From the July 2015 Prairie Preacher
Matt. 6 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
For Bible-Believing Christian Americans, July 4, 2015 stands as a somewhat auspicious celebration of our national birthday. With the Supreme Court recently granting legal rights to same sex unions, patriotic Christians who hold fast to God’s Word have seen their anxiety about the overall condition of our country rise even further than it has already risen.
In many ways, it is Christian Americans who have been the best supporters of our nation and its experiment in freedom. It was always the Christian Americans who understood that the Founding Fathers, (not all of whom were Christian), were generally agreed that the radical freedoms of our Constitution could not happen without responsible, moral citizens. Although it is hard to find in the Constitution itself, in the other writings of many of our Founding Fathers, there is plenty of talk about virtue and morals. Christianity has always been supportive of the best understanding of our Constitution. It has always stood for the most important aspects of its original intent. Freedom founded on personal virtue, morals, and ethics. Without these things, American freedom can only fail.
Still, as the news about the Supreme Court ruling came out, the reaction among many Christians was not necessarily totally righteous. In the words of Jesus quoted above, He exhorts His disciples not to be anxious. As Christians worry about the erosion of their First Amendment rights, they are not necessarily following the words of their Lord who says not to worry. As many Christian commentators “strike out” at the Court’s opinion, a whole range of emotions can be seen; again, not all of them righteous.
Can we Christians be rightly concerned about the direction of our nation, particularly when it establishes a new definition of marriage that is not Biblical? The answer is most definitely yes. The test of whether or not we are righteous probably is whether or not we are worried or exceedingly angry. How do we sound to others? Do we sound like people who still trust the rule of God over the affairs of the world? Or are we quietly suggesting that God could not possibly be ruling over the world if these are the sorts of laws we are now passing? Are we acting like this is the end of the world? Nothing is the end of the world except the end of the world. It’s one thing to see this as one more step toward the end of the world. It’s quite another to start acting like Chicken Little about it. Jesus does not want His Christians ever acting like that.
There has always been a fine line between a healthy patriotism and idolatry. “My country right or wrong” probably crosses that line. Before we hear Jesus speak about anxiety in the words above, notice what He tells us. “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God…” The Bible teaches us that we belong to a kingdom which will never end. The Bible also recognizes that all worldly kingdoms will fail. Indeed, the Bible also teaches that all worldly kingdoms ultimately fall into use by the devil himself, which is why they ultimately fail. (Indeed, Revelation says quite a lot about this. It’s critical to its understanding).
Our king is the One we find in the Word. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will NEVER pass away (Matt. 24:35). He is the only king who would lay down His own life for you and take it up again in order that you might live under Him in perfect righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. His rule is totally righteous and just. He encourages us to support our earthly kingdoms, but He reminds us that they will pass away with everything else. Faith, in these matters, stands on the Word of God and it does not get angry when it doesn’t get its way. Faith, in these matters, stands on the Word of God and does not allow us to get anxious when we see further decline in our nation. Faith, in these matters, keeps looking for a higher kingdom, the most perfect union, unity with our Lord and Savior and with one another who stand on this Word.
So my encouragement to you in these grey and latter days is actually quite simple. Be good citizens by being good Christians. You don’t have to approve of what’s going on right now, but you don’t have to be consumed by it either. Live as the forgiven sinners that you are. Speak the truth in love. Turn the other cheek if necessary. And love your nation by loving your neighbor. And join me in praying for Christ’s return.
Celebrating freedom by standing firm in Christ’s salvation,