Love of anything above God can be idolatry. Family, friends, tv, our pets – anything that we place in God’s position in our lives becomes our idol. We can even turn our country into a false god that we serve in place of Jesus.
As we settle down here in the United States to celebrate our Independence Day, it may be a good time for some reflection on this issue. It is great to appreciate our country and I am grateful for all of the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces. But our earthly citizenship should always come in a very distant second to our heavenly home.
The United States is not mentioned in the Bible. Neither for that matter is Canada, Mexico or England.
Herr Christian no love for you, Germany is not in their either. Italy is mentioned in the Bible. The Roman Empire is featured prominently, but not in a good way so so don’t get cocky my Italian friends. The armies of Rome pounded the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet and killed thousands of Christians. Russia and China may also get a role in the End Times, but again that is not is something to be bragged about.
The only nation that the Bible mentions in a good way is Israel. The only nation He focuses on as a political body is Israel. God has not revoked or forgotten His promises to the Jewish people.
But unless you are a messianic believer in Christ, our nation should never be intermingled with our love of God. There should be no competition between following God and serving our country.
Our faith should not be defined by Jesus wrapped in any nation’s flag. Patriot Jesus, Jesus riding a bald eagle wearing an American flag, clutching a rifle is not the real Jesus.
Jesus loves the people of America. Jesus has amply blessed countries and uses them for His plans. He does not love people through the political structure of America or any country.
There is nothing wrong with our loving our country. There is no problem if we pray for our nation to prosper. Rooting for our nation’s sports teams is not a sin. The issue comes when we mix our allegiance to Jesus with our loyalty to our country. Subordinating our love for Jesus to anything is a recipe for confusion and spiritual disaster.
Why? Our loyalty is already spoken for. We belong to another nation that is far, far better.
In 1 Peter, we as Christians are called a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. We are named as citizens of Heaven. We went through a naturalization process the moment that we were born again in Christ. Our passport was written for us by Jesus is His blood.
No matter where we were born, upon being made one with God we become part of Jesus’ nation. This is the nation that we are to always first identify with. If we want to be super nationalistic let it be with our holy nation – woohoo Jesus – stan, Jesus – ville? That doesn’t work, Ok, how about just heaven!
The church is also referred to as the Bride of Christ. We are selected by Jesus to be wed with Him through all of eternity.
Can a bride be divided up along national borders? Can a bride be torn by racial or ethnic divisions?
Jesus prays that the Church be seen as loving one another. He prays that we are unified, one body, one nation, one chosen people testifying to the love of the Lord under the direct leading and headship of the Lord.
It is a striking set of descriptors and it should define how we interact with the world around us.
We are specifically called out of the world, including from whatever country we call home. To whom do we pledge our allegiance?
We may be happy to call the Unites States home. We may appreciate how the Lord has blessed our country up to this point in history. However, with the cultural changes that have been ongoing since the 1960’s a lot has changed with the nation that used to hold church in the Washington DC Capital building.
As the culture turns away from God, God may treat our country differently. He may act towards America in ways that do not align with our vision. We may want it to be a shining city on a hill as a former President once said. We may pray that there would be believers in every office and truth, justice and the American way spreading light throughout the world.
But our minds are small. We are often preoccupied with things that are not best to carry out God’s purpose and desire — that all of the world will come to Christs so that none may perish. Our patriotism and our desire for America to prosper may go against God plan. This is particularly true as America turns away from God.
God may allow the secularist to continue to dominate society. He may want to contrast the darkness and light in this world. He may at some point call a country to account for sins of the nation in a drastic way. The nation, not the church.
If God does so, where do we stand? Do we praise God and His perfect justice or stand with our country?
We should trust in God’s sovereignty even when things look bad, but do we?
As a follower of Christ, we need to be just as joyful and trusting in the Lord whether our nation prospers or not. Why?
Our citizenship is in heaven. God is in control of all that is going on and has me in His hand.
Do we trust in this truth? Really? Even when our country falls apart?
Nations rise and fall according to God’s plan. Jesus’ Bride, the church will always stand. The gates of Hell can prevail against Canada or America or France if God allows it for His purposes.
Hell will never prevail against the Church.
God is righteous if America rises or if America falls.
Do we trust in God if He is not wrapped in our nation’s flag, but just in His perfect righteousness. Who are we serving?
What do you think? Have you run into Patriot Jesus? If so, what does he look like?