Another Fourth of July has passed and with it comes a lot of feelings of freedom.
There are memes every year to remind us how America ended up with a July 4th Independence Day. It was the result of rebellion. It was hard-won through a bloody war.
And yet… we celebrate this victory. Freedom.
I have seen several posts lately about patriotism in the light of the Gospel.
Can we be a Patriot and a Christian?
I think so.
I’ve recently been reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer may be one of the more well-known martyrs of World War II and he became such because of his patriotism to Germany. As the ideologies of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime transformed Germany’s churches, governments, and people into something disturbing, Bonhoeffer took a side. He stood up for Germany, and because he was a Christian living within God’s will for his life, he became a patriot of patriots throughout the war that would bring Europe to its knees.
His philosophy on the topic is a fresh and welcome take on the life of the Christian. We can be a patriot and a Christian because we do not need to keep our God separate from the other aspects of our life.
Can we be a patriot and a Christian? Yes.
When we’re a Christ-follower and God-believer, the goodness of the Gospel infiltrates our daily living. Our love for God permeates everything.
We cannot and should not relegate God to only the religious corners of our lives where we attend prayer meeting on Wednesday nights and church on Sabbath.
No, God belongs in our social life, our educational life, our political life, our vocational life, and our relationships, affiliations, and creeds.
Can you separate God from your political standing? Can you keep God on a shelf and pledge allegiance to the flag?
It’s only by God’s beautiful picture of freedom that we can understand how we are blessed to live in America–a democratic republic which invented religious freedom.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a wedding sermon sent from prison to his best friend and confidante Eberhard Bethge, said: “As God today adds his “Yes” to your “yes,” as he confirms your will with his will, and as he allows you, and approves of, your triumph and rejoicing and pride, he makes you at the same time instruments of his will and purpose both for yourselves and for others. In his unfathomable condescension God does add his “Yes” to yours; but by doing so, he creates out of your love something quite new” (Metaxas, 458).
Living by faith, when we have given God our “Yes” we can rest assured that He will bring us in line with His will and use us for His will, no matter what our political stance, affiliation, or allegiance. Give God your “Yes,” friend, and watch what He’ll do with it–for your home, church, community, and country.
If you have trouble loving God and loving America and balancing these two ideas, here are some tips:
- Starting now, thank God each day for the experience of living in America.
- Begin asking God during your prayer time how you can make America a better place.
- Pray daily for the leaders of your country, state, and community.
- Check in with yourself to better understand where your love of country comes from.
- Enjoy–really enjoy–America by traveling and thanking God for all that He’s made here.
- Offer up your service to your community, church, and nation through whatever means appropriate for you.