Here’s my opening quote for our time together: “Politics will improve before the American public, as more and more honorable and upright men fill the ranks of public servants.” I trust that I have given an upright man the inspiration to step into the ring, and run for public office.
Your fellow citizens need you…especially in these last days.
One of the best pieces of advice I got in terms of living the Christian life in a fallen society came from the late Pastor E. V. Hill. In one of his messages on the truths of being a Christian, Hill noted that even though one is saved by grace, they were still wrapped up in their own skin, and would not be ‘perfect’ until either they died, or the Rapture of the church. Thus, while one was saved, they would--at times--come up short. Hill reminded his congregation and the audience listening to the broadcast that God was not through with the believer, even in those times when they did not act in a Christian manner. The same may also be said for the Christian entering the realm of politics.
Brother, you will be challenged in ways that you would NOT believe.
BOLD SINNERS AND WIMPY SAINTS:
Before a man becomes a Christian and after the conversion experience where Jesus Christ becomes Lord of his life; life is going to ‘rub up against’ him, but in a different manner. True, you are still in the same body, but your soul and spirit have been changed. And, as you feed your spirit the Word of God, and grow and mature in the grace of God, you will develop the wisdom needed to meet different types of people where they are, and become ‘salt and light’ to them.
Keep this in mind. There are only two types of people in this world, according to the Bible: Sinners and Saints. Saints are those who have had the conversion experience and yielded themselves to Jesus Christ. Sinners are those who have not yielded themselves to Christ.
We are living in an age where those sinners who are in their various sins are bold about staying in them. Nevertheless, it is not important where the sinner stands or what they may feel; it is important that you let them know where YOU stand! Do NOT let them convert you; let your light so shine that YOU impact them, and cause them to glorify God.
There is NO room for compromise. No wimpy Christians allowed. Period.
Brothers, the mockers and scoffers will rage. Read Psalm 1 about it. You are going to be working with and for sinners who are trapped in the sins of homosexuality, adultery, greed, lust, witchcraft, false religions and a variety of other sins. Some of them will be satisfied to remain in their sins, and they will hate YOU for being a righteous man in a firm relationship with God. Some of them may be in your OWN political party. Let your light shine, stand your ground, and let your good works show off the God of your salvation.
A cartoon once published by the late Jack Chick underscores my point. A line of people were seen in a store run by a Christian businessman. One man remarked to another man in line--which I will paraphrase: “Yeah, I hate this Christian…but he’s the ONLY honest guy in town!”
Make sure that YOU are on the job for Christ. YOU are his representative in the political arena. Like the old folks used to say: “YOU are the only Bible that many people will ever READ!”
NOW HEAR THIS: NOT EVERYONE CAN GO WITH YOU:
Here’s another one of ‘those’ points I want to put before us this day, and it is a sore point that needs to be stated. Not everyone who is on your present crew is going to make the trip with you, when God wants to raise you to the next level.
Some of those who won’t be making the trip? Fellow Christians.
I remember a preacher who had to battle jealousy in the ministry commenting on this same issue a few years back. He was well aware of the fact that fellow preachers-- even fellow Christians--were envious of the growth of his ministry. The preacher put it into perspective: “I’m doing what God told me to do. If YOU were doing what God told YOU to do, you wouldn’t have time to be jealous of me.”
I’ll make it plain. Not all of your prayer partners are going to be happy when God gets ready to give you a new vision AND a new field of victory. It might be a new job; a new spouse, or a new career venture--like politics. Be aware that some--if not all--of your old friends may not be making the trip up the ladder with you. Let them go, with genuine Christian love. Be aware of the fact that the Lord will have a new crew ready to head to the next level. He will hand pick them AND they will be encouragers FOR you!
Here’s a footnote for preachers especially…not every man who ‘claim’ to be a preacher has a firm relationship with Jesus Christ. By their fruits ye shall know them. Thus, check their walk with Galatians 5; the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. Yes, it will hurt to lose the familiar. However, it’s on them…not on you.
MOVING ON: TO DEBATE…OR NOT
Let’s be honest. Challenging the incumbent to a debate is not the wise thing for a challenger to do. Why? They have the advantage. Having them challenge YOU to a debate? They are running scared, and view you as a legitimate threat. Here’s a tip: It is always best to let a third party, such as a local, regional, or even news organization arrange a debate for you. YOU concentrate on your campaign, pressing the flesh, shaking hands and kissing babies.
IF you wind up in a debate situation with the opposition candidate(s), here are a few tips that might help you:
1. Know the issues, but be yourself. If you get ‘zinged’ remember that you can quickly recover (this is something to plan on).
2. Keep your answers short and sweet. Let your opponent make the simple complex. People admire candidates that can make the complex simple. Doubt me? Listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. Develop your skills as a ‘solutions man’, meaning that you can focus your idea(s) into a concise phrase or information nugget. Men who are about solutions instead of forever talking will get the attention of voters.
3. Keep a few issues ‘up your sleeve’, as the moderator may ‘switch’ previously agreed upon topics. Be firm, friendly, polite and clear. Be courageous. Be bold. Know why you have taken the steps to run for your office. Potential voters enjoy a man who knows where HE stands on the issues.
4. Enter a debate with the understanding that the moderator or host of the debate may be ‘in the bag’ for your opponent(s). You are not going to get a level or fair playing field. Plan on this, right from the gate.
5. A debate is an extension of the political process, NOT the entire process by itself. IF you have done your prayer work, your street work, your campaign work, and have your team in your corner, a good debate will be little more than a mop-up operation.
6. Debates usually happen towards the end of the campaign season, including October surprises. Thus, you will have MORE than enough time to get ready for one, should one (or more) arise. The bigger the office, the more the chance that you will be engaged in a debate.
7. Lastly, the Christian man leans on the Scriptures, and the God of the Bible. Some of the best prayers in the Bible between God and his servants contain nuggets of wisdom. Jesus Christ himself mastered debate strategy, timing and tactics. One does not take on the Sanhedrin Council, Kings, and potentates without knowing and understanding their mental makeup and vocal abilities. Be ready to quote favorite Bible characters, principles and verses…when needed.
INTO THE RING--HAT FIRST:
Back to the action. After two years in the political ‘salt mines’, it was time to make that step up to candidate. Since I had paid my dues, it wasn’t that long before downtown gave me the nod to run for a local council seat on the Republican ticket against a veteran Democrat incumbent whom I knew. It was a two step process. I had to secure the party’s nomination in the primary election, then win the general election in order to win the office that I was seeking. I was tagged as the ‘official’ candidate for my party through a slating process--meaning that I was ‘the one’ who was going to get the party’s support, thus I would be uncontested in the primary. It also allowed me to get more face time within the party ranks, and focus my energies on the upcoming general election.
I got an education on politics that I did NOT find in a book. And, yes, I did read a LOT of books! I still do! I might as well be plain at this point in time about politics, and being a Christian. The further along you grow into the political life, the MORE that you will likely run into betrayal and ‘the double shuffle’.
It could come from OUTSIDE of your political party, or INSIDE. Just be ready for it when it comes your way, in your campaign. Someone is going to do you dirty, either by accident--or deliberately. The reason(s) will not matter. You will be scourged by some of the very people to whom you have been giving your own sweat, blood and tears. To whom you have given your loyalty. To whom you may have spent late at night, over coffee, trying to put their lives on the right track.
Oh, those days of betrayal will be brutal. You will be ignored. Your phone calls will go unreturned. Get used to the fact. Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan…and the underdog is not valued very much, until he become a ‘golden achiever’.
President Donald J. Trump said it best: “Relish the opportunity to be an outsider, because it’s the outsiders who change the world and who make a real and lasting difference.”
From a biblical point of view Jesus Christ called the twelve apostles, and KNEW that one of them was a devil. His name was Judas. Not only did Judas walk with the Lord and watch the miracles performed and the gospel preached…he had a prominent part IN the ministry. Judas sold our Lord out for 30 pieces of silver. Don’t think that someone along the political road won’t do the same to you--and for a lot less. Some of them may actually be a part of the body of believers, and will be working for the other side--or themselves. Another piece of advice from Pastor Hill: “Be prayerful…but be careful.” KNOW with whom you are on the battlefield of politics.
Above all, do NOT be surprised…when enemies surface off the port bow.
FIRE IN THE BELLY:
Here are a few reasons why one should NOT run for political office:
1. You have a lust for power, money, fame, or the opposite sex.
2. You feel ‘entitled’ to the position because of your works for the party.
3. You have a big bank account.
4. You are surrounded by ‘yes men’ or ‘yes women’ who say you should run.
5. You have NOT checked with God.
Running for elective office, especially for the Christian man, is a marathon, not a sprint. You MUST have a sustained ‘fire in the belly’ in order to run. What do I mean by this? Simply stated, you--as an office seeker--must believe deep down that you have a solid platform of ideas and proposals to do the job you for which you are running.
Yes, it is far easier to candidate rather than to govern. Yes, it is easier to dig up dirt on your opponent and fling mud like an artist. Yes, it is easier to tell what the incumbent is NOT doing, rather than what you CAN do. However, in order to WIN at the polls (and in your own campaign) there is going to come a time in your evaluation process where you are going to have to have a solid, plain vision of what you want to accomplish on the WAY to the office AND once you WIN the office.
People WANT to vote FOR someone, rather than AGAINST someone. IF you can summarize your reasons for running for office in a few short paragraphs and a few lines that are easy to remember, it makes your candidacy more exciting, and your message clearer to understand.
LOSERS WANTED--FOR EXPERIMENTATION:
Now, IF you are a minister, pastor, or a regular Christian, you are going to have to weigh your steps carefully. Politics and the pulpit are two different animals. Nevertheless, let it be understood that ministers and pastors USED to be very much involved in the politics of the nation, state, or local city. We have been hoodwinked to believe--mainly due to the unsaved and sinners in our midst--that all Christians should do is keep their mouths shut, pay their taxes, and relegate their ‘religion’ to church services. “Let someone else run the affairs of state.” We are told.
How’s THAT been working out, bunky? Higher crime, higher taxes, and higher immorality. Yes, I believe that the pagans have gotten what they have wanted--freedom FROM religion--but they have also gotten freedom from God’s blessings, AND are trying to make the Church and Christians feel ashamed for telling the world what was going to happen IF they decided to kick God out of their business.
In short? The world wants the Christian to clean up its mess, and not complain.
Please remember this brothers: “What God does not control, He will not bless.”
One of my previous careers was that of being a Probation Officer with my county juvenile court. I was a part of a unit that I called: “The Bounty Hunters Squad”. In short, when WE had clients who violated the terms of their probation, they were heading to ONE place…upstate to Boys or Girls School, and the Indiana Department of Corrections.
Oh, you should have heard some of the complaints that I got from some of my clients about ‘being all up in their business’. “Well,” I used to explain, “had YOU not committed any crimes, I wouldn’t be mandated by the court to be sitting here going over your probation paperwork.”
YOU, brother, determine who gets into your campaign, and who does not.
YOU are the gatekeeper.
One of the risks that a candidate will have to take once they go public and aim for party support is that the political powers-that-be (and others) will attempt to saddle you with advisors and staff who will want to ‘run’ your campaign, in exchange for financial backing. A word of advice: WATCH whom you let into your political campaign! God will send you the workers AND the funds for the office that you seek, IF you remember to place HIM squarely first, spend the time in prayer and keep in the Word.
Your inner circle should be composed of people who are Christians, whom you trust and are already on board with your vision. No one whom you do not vet personally should be allowed to pass the gates of your campaign (or your business, ministry, etc.). If I may, the scriptures hold that there are times to share your vision with people, and a time when you share your vision with God alone. There is a season to talk, and a season to shut up.
The key? Know what season that you are in!
JUST YOU AND THE LORD:
Nehemiah, in his efforts to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem is a case in point. He had to spend time with the Lord daily, in order to get the plan in place for the successful completion of his assignment. In fact, when he first arrived to survey the damages to Jerusalem, Nehemiah spend time alone with his donkey, just surveying, and praying…making mental notes as to what needed to be done.
Brother, do YOU have that time of insight for your campaign…away from the polls and the hangers-on? Can YOU clearly state why you are running for office? Are YOU prepared to do that marathon, even though you may be running by yourself for a part of the election season? One of the things that I have observed over the years is that all political parties will oftentimes ‘recommend’ people of leadership to ‘take the reins’ of new campaigns and new candidates. IF the new candidate loses then the ‘plant’ gets the experience, and the candidate gets the blame. IF by a miracle the new candidates wins, the ‘plant’ and downtown get the credit for the victory, even though the candidate did all of the heavy lifting. It’s kind of like the old joke: “The operation was a success…even though the patient DIED!”
A good friend of mine once quipped: “It is far better to learn the LESSON of the Crash Test Dummy, rather than BEING the Crash Test Dummy.” Let the Lord send along the help that you need. HE will open doors and give you favor that you never imagined possible. Prayerfully, you can take what you have read about in this series and move on to victory! As John Quincy Adams once said: “Duty is ours…Results are God’s”! More to come.
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Modern Street Gangs Specialist, Political Consultant and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Ramey‘s Guide To Elective Office For Men” is one of a variety of columns that Ramey has in cyberspace. His address is still the same: firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2019 Barnstorm Communications. (7)