For me, walking with the Lord is sometimes hard. Perhaps you know what I mean. As I grow closer to Him or seek His will on a subject, often I’m surprised by what He asks me to do because it is so countercultural.
I’ve always enjoyed Independence Day and things of a patriotic nature. I’m thankful for the freedoms I have in this country. There probably isn’t another place in the whole wide world where I’d rather raise my family.
But over the past few years, I’ve felt a nudge in my Spirit when it comes to patriotic celebrations and what they entail. If my full allegiance belongs to the Lord, what was I doing pledging it to an inanimate object (flag) with my hand over my heart?
A couple of years ago we gave up Christmas and Easter, but I didn’t think I would need to reexamine any other holidays. But I kept feeling the nudge to dig deeper.
In our country, I’m afraid that patriotism often takes the form of idol worship, just like the sports scene. While “in my heart,” my intentions might not be idolatry, from the outside looking in, what does it look like I’m doing?
A little over a year ago, my family attended a Collingsworth Family concert. They opened with “America the Beautiful.” Wouldn’t you know that this song is what the crowd reacted to most? My husband started to rise, and I didn’t, along with the Mennonites in attendance. He asked, “You know they are going to kick us out of here don’t you?” Ha! Nobody rose in respect for other songs about the Lord…
Speaking of Mennonites, I do find it refreshing how this group does not bow (or stand) to the flag, mainly due to their pacifist stance. Christ’s example is to love our enemies, and to bless those who persecute us. “The Star Spangled Banner” is actually quite a violent song. Through the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air is not referring to fireworks. It is referring to bombs and gunfire killing people. And yet we stand and clap, possibly while putting our hand over our heart.
A few weeks ago, my family visited Stone Mountain to watch the laser show. Two of my girls wore red, white, and blue and we purchased some fun light up necklaces and stickers for them to play with while there. Was that inherently wrong? I don’t know. But after the extremely patriotic show, I couldn’t help but feel like something was off.
Friends, we are called to be citizens of heaven. Yes, we should respect our rulers and be grateful to God for all He has given us. I’m grateful to live in this country! But I can’t bow down to it. I never thought that I had, but I feel like my blinders have come off and I need to repent for pledging my allegiance to anything other than God.
The Babylon Bee wrote a post a few weeks back titled something like,”One Day Jesus is Going to Burn All of the Flags Everywhere.” It was meant to be funny, but it’s true! Biblically, America is not a favored nation which will stand against God’s wrath. We must keep this in mind.
I hope I didn’t rain on your Fourth of July parade, so to speak. Again, I’m grateful for the country we live in, but I’ve realized I can’t idolize it. Christianity and American Patriotism do not go hand in hand. American flags shouldn’t be prominently displayed in pulpits around the country. We do not worship a flag, or a country, but the Lord.
May your day be blessed, everyone.