Sunday, July 3, 2011


devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty

Tomorrow, our country will celebrate its 235th anniversary. People all over the nation will go to the lake, shoot fireworks, and grill out to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I think that this is a good thing. We should take this time to reflect upon and enjoy the freedom that brave men and women have fought and died to establish.

For God and Country?

That being said, I think that the lines of Christianity and national pride have meshed in a way that is not healthy. The love of God and country is a popular thought in our nation, but is it a Christian thought? Scripture obviously teaches us to love God. In fact, Jesus said that this is the first and greatest command (Matt. 22:36-40). There are, however, no Scriptural references that call a believer to take pride in his or her country. Not even one.

How then are we to view patriotism? I believe, as in all things, that we should see it through the lenses of Scripture:

"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."
—Hebrews 11:13-16—

 "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."
—Philippians 3:20-21—

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
—Colossians 3:1-4—

We should be fiercely loyal to our homeland, but our homeland is not located in this world. This world is not our home. This country is not our home. We are citizens of a better one. If we have any nationalistic zeal, it should be directed towards our real home—Heaven. Nothing of this world is worthy of our pride. My fear though is that we have subtly equalized our passion for God's kingdom with the love that we have for our country. Christians shouldn't have that great of a stock in this world.

Willing to Leave? 

As citizens of Heaven, we have a responsibility to love our countrymen (Rom. 9:1-3), respect our governing officials (Rom. 13:1-7), but also to invest in people all over the world (Matt. 28:18-20). Every Christian should be thankful to live in a country that is committed to the freedom of it's people, but should be willing to leave it and never look back if God were to call him or her to make disciples elsewhere. God loves every other country in the world just as much as He loves America. Our hearts should be set on Him, not a track of land.

What I Will be Celebrating

This 4th of July, I will celebrate the men and women who died to establish my freedom to celebrate. I will thank God that He has placed me in a country where I won't be killed for worshiping Him. I will thank Him for His goodness and providence in my life, and in the lives of believers all over the world. I will also recognize that the highest price for my freedom was paid on a cross. Jesus died to secure our eternal freedom. I will be thankful for my earthly country, but will remain a patriot of the Homeland that awaits me. Between the two, there is no comparison.

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