With Independence Day upon us, I’ve had a few simple thoughts on the subjects of patriotism and freedom.
Thought #1: Why Is Patriotism Such An Instinctive Emotion?
As I was considering the patriotic juices that seem to flow so abundantly at this time of year, I began to wonder why we seem to have such an instinctive allegiance to our homeland and devotion to the ideas our nation stands for. Speeches on patriotism stir our emotions. We praise those who give their lives to protect our nation. But why?
Humanity seems to have an instinctive desire to give its loyalty to a kingdom and the principles that kingdom stands for. This hardwiring for such devotion comes from the fact that we were created to be citizens of a supernatural Kingdom. Christian patriotism takes its form in allegiance to our King and His Kingdom. Patriotism puts King and Kingdom before life and livelihood.
This earth is not our home. Our job is to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of Heaven, making its realities the same on earth as they are in heaven. Though Independence Day is certainly a time to celebrate our nation’s history and the freedoms we enjoy here, as Christians, everyday should be an opportunity to display our allegiance to Christ.
Thought #2: Why Do Acts of Sacrifice Move Us So Deeply?
When we think about the men and women who so selflessly serve in our military to help protect our freedoms, it can often make us emotional. Again I asked myself why this was the case.
I believe the answer to that question is this: every story that inspires or moves us deeply is simply a reflection of the character Christ. Why are we so inspired by stories of soldiers who sacrificed their lives protecting those who can't protect themselves? Because it's a reflection of Christ sacrificing himself, doing for us what we couldn't do for ourselves.
Why are stories of military members leaving home to go serve overseas so moving? Because it's a reflection of Christ leaving His home and coming to serve, not to be served.
It all originates in Christ. Every heartrending narrative, every touching account can be traced back to the character of God being displayed through human action.
Thought #3: I’m Thankful For The Freedom To Share Freedom.
In contemplating the freedoms that we are celebrating this weekend, a story came to mind of a missionary family that I know.
These missionaries encouraged the people in their church to go out and preach the gospel to their neighbors. Despite this charge from their pastors, the people of the church were somewhat laidback about this exhortation. They had no urgency. They subconsciously had a “there will always be tomorrow” type of mentality.
Suddenly, things in the nation began to change. A country that was once moderately open to the gospel became increasingly violent and oppressive. The door for evangelism quickly began to close. The people of the church came back to the pastor saying, “We are so sorry we didn’t listen to you.” They had taken their freedom, though a very limited freedom, for granted.
So today I am thankful for the freedom I have in this nation to declare the true freedom I have in Christ. Who knows how long it may last, especially with some of the recent legal decisions made by our Supreme Court. Today we have an open door. We are unhindered in our proclamation of the gospel. Our urgency shouldn’t be saved for the days when our freedom is stifled, but our urgency should be lived out while it can still be most effective.