“For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
– Philippians 3:18-20 (emphasis mine)
There is nothing inherently wrong with being proud to be an American.
America is a good country that allows many freedoms other countries do not. As Christians, we can be grateful that we live in a country where we won’t be killed for merely owning a Bible or speaking God’s Word to others. We can appreciate the easy access to other Christians, churches, biblical resources, etc, that other brothers and sisters throughout the world do not have.
But America is also not a perfect country. Many are still being oppressed to this day, in many different ways. And while we have improved somewhat, we are nowhere near being “great”. It’s not about “Making America Great Again”; we never were “great” to begin with.
(And I know you want to get back to eating hot dogs and watching fireworks, so I’ll make this short, but some things needs to be said).
As Christians, here are some things to consider as we celebrate July 4th, AKA Independence Day:
- Although today is the national Independence Day, not every American was declared “independent” on this day. African-Americans were still enslaved when the Declaration of Independence was written. Women were not considered “smart” enough to be given the right to vote. Native Americans were first in “founding” this nation, and yet, were murdered and conquered by settlers who considered them “savages”. While women eventually got the right to vote, many of these issues have not been fixed completely (and we are still feeling the effects of it). So, while you and your “ancestors” were liberated on this, consider that many others weren’t.
- You can be proud to be American, but it should not be your primary identity. As believers and followers of Christ, we are given one identity and one alone: Christ Followers. And when we are united in Heaven with all other believers, there will be no “Americans”. We will all be one, a group of saints from every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. It’s fine to be happy that your team won in the olympics and what not, but you are not better than someone else because of your nation of birth. As a matter of fact, you have more in common with a Mexican or a Syrian who is Christian than a fellow American that isn’t. Keep that in mind.
- We shouldn’t be applying “freedom” verses to being American. I made a joke about this on my Twitter, but it’s a serious matter. Just as we shouldn’t take other verses out of context, we shouldn’t just slap a verse about “freedom in Christ” on a picture of the flag. You are NOT blessed because you’re a free American. You are blessed because you have been given freedom IN CHRIST, a freedom greater than any country on this Earth could possibly offer you. Spoiler alert: America didn’t exist when the Bible was written, so NOT A SINGLE VERSE specifically applies to American freedom.
- We are all made in God’s image. The Muslim. The Atheist. The Catholic. The Presbyterian. The Protestant. The Caucasian. The African. The European. The Indian. The Asian. The Mexican. The Cuban. The Puerto Rican. The Dominican. The Jamaican. The Syrian. The Iranian. The Russian. The German. The Australian. The Indigenous. EVERY. SINGLE. HUMAN. BEING. That said, there is no logic in saying one group of people is inherently “evil” or “demonic” or, quite simply, “less than”. If someone is putting down someone else because they’re Mexican or Muslim, that person probably doesn’t know Jesus. Point blank.
- AMERICA IS NOT GOD’S CHOSEN COUNTRY. Can I just say that again? AMERICA IS NOT GOD’S SPECIAL CHOSEN COUNTRY. God chose ONE people; Israel. And when Christ came and died on the cross, that promise opened up to all nations. There are elect on every continent, in every country, and of every skin tone and tongue. America has seen some common grace from God, but it is not a special country. As Russell Moore so eloquently explained, it is far from being a Christian nation. It may consider itself a “Christian nation”, but it is not one.
- Many of our favorite theologians weren’t American. Spurgeon? English. Dietrich Bonhoeffer? German. John Calvin? French. Martin Luther? German. We may have modern-day theologians like John Piper, RC Sproul, and John MacArthur, but we are but a dot in the history of many international theologians that have done great things for the faith.
Lastly, to quote a brother in Christ from one of my Facebook groups, “Be thankful for the liberty afforded to you to look to a better savior than a nation or president ever could be”.
Grace & Peace.