Christians turn to God before making life-changing decisions. Specifically, we pray for guidance and inner peace. That is why it is not strange for us to hear a politician say that they have a “calling” to run for higher office.
One of our goals is to best utilize our God-given gifts. The Bible tells us that, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us . . . If it is serving, let him serve . . . if it is leadership, let him govern diligently.” Following a calling to enter the political arena or even run for president is the same process someone who decides to enter the mission field, become a doctor, practice law, or start a church.
Answering God’s calling starts early in our life, well before opening a campaign headquarters. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R) had a calling to run for office in Minnesota. The congresswoman had a calling to go to law school, to practice tax law, to provide foster care, and to spend a summer volunteering at an Israeli kibbutz. This is the same calling, what Christians equate to the human conscience, that she will be following if she decides to become a GOP presidential contender.
As I wrote for On Faith during the 2010 election cycle,
Sometimes, we answer our calling by taking a stand even when we know we will almost certainly fail. A candidate may be following their call by running unsuccessfully for public office. We can follow God’s plan, answer our calling, and lose. This idea is not always easy to comprehend – sometimes God’s plan does not include success in every endeavor.
Saying “I feel called by God to run for president” is not the same thing as telling the world “God told me I will be the president (or even that I will be the GOP nominee for president).” President George W. Bush said, “I’ve heard the call. I believe God wants me to be president.” The word “believe” is key because Bush acknowledged that it was his imperfect, human interpretation of what God had placed on his heart. Governor Huckabee, even though he was at the top of many polls, told us that it would be “unthinkable” to run for president “without God’s full blessing.” That is what Christians mean when they say their heart is not in it. Huckabee would have run a tough campaign, but he would not have had the feeling that it was what he should be doing.
Following a calling is rewarding. Even though it often means more stress, scrutiny, and work, it is all absolutely worth it when you know that you are doing everything possible to fulfill God’s plan for your life.
Should a Christian vote for Michele Bachmann because of the calling she feels? The short answer is no. While I am glad some candidates are open about faith’s role in their life, we should support a candidate based on what they have done and what they say they will do. We never get a glimpse at what is happening on the inside though it is reassuring to know that a politician consults God during their decision making process.
Congresswoman Bachmann frequently sets aside time to be a guest on our radio broadcast. By doing so, she is acknowledging the importance of social conservative values to our listeners and simultaneously giving each of them an opportunity to hear directly from her on a wide range of issues.
Remember what Mitt Romney recently told NBC News, “we’re not electing a pastor-in-chief, we’re electing a commander-in-chief.”