By Joe Chesser
This week our great nation is celebrating its independence. For 244 years now we have been a free nation. We are blessed in countless ways as citizens of the United States of America. Far too often these blessings are taken for granted. A new wave of patriotism and awareness of our blessings swept the country following the terrorists’ attacks on September 11, 2001. Though not as obvious as then, patriotism is still strong.
Patriotism is defined as “love of country and a willingness to sacrifice for it.” Other words related to the idea patriotism are loyalty, devotion, self-sacrifice, and brotherhood. Because of their love of our country and the people who populate it, men and women willingly risk their lives to protect and defend our liberties and freedoms. At this time of year, patriotism swells within us a sense of pride and renews our devotion when we hear our national anthem or when we simply notice our beautiful flag flying in the breeze. This is a perfect time to display our patriotism. Fly your flags. Decorate your cars and yards. Pray for America.
As Christians we have the privilege of taking the idea of patriotism to an even higher and greater plane, to the spiritual level. One of the analogies the Bible uses to describe the people of God is as a kingdom or a nation. In fact, the kingdom was the central image Jesus used to relate his gospel to us. He began his ministry by declaring, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). Jesus spoke many kingdom parables. The very heart of the words messiah and Christ is that Jesus is the King of his spiritual nation. Of Christians Peter wrote, “You are a chosen people ... a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). Whenever and wherever people surrender to the rule of God, there will be the kingdom of God, the church of God.
But note. Many of us have deep feelings of patriotism towards America. We love the USA, and we give our time, energy and money to participate in patriotic events and organizations. All this is good. It has its place. But how much better it is to love the Lord’s kingdom and sacrifice your time, energy and money for it.
As great as America is, it will not last forever. It may be overpowered someday by a more powerful nation. Our economy may someday crumble and fall. The examples of the great Roman and Alexandrian empires vividly demonstrate this possibility. But the Lord’s kingdom will never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44). Even Satan with his demonic forces cannot destroy the kingdom of God (Matthew 16:18).
Do you feel as patriotic towards the church as you do America? Do you have feelings of pride, loyalty and devotion for the church? Are you willing to sacrifice for the Lord’s kingdom with your time, energy and resources? If so, show it! Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Don’t limit your Christian activities to within the walls of a church building. Let everybody know you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org