Election: Our will or God’s will

The general election is upon us and that means another opportunity to participate in deciding who will lead us for the next five years. Even though Christians are divided along tribal and other lines, there’s still some discernment of God’s sovereignty in appointment of leaders.

The questions linger. Do we get the leaders that God chooses for us or does God let us choose leaders for ourselves? Are the candidates we elect on 9th August of God’s making? Or shall get the leaders we deserve, as people often say. If God chooses leaders for us, does it even matter if we vote?

Ours is a complex situation where either camp believes their candidate is the chosen one. But I also know many people who are genuinely confused about the will of God in this election.

God cares about leadership but it’s interesting to see the nexus between God’s will and man’s sinful nature through the example of Israel.

Jesus was born in Israel, a nation founded by God himself. There’s been recent discussions on Kenya being a secular nation constitutionally with most of its residents identifying as Christians. There’s debate on whether we are truly 80% Christians. But whatever the answer, Israel was God’s country in every sense of the word. God gave them their laws. God established their leadership. If a divine political arrangement could have fixed the world, it would have done so in Israel. But it did not. God’s people were unfaithful. They went into exile and returned. They rebuilt and were invaded and occupied. Jesus was born into a nation hoping for a Messiah to deliver them.

But he did not fulfill that hope. He didn’t lead an uprising against Rome. He was crucified, buried and he rose again. And even after that, his disciples still wondered if he would restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). They could not let go of the idea that a political deliverance was high on the agenda. But Jesus had another plan altogether.

I find myself struggling between the understanding of our fallen world and the sinful nature, the push for a better country with limited suffering and my true citizenship which is in heaven.

But we are here now, facing an uncertain election in a nation that looks like it’s being held by a thread, with political prospects that honestly feel like choosing between two devils.

Let’s look at an example of voting in Acts 1: 12-26 which comes close to resembling our democratic electoral process. In the passage, the disciples of Jesus sought to replace Judas. They came together and administered a vote between two men they had nominated. Mathias won and was added to the eleven.

It’s interesting to see how they went about it and the lessons we can draw from that.

  1. They clearly defined who they wanted

Peter said,

21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

They were categorical on who qualified. The entry requirements were clearly set. They sought men who understood the mission and shared similar values.

  1. They nominated two men
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.

Just like our elections, they held their nominations. Now, I understand that the structure of our politics is unorthodox in the sense that it rarely allows people of integrity to ascend to top levels of political leadership. It’s murky and quite often only those ready to get dirty get into it. A Christian desiring political leadership has to be warped into that mess.

If our process of getting nominees is flawed, we will always end up with bad leaders.

This implies that Christians ought to participate in leadership from the lower levels. You could be praying for the presidential choice forgetting your local MCA and governor who I believe are the most important leaders after the presidency.

What values inform our choice of nyumba kumi leaders, school board officials, village elders, or even chama officials? What makes us think that we can suddenly employ a Christian system when choosing a president when all the other leaders are products of our biases. Our values should be consistent.

There’s a man of the cloth in the presidential ballot but many seem not to care about him. Why? Because we most of us knew him when he presented his papers to IEBC for clearance.

We cannot win at the higher levels if we don’t participate in the lower levels and apply Christ-like values in choosing leaders at all levels.

  1. They prayed
24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”

This is a simple but very powerful prayer. It asks for God’s will to be done. It casts away intrinsic biases of tribe, family, friendship and any other. It deals with those subconscious stereotypes that have made you choose certain leaders in the past. Ultimately, it’s God who knows the hearts of the candidates. Some of us have become apologists of candidates. Even when they are clear in what they said, we find a way of defending them.   

The biggest question is, if God answers such a prayer, will you obey?

  1. They voted
26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

A Christian cannot pray and not vote. That’s irresponsible. The step of faith after praying for godly leaders is voting.

Taking authority during elections means going to the polling station and casting the ballot according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

In conclusion, who we elect is both our will and God’s will. Our part is applying our God-given wisdom in nominating the right leaders and praying. God’s part is revealing that leader and our final act of obedience is casting the ballot according to that revelation.

5 thoughts on “Election: Our will or God’s will”

  1. This is well articulated .Well its our obligation to vote, In as much as we have our candidates of interest and we would prefer them to lead this great nation the question that ringer on my mind is are we voting Gods will or our own will , Kenya being a Christian society unlike what was e said earlier on that ‘We are a secular country If we sought the Lord he will choose us a great leader one that is fit to lead us like in the time of King Saul & King David the outcome of their leadership was crystal clear my thought though

  2. Kenyan elections is a game of musical chairs and to be honest, I don’t know if it matters who gets elected. It’s the same group of people. We participate in the game every 5 years and complain until the next election.

    If we are so disappointed and dissatisfied with the leaders we elect, and the truth is we don’t really know them…even at the MCA level, then maybe we shouldn’t vote at all for people we don’t know or boycott voting for people we know all to well to be “devils”.

    Matthias and Joseph were known to the disciples to be followers of Jesus. Voting is spiritual leaders is way different from voting in political leaders.

    What would happen if we voted our dissatisfaction by not voting at all. What message would we be sending to the political class? The political election process is flawed and maybe that’s the message that should come across loud and clear.

    As long as we keep playing the game, the monster grows.

    1. God wants us to have good leaders, and he can use a democratic system to do it, but we are just too carnal to let that happen.

      The problem is not that we don’t have good leaders, the problem is that the ways of this world are too strong in us to allow such leaders to rise to the top.

      Tbh, even when we vote in the Christian circles, we are rarely led by the Holy Spirit. We vote those we know and those who have charisma.

      My take from what the disciples did is that Christians ought to participate, especially in ward and county levels and that’s how we can develop a system that could work nationally.

      Nonetheless, God can have a choice, even beteeen ‘devils’. He can use them for his glory.

  3. Well put Job. I will vote. One thing I know today Kenya isn’t 80 percent Christians., but more like more authentic of who we really are without the ‘Christian’ mask we put. If rapture was to happen today how many kenyans would go? I can’t wait to go back to normal. Nb what happened to Mattias? Never heard of him again

    1. We are 80% church going or born into a family that identifies as Christian. But true believers are much less than that. On Mathias, there’s nothing much written about him after the vote, just like many of the disciples. I think it’s that case of: not everything that disciples did could have been recorded. Like John writes, Jesus did a loooooot more than was written.

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