This week our nation is celebrating its independence. For 244 years now we have been a free nation. We are blessed in many ways as citizens of the United States of America. Far too often these blessings are taken for granted. When we were attacked on September 11, 2001 a new wave of patriotism was renewed in many of us. In today’s world that patriotism has diminished somewhat.
Patriotism is defined as “love for a country and a willingness to sacrifice for it.” Other words related to the idea of patriotism are loyalty, devotion, self-sacrifice and brotherhood. Because of their love for our country and the people who populate it, men and women are willing to risk their lives to protect and defend our liberties and freedoms.
As Christians we have the privilege of taking the idea of patriotism to an even higher and greater level, to the spiritual level. One of the analogies that the Bible uses to describe the people of God is a kingdom or a nation. In fact, the kingdom was a central image Jesus used to relate his gospel to us when 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 the spiritual nation. Peter wrote this about Christians, “You are a chosen people… a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). Whenever and wherever people surrender to the will of God, there will be a kingdom of God and 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 of this is good. It has its place. But how much better it is to love the Lord's kingdom and to sacrifice your time, energy and money for it.
Do you feel as patriotic towards the church as you do to America? Do you have feelings of pride, loyalty and devotion to 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 the church building. Let everybody know that you're a citizen of the kingdom of God!