For the first twelve years of my life, I have been raised in what you can call a sort of Pentecostal Church, in the south of The Netherlands. That Church turned out to have a lot of characteristics of a cult, which is why my parents decided to leave. After that they took us to an Evangelical Church (a sort of mix between a Reformed Church and a Pentecostal Church). During my teenage years, I eventually left that Church and Christianity. When I made my personal choice to follow Jesus Christ, I eventually returned to that same Church for a few years, until the Lord told me to move to a different Church. From that moment I became a part of the Dutch Charismatic movement.
The mandatory vote advice
Throughout my whole life and in all the Churches I've been to, I've noticed the very same thing, when the time of elections came near. However, what I'm about to tell you was way more manifest in the Charismatic movement than anywhere else. At the time of elections, there was always a leader who found it necessary to instruct the Church what to vote for. Actually, it was not just an instruction, it was always a mandatory 'advice'. I'll give you a few examples:
"As a Christian you should vote for a Christian politician..."
"As a Christian you should vote for a Christian party..."
"As a Christian it is not allowed and even sinful to vote for a non-Christian..."
"These are the politicians/parties you should vote for..."
In other words, these Christian leaders forced their own political preference on the Church, while communicating guilt to those who would not comply. That communication of guilt often goes very far as well. Those who do not wish to vote for the mandatory advice of the leader(s), and who dare to share what else they wish to vote for, are often considered as rebellious and sinful. From the very moment I started to notice this, it just didn't feel right to me. It didn't feel like freedom, it felt like a suffocating prison, which was exactly what it turned out to be. Years later, God started to show me that this was very wrong indeed and I'm going to tell you why.
The spirit of witchcraft in the Church
One of the expressions I've once heard, which made a huge impact on my life, was this: 'Jesus didn't came to show us how to do it, He came to show us Who's doing it.' He didn't come to give us control, He came to challenge us to surrender it. For in this surrender and yielding lies the true power and rulership of God, that can only start working through us once we've chosen to surrender and to let go, to let God. Jesus Christ Himself showed this to be true in His wonderful surrender to the cross, while completely yielding to God's salvation plan. That wonderful work of Calvary, it is perfect in every way. It speaks not only of the need to surrender and the need to yield, it also shows us the marvelous fruits that come out of it! If Jesus wouldn't have complied with surrender and yielding, our future today would still be hell. But He did comply and by doing that He has set an example for all those who would choose to follow Him. Everything that goes against that, goes against God. Everyone who goes against that is not a true disciple of Christ.
In these days we see many Christian leaders who do not teach people to surrender to God, but to surrender to them, their teachings, their ideology, their opinions etc. In other words: they want control. For if you control how a person thinks, you have power over that person. Everyone who tries to gain control over you is not from God! Instead, they are controlled by a demon of witchcraft, which is widely spread in the leadership of Churches these days. Control is what they're after. They demand utter submission, blind obedience and zero testing, for the leader knows what he's doing. No need for you to think, the leaders will do that for you. After all, they went to (Bible) school for it. Whenever and wherever you see this happen, you're dealing with a person who's under the spirit of witchcraft. There are three ways the desire to control expresses itself: manipulation, intimidation and domination. All of it comes forth from pride, rebellion and stubbornness.
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
1 Samuel 15:22-23
An example from the past
A long time ago, the people of Israel approached the prophet Samuel. Now Samuel was a true prophet of God, but his sons were not exactly following into his footsteps. Samuel had appointed them as judges over Israel, but they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. So, it's fair to say that things weren't going very well in the land and the people started to worry. They saw how the true man of God had reached a respectable age and worried what would happen after he would die. At that point they didn't sought God's counsel, but instead they wanted control over their situation and demanded that Samuel would appoint a king over them.
But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
1 Samuel 8:6-7
The desire to control is the rejection of God's rulership. Seriously, you can't have it both ways. It's either God Who's in control, or it's you. Never both at the same time. In this example God told Samuel to warn them what the consequences would be if God would give them what they were asking for. Thus, Samuel warned the people and told them everything that would happen. After he told them all this, he concluded by saying that when these things started to happen, they would cry out to God because of this king they would choose for themselves, but that the Lord would not hear them in that day (v18). That is a serious warning! And what was their response to that serious warning?
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
1 Samuel 8:19-20
After this, God told Samuel to give them what they wanted, which would set in motion all the disastrous things they were warned for. Now what is the lesson from all of this? We can ask God for control. In His mercy He will warn us, but if we're stubborn in what we want, He will give it to us. But the consequences are coming along with it and when they do, God will not listen to our prayers. Or we can choose to surrender and to yield, and let God have His rulership over us. The choice is ours.
What is the right choice?
When the elections come up, it presents us with an opportunity and a choice. What should we vote for? Who should we vote for? In situations like these we should apply the exact same attitude as Christ. First of all: Does it matter what you think, feel or want? As a Christian, the answer to that question is 'no'.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Dead people cannot think, feel or want. Dead people have no desires. Dead people do not matter. All that matters is the One Who lives inside of us: Christ. All that matters is what He thinks, what He feels and what He wants. So, we can read all the promises of politicians and listen to their speeches, in order to form an opinion, but our opinion no longer matters. Just as my opinion doesn't matter. Just as the personal opinions of your Church leaders doesn't matter. The only question that truly matters is: What does God have to say? That's the one thing we'll have to find out, while we're not allowing the opinions or speeches of people to influence us in any way. God has a totally different view on the circumstances. His aim and His ways are totally different then ours. As God's people we should be in line with what He wants. And what does He want?
...what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God...
2 Peter 3:11b-12a
I believe it is one of our most important tasks to hasten the coming of the day of God. Some of our choices have influence on that and I believe the outcome of the elections in a nation can either delay or hasten the coming of that day. What is the right choice? Only God has the complete picture. Only God knows. More then that, He wants to share that with us as well, if we're willing to go after it. We have to spend time in prayer and ask God what and who He wants us to vote for. By the time you will have to vote, you'll know deep inside of your heart what it is He's asking from you. Whatever that is, do it. Even if it may seem unlikely. Even if He told someone else to vote for someone different. It may be His perfect plan. It may be a test of obedience. Just do it. Yield to whatever He's showing you to do and don't allow the personal opinions of Church leaders or politicians to have any influence on your vote. Your number one priority is to get loose from being depended on leaders, in order to become totally depended on God. Let me assure you that any true disciple of Jesus will always encourage you to do so. Those who are afraid to lose control will however advise against it. Once again, the choice is yours. Who is in control in your life? Dare to think for yourself. Dare to run after God. Dare to search for your own answers. Dare to expect that He will answer you, lead you and protect you. That is the best advice when we're talking about a genuine Christian vote.