July 4, 2014
How would you define patriotism? How do you understand it? Is it possible for a Christian to practice patriotism in the United States? I am glad that you asked such wonderful questions! Let us consider, at least, three biblical principles that affect a Christian’s practice of patriotism.
First, the Bible instructs us to be honorable and obedient citizens (Rom 13:1-7; Tit 3:1-2; 1 Pet 2:13-17). Christians are peacemakers and thus certainly not troublemakers. We honor our nation by respecting and submitting to civil government, which God established for our protection and for punishment of evil.
Second, the Bible instructs us to proclaim the good news of God’s grace which is received through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Both citizens and political leaders – who are regenerated (i.e. “born again”) – are better neighbors and constitute a more godly society. The ministry of Capitol Commission practices this principle by proclaiming God’s Word to our leaders in obedience to Scripture:
I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed (Ps 119:46).
Third, the Bible instructs us to serve. The Lord Jesus Christ exhibited service perfectly when washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:5-20; Phil 2:1-11). Christians are not called to a ministry of denunciation (cf. Acts 19:11-40) nor do we exist to oppose particular comforts of this world (cf. Heb 11:8-19). Christians imitate the Lord Jesus Christ by committing energy and time to service. You can serve our society and the “body of Christ” by fulfilling leadership roles that require godly wisdom: elected office, local leadership, military, school boards, etc.
My prayer is that you enjoy your backyard grilling, fireworks, and parades this weekend. What a wonderful blessing it is to live in the United States! Nevertheless, when the weekend reaches an end and our celebrating subsides, let us not forget these biblical principles that affect a Christian’s practice of patriotism. The reason for doing so is that they are some of God’s instructions as to how Christians can help the United States of America “fly up on wings like eagles.”
Have a delightful Fourth of July!
Your missionary to our Capitol community,