:9)
  • Does not acquit the guilty
    • “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – the Lord detests them both.” (Proverbs 17:15)
  • Acknowledges God in everything
    • “in all your ways acknowledge him” (Proverbs 3:6)

 

LITMUS TEST

Jesus warns that false leaders “do not practice what they preach.” (Matthew 23:3)

As you decide to vote for a candidate:

PRAY THAT GOD WILL OPEN YOUR EYES TO TRUTH AND THAT YOU WILL NOT FALL FOR DECEIT

“Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.” (Psalms 120:2)

 

Narnia… Election and Free Will


I think that C.S. Lewis states the dilemma of Election and Free Will quite accurately in his book The Silver Chair. He outlines the basic question of how can they both be present and then describes how it is so in a conversation between Jill and Aslan. Jill wonders how Aslan could say he called her when she called him. Aslan begins,

“”But your task will be the harder because of what you have done.”

“Please, what task, Sir?” said Jill.

“The task for which I called you and him here out of your own world.”

This puzzled Jill very much…

“I was wondering – I mean – could there be some mistake? Because nobody called me and [Eustace], you know. It was we who asked to come here. [Eustace] said we were to call to [you]… and perhaps [you] would let us in. And we did, and then we found the door open.”

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling you,” said the Lion.”¹

In this excerpt Aslan describes how he calls us when we call him. It is a wonder at the complicity of this concept yet, Lewis does a wonderful job at showing the simplicity of the real matter. It is God who calls us and so we call to him with our own free will.

¹ – C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair pp. 22-23 [Italics added for purpose of highlighting topic]

Good Works and Free Will


Good works, apart from Christ, are worthless. As Isaiah says in chapter 64, ” all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”. This is why I think that without Christ Jesus, none of our “good” works are really all that good. When religions say that you can “work” your way to heaven by making sure that your “good” acts outweigh your bad ones, I say that their good acts are really bad ones? Why do I say that? Well, because when they do the good acts they are not doing them out of love. They are doing them out of self-preservation. They are doing them so that “I can go to heaven”. I also think that when a good act occurs it has nothing to do with the individual. Philippians 2:13 says that “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Therefore it is really God who is doing the good act and it it only the individual displaying it. God willed the individual to desire to do the good work. Therefore, when and individual displays a good work it is really God who is doing it. This means that an individual does nothing and God does everything and therefore the individual’s salvation by works is controlled by the One and Only.

You may wonder how then we have free will. Well, and again I cannot say “this is what it is”, but I can take a shot (and this is not necessarily what I believe, but is the only way I can explain it when going through with this thought train). We have free will; and when Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden they had free will to choose God’s ways or Their ways. And when they chose the bad option, they lost their privilege of free will. They became enslaved to the sinful nature and no longer had the power to choose good. But God can and does! And He chose every elected individual and enabled them to have the privilege of free will again (no longer enslaved by the sinful nature). Now that we are in Christ we can choose good once again! Only by his grace, however, are we able to do this.

Another thought, we have free will (even when we are enslaved) in the sense that we can and do make decisions everyday (neutral decisions).

With this thought train it seems that free will and election are both possible when coexistent.